Steve Cooksey is a regular guy. Awhile back, he was taken sick and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He decided to take matters into his own hands by educating himself about how best to help himself, and ended up eating a low-carbohydrate/paleo/primal diet (meat, fish, nuts and veggies, mainly) and taking more exercise. While Steve does not make this claim, he has essentially cured himself of his diabetes (unless we believe it was all spontaneous remission).
Steve has a website here. Like a lot of bloggers, he gives a lot of information away for free. Latterly, he’s been charging individuals for personalised advice. He also has an advice column as part of his site. However, according to North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutrition, Steve is breaking the law by offering this sort of advice. The Board says that if he wants to offer advice in this way, Steve needs to be ‘certified’ (be a dietitian).
Here’s a little video which summarises the situation:
Anyway, it seems that Steve is not taking the Board’s warnings lying down. He, today, along with the help of some lawyers at the Institute for Justice, is suing the Board, claiming that the Board’s actions are unconstitutional in that they contravene the bit in the first amendment (I’m no expert on US law) that gives people the right to free speech. I learnt all about Steve’s situation and this recent turn of events via this post from US-based blogger Richard Nikoley. This blog post includes an interview (below) between Richard and one of Steve Cooksey’s lawyers from the Institute of Justice – Jeff Rowes.
There’s more than a whiff here of the North Carolina Board of Dietetics and Nutrition wanting to protect its patch. I understand that. But one could ask why people like Steve Cooksey exist at all? I’d like to suggest that, for the most part, Steve gives good, practical, and likely beneficial nutrition advice, especially for diabetics. On the other hand, the Board and many other ‘official’ bodies generally promote carbohydrate-rich diets that, usually, are a disaster for diabetics (they are).
The Board and bodies like them may well see Steve Cooksey as a threat to their profession. But the real threat is not from Steve and people like him, it’s from these bodies themselves and the woefully inadequate and sometimes dangerous nutritional advice they dispense. If the Board feels it’s professional standing is being eroded, I reckon it’s got no-one to blame but itself.