4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff
27

Are we all just giving illegal medical advice? (paleo site under investigation)

by (7821)
Updated about 11 hours ago
Created February 01, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Here's the site in question: http://www.diabetes-warrior.net/2012/01/28/this-site-free-speech-are-being-investigated/

Some guy with diabetes finds low-carb paleo, loses weight, goes off insulin, and decides to preach about it online. He gives advice to people on how to follow in his footsteps.

Then he goes to a meeting of North Carolina nutritionists and apparently pisses them off. They are now investigating his website to see if they can hit him with a misdemeanor charge of giving nutrition advice without a license. According to their claims, giving any nutritional advice without a license is illegal.

So here we are on Paleohacks, handing out nutritional advice left and right. Are we violating North Carolina state law? Should Patrik put in a hack that prefaces every single post with "I'm not a doctor... "?

(trying to avoid the obvious political justification side of this discussion)

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The people who got him into trouble should be in trouble for being monopolistic, stupid, incompetent, wrong, arrogant, destructive, etc. etc. etc. I wonder how many people have died because diabetic so-called professionals have recommended that diabetic people eat just a little bit of pasta.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 3:55 PM

j3wcy wrote, "You can reasonably rely on the opinion of a doctor for medical advice" Really?????

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

It doesn't matter. I won't matter. No one will be able to stop this movement.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

The MD so-call profession is a monopoly.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 09, 2012 at 3:32 AM

Sad that people think they can reasonably rely on a doctors advise because they have a bit of paper, when theres no reason to think that there advise couldnt be the worst advice ever and end up killing you. (and theres plenty of standard doctors advices that have this end)..i dont trust doctors with my life unless I have to. I trust my own judgement, once its informed by research, more than any other individual. I think thats more reasonable than trusting something I havent researched to a stranger - lol @ wholly relying on someones answer with no evidence to suggest I should...

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · June 06, 2012 at 5:22 AM

Really? Wow..I just assume people are smarter than this. I give them the benefit of the doubt that when they ask for and receive advice on a Blog, from strangers that they take it for what it is - Free Advice from a stranger that may or may not be valid or useful.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · June 01, 2012 at 2:02 PM

In his case it's pretty obvious he's not; the top of his site has a big banner that says Chris Kresser L.Ac, which are clearly not doctor credentials. If you don't know an acupuncturist isn't a medical doctor, there's not a lot of help for you, (not to knock acupuncturists, I go to one regularly and have for years). He also has disclaimers all over the place. The legal standard isn't "could an idiot think you're a doctor".

723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2
306 · June 01, 2012 at 4:45 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court has basically written commercial speech out of the First Amendment.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:27 AM

Yeah, Justin...I think you're right. The organization in NC would probably have no beef with him at all if he was recommending the same things they are. I think the problem is not so much that he's unlicensed as it is that he's contradicting the paradigm their salaries are based on.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Hmmm....I see a ton of people who think Chris Kresser is a doctor of some sort, but as far as I know, he's an acupuncturist. (Not saying he doesn't know his stuff pretty darn well, but he's not actually a doctor.)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:23 AM

Absolutely, Firestorm! I'm closing in on a master's in nutrition, and we're always very careful to use the word "client" instead of "patient," and we can NOT diagnose anything. We can make suggestions and recommendations based on "things that have worked for others with similar symptoms to you," and stuff like that. *Sigh.* It's a jungle out there. And +1 for being one of the way too few people who use the right affect/effect with "effect change." ;-)

Medium avatar
19479 · May 06, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Thanks Shari! I agree. It's ludicrous that someone can write a book about "fasting" on lemonade but a person who had diabetes, and beat it, can't share what he learned with other people.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · May 05, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Great interview FED! Steve is right. They have put a muzzle on him and in the end people will be hurt by the lack of information. If this is what they feel is compliance they need to be made to feel something else. I hope he fights them on this one. I hope we all do.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6
1492 · April 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Why doesn't this post have the most votes? It's the correct answer. CHECK!

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763
1926 · April 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Well I don't agree with her, so she most certainly should be arrested.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab
3521 · February 03, 2012 at 2:07 AM

Why??? Her diet is so...so...kind :)

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e
13635 · February 02, 2012 at 11:43 PM

This is now my #1 up-voted answer. ;0)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 6:30 PM

I couldn't agree more, I'm just answering from a legal perspective, which unfortunately, and at same time probably rightfully so, doesn't care about any of those things. I think it's things like this that make a libertarian...you can't fire the FDA. It would be wickedly difficult to do something like prosecute someone for say, the China Study. You'd have to show: they meant it to be used for medical diagnosis and treatment; it was foreseeable it would be used for that purpose; it was used for the purpose; someone suffered injury because of it; injury; divisibility of harm; etc...

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
7660 · February 02, 2012 at 5:36 PM

wildwabbit, true. But I'd rather face disgust than pity. :)

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4
1837 · February 02, 2012 at 3:48 PM

j3wcy - this then begs the question of who is responsible for quality of the research that the consensus is built upon. It also raises a question of what value nutritionists add if all they do is parrot a 'consensus'.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 3:20 PM

+1, love this answer, wish it were totally true. Sorry to say that there are a lot of ways to be held liable for advice or opinions, even if you're not trying to commit willful fraud or harm. Sadly, speech is a lot less free than you might think.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Asclepius, it depends. The legal standards are all about what's widely accepted (on the theory that a consensus of doctors is more qualified to make determinations than the court would be about right/wrong). If you can show your theory is widely accepted, even if it's contentious to some, you're fine. If it's shown you're using a not widely accepted theory, you might not be so fine.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4
1837 · February 02, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Just one corollary to this question; has anyone considered the consequence of the North Carolina nutritionists being found guilty of giving negligent and potentially damaging advice at some point in the future? Given the anecdotal evidence that some diabetics following a paleo diet actually recover, I wonder if any of the nutritionists will actually be held accountable/responsible for the current advice if this is proved to be such?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052
2949 · February 02, 2012 at 8:33 AM

lol Americans...

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 02, 2012 at 5:40 AM

I think a vegan at Paleo F/X will face quite a different reaction compared to a Paleo at Vegan F/X. The former, if promoting the lifestyle, will get laughed at, while the latter will be viewed with disgust out of principle.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
7660 · February 02, 2012 at 5:15 AM

@Ed, yeah I know. But how would you feel if a vegan infiltrated Paleo F/X or something? I'm just saying it wouldn't be a friendly welcome.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 02, 2012 at 3:29 AM

Did you HAVE to refer to law school? Now I have to go curl up in a ball in the corner and whimper. PTSD trigger ;) I like your answer, anyhow.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · February 02, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Most health professional conferences are open to anyone--to attend and participate in--no matter what their credentials, as long as they register and pay the fees.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 02, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I most certainly can! Otherwise I have to write dozens of pages of ironclad legalese to cover every possible scenario and hole I or others can anticipate! Besides, the courts need love too, and a little token gray area, not too big mind you else one can lose credibility and get slapped with incompetence, will create more billable hours ;)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Haha you can't just leave terms to be contextually defined all willynilly like. Not that your definition needs to make any sense at all, which is why I have a job. Also trust me, I love debating the fine points as much as the next guy and probably way more than most, but at least ten times a day I wish I never went to law school. Grass is always greener :)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Well, it could very well have started because he went to a meeting for licensed nutritionists (as no one else can call themselves such in many states), created an initial perception that he was "one of them", stirred a pot, and got hunted down. For any group of specific licensed professionals, one should always remember the wise words of Gandalf: "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." To ashes on the spot? No not satisfying enough, "let's have him go home for a few days feeling good, then toy with him ourselves before handing him over to the courts!"

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:49 PM

I giggled as that comment concisely speaks to the state of being that avoids these messes in the first place ;)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:32 PM

And to nitpick, I left "sufficiently" undefined so that the context of any arbitrary situation can be allowed to determine whether it is sufficient for both criminal AND civil liability ;)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Yes indeed, I understood that as well, even though I am not a lawyer (truly) :) I justified myself in not stating that because ultimately any sufficiently gross and severe act can lead to both criminal AND civil liability. Makes me wish I was a lawyer sometimes as there is no end of work debating finer points with other lawyers and being paid for it ;)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Happy to not specifically help anyone at all :)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Haha I understand, and I apologize if that came off as repeating. I was hoping to add some (not some specific or at all directed) legalese haha. Also at the risk of nitpicking (lawyer) to my knowledge you can be held criminally responsible for malpractice. And saying you're not a lawyer is always good policy. Even I usually state I'm not a lawyer, or at least hope people won't hold it too much against me :p

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Well, that was, in my poor words, the "causing confusion" part (i.e. allowing a person to be confused about his qualifications). Good thing I stated I was not a lawyer ;)

912ec069b5bd84af1b6ef7545b950908
428 · February 01, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I spend a bit of time on a site for people with mental illness. We are encouraged to say "X worked for me" or "have you tried X" instead of "you should do X," because the "you should do" part sounds doctor-y and also, frankly, rather more confrontational. The "X worked for me" formulation is much more in keeping with my own communication style.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 8:09 PM

You need to be a little careful, because this isn't wholly accurate. In general, the law will view not disabusing someone of the notion that you are a qualified licensed professional when you should, is as bad as holding yourself out as one.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Do you play one on TV?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Actually, the ADA has been sued for just that.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Time to re-read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d
12540 · February 01, 2012 at 5:38 PM

One other thing that occurred to me, at least in terms of the result of the meeting is "Did the post-er behave in a manner that might be construed as being "hostile"?" I've noted in my own dealings, as someone on the fringes of society in many ways, that if I am exceedingly polite, and take the time to frame questions -- even pointed questions -- in a way that allows the other person to 'save face', I get many more satisfactory responses, and a lot less hostile argument -- even if I don't agree with the response, and the responder is occasionally condescending, it is usually informative.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 01, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Thanks much for the non-advice! :-))

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 4:27 PM

An MD doesn't have to pass themselves off as "qualified" as they *are* "qualified" by definition by both degree and state license to practice. If they give bad medical advice, its not illegal (in terms of criminal law) but rather it is malpractice (in terms of civil law). If an MD needs investigation, thats a matter for the state licensing boards. The OP of this thread, on the other hand, is not a licensed professional in the medical nor nutrition fields, and hasn't claimed to be. Thus, he can't "pass" himself off, though a bee hive may try to get him on "causing confusion". I am not a lawyer

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · February 01, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Actually Malory your inability to "diagnose" is actually your strength! The diagnosis paradigm is falling. It is a failed experiment. Treat health...period. I can see how the language of wellness seems strange and ambiguous at fist, but it really is a better way.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · February 01, 2012 at 4:21 PM

God forbid people share positive experiences based on lifestyle change with their fellow man.....he really needs to be blogging on how daily insulin injections keep him alive, bet nobody would sue over that.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84
17101 · February 01, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I think we need to gather any diabetic out there who got worse on the ADA's recommendation and sue the hell out of them, then turn around and sue the NC nutritionists guild or whatever for monopoly.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 3:25 PM

+1 for the poop talk. Yes, I am THAT immature.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Then half the articles in most magazines are illegal.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a
4984 · February 01, 2012 at 2:36 PM

This makes me so angry! We need seomeone with a lot of money to take this one through the courts with all the supporting data.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · February 01, 2012 at 2:02 PM

+1 I agree Carl. Telling people to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods, the nerve of those pesky paleo eaters.

63479974b34930b7bedb12afa19083d3
795 · February 01, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I came here to say a variation of the same thing myself. I know a few licensed MD's that could use some investigation!

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e
13635 · February 01, 2012 at 11:45 AM

The phrase "You should do X" to me is an opinion and OK to say. Saying "You WILL do X, or else!!!" is when the line is crossed.

2a2da4d6df354c8473706281d61d1850
420 · February 01, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Outrageous! This just makes me so furious...!

Total Views
6.3K

Recent Activity
Medium avatar

Last Activity
48D AGO

Followers
0

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

28 Answers

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e
48
13635 · February 01, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Let's see them go after Michelle Obama first.

It's absurd to think advice and opinions aren't protected speech. Only if a person tries to commit willful fraud or harm to another would it be an issue.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 3:20 PM

+1, love this answer, wish it were totally true. Sorry to say that there are a lot of ways to be held liable for advice or opinions, even if you're not trying to commit willful fraud or harm. Sadly, speech is a lot less free than you might think.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · February 01, 2012 at 2:02 PM

+1 I agree Carl. Telling people to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods, the nerve of those pesky paleo eaters.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e
13635 · February 02, 2012 at 11:43 PM

This is now my #1 up-voted answer. ;0)

723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2
306 · June 01, 2012 at 4:45 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court has basically written commercial speech out of the First Amendment.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

It doesn't matter. I won't matter. No one will be able to stop this movement.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
38
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 4:56 PM

I am not a doctor...but I am a lawyer, and those of you that have touched on the passing yourself off as a medical professional are mostly right. It comes down to whether someone can reasonably rely on your opinion. You can reasonably rely on the opinion of a doctor for medical advice, you can't reasonably rely on a homeless person for the same, and by that, hold them to the same standard of care. I won't bore you with the details (unless you want them) but it's more about the difference between someone wholly relying on your answer vs. knowing you're not a doctor etc and following your advice anyway.

For the purposes of PH, I wouldn't lose a ton of sleep over it. You could put a disclaimer at the bottom of the post which would cover you (this isn't medical advice etc), or a click wrap that said I agree in submitted this I understand it is not for the purposes of receiving medical advice (there are a lot of options here). Also just for the record, "I never said I was a doctor," is not a defense, if a reasonable person could infer that you are.

It's a complicated issue, but I guess that's why law school is such a bitch.

Oh, and I live in North Carolina :) and this was not legal advice, just general ramblings about general things ;)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 01, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Thanks much for the non-advice! :-))

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Happy to not specifically help anyone at all :)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:49 PM

I giggled as that comment concisely speaks to the state of being that avoids these messes in the first place ;)

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 02, 2012 at 3:29 AM

Did you HAVE to refer to law school? Now I have to go curl up in a ball in the corner and whimper. PTSD trigger ;) I like your answer, anyhow.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6
1492 · April 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Why doesn't this post have the most votes? It's the correct answer. CHECK!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Hmmm....I see a ton of people who think Chris Kresser is a doctor of some sort, but as far as I know, he's an acupuncturist. (Not saying he doesn't know his stuff pretty darn well, but he's not actually a doctor.)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · June 01, 2012 at 2:02 PM

In his case it's pretty obvious he's not; the top of his site has a big banner that says Chris Kresser L.Ac, which are clearly not doctor credentials. If you don't know an acupuncturist isn't a medical doctor, there's not a lot of help for you, (not to knock acupuncturists, I go to one regularly and have for years). He also has disclaimers all over the place. The legal standard isn't "could an idiot think you're a doctor".

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · June 09, 2012 at 3:32 AM

Sad that people think they can reasonably rely on a doctors advise because they have a bit of paper, when theres no reason to think that there advise couldnt be the worst advice ever and end up killing you. (and theres plenty of standard doctors advices that have this end)..i dont trust doctors with my life unless I have to. I trust my own judgement, once its informed by research, more than any other individual. I think thats more reasonable than trusting something I havent researched to a stranger - lol @ wholly relying on someones answer with no evidence to suggest I should...

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 3:55 PM

j3wcy wrote, "You can reasonably rely on the opinion of a doctor for medical advice" Really?????

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d
14
12540 · February 01, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I think that where he got into trouble was in references on his site to diabetes and managing diabetes. Because diabetes is a specific illness, it could, possibly, be construed as "diagnosing and treating".

I have friends who are involved in alternative health. They have to be VERY careful. Most of them call themselves 'consultants', and only accept "clients". They don't "prescribe" -- diets, supplements, etc. -- they "recommend". And they're VERY VERY clear from day 1 and at every meeting that they're consulting, not diagnosing or prescribing, and that the folk who come to them aren't patients with diseases... they're clients with challenges.

I think that if he'd made sure that the disclaimers were very very clear, and provided "food plans" rather than "diabetic diets", he might have been ok... however, the thing that is MOST telling about this is that someone at that meeting took the effort and energy to look him up and turn him in.

I've had a lot of people suggest that it is better to "change the Behemouth from the inside". I disagree. I think that once you're inside the belly of the beast, you're as likely to get chewed up, digested, and poo-ed back out as you are to make any lasting change... especially when 99% of what is inside is going to be fighting you all the way to maintain the status quo. I think the only way we CAN effect change is from the outside, and the best way to go about it is to continue telling our stories, and hope like heck that people slowly get the message.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Time to re-read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 3:25 PM

+1 for the poop talk. Yes, I am THAT immature.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d
12540 · February 01, 2012 at 5:38 PM

One other thing that occurred to me, at least in terms of the result of the meeting is "Did the post-er behave in a manner that might be construed as being "hostile"?" I've noted in my own dealings, as someone on the fringes of society in many ways, that if I am exceedingly polite, and take the time to frame questions -- even pointed questions -- in a way that allows the other person to 'save face', I get many more satisfactory responses, and a lot less hostile argument -- even if I don't agree with the response, and the responder is occasionally condescending, it is usually informative.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:23 AM

Absolutely, Firestorm! I'm closing in on a master's in nutrition, and we're always very careful to use the word "client" instead of "patient," and we can NOT diagnose anything. We can make suggestions and recommendations based on "things that have worked for others with similar symptoms to you," and stuff like that. *Sigh.* It's a jungle out there. And +1 for being one of the way too few people who use the right affect/effect with "effect change." ;-)

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1
1439 · June 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The people who got him into trouble should be in trouble for being monopolistic, stupid, incompetent, wrong, arrogant, destructive, etc. etc. etc. I wonder how many people have died because diabetic so-called professionals have recommended that diabetic people eat just a little bit of pasta.

2eeb54ac3c0ceb55e0cfeb773ce91e29
13
170 · February 01, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I studied to become a nutritionist up in Canada (btw I think the original poster is confusing 'nutritionist' with 'dietician', as nutritionists are NOT licensed, either). We got a LOT of education/emphasis regarding what we were legally allowed to tell people or NOT tell people. We can't "treat" people in terms of any medical conditions they have; we can't diagnose (obviously, and I don't disagree with that), and we have to word everything in some kind of ambiguous, non-diagnosing, non-illness-centered language. ie. "I can't tell you anything I recommend will help disease X, but I can recommend things that will improve your nutrition status." Or something like that. It's rather ridiculous, but nobody wants a lawsuit or whatever other legal ramifications there may be brought against them. Tbh I am surprised at some of the paleo sites I visit and podcasts I listen to, because it really does sound like these people (whom I trust more than most doctors!) are treating specific medical conditions with the advice they give out. Maybe the U.S. has different laws regarding what you can say in a medical/disease context than what Canada has, or maybe the laws regarding that stuff just aren't enforced on every single person testing them. And I'm glad that people are willing to share their wisdom/experiences regarding how to achieve better health because if they didn't we'd all be stuck with CW.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · February 01, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Actually Malory your inability to "diagnose" is actually your strength! The diagnosis paradigm is falling. It is a failed experiment. Treat health...period. I can see how the language of wellness seems strange and ambiguous at fist, but it really is a better way.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
11
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I always understood the standard being: you can only give illegal advice if you pass yourself off as a qualified, licensed professional.

EDIT:

I read the NC law posted in the link. I believe this can be fought. I am not a lawyer, this is only my opinion. The crux of it all depends on whether the OP blogger can be considered as "practicing" in order to provide "service" to a "consumer". Its a blog not a business, he is not providing a service but rather opinions, and has no consumers but rather visitors.

Even when referring to "diabetics" as a group in his website, I suspect the meaning of "group" in the law (as in assessing/determining needs of individual or group) refers to an explicitly defined group of specific (i.e. named) individuals for collective engagement. Otherwise, "humanity" also qualifies as a group to the ridiculous extreme.

The trick is, to make sure anything on the website can survive a court battle, as I have not reviewed all of the bloggers web site information myself in order to provide (a neither legal nor professional) opinion.

63479974b34930b7bedb12afa19083d3
795 · February 01, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I came here to say a variation of the same thing myself. I know a few licensed MD's that could use some investigation!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 02, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Haha you can't just leave terms to be contextually defined all willynilly like. Not that your definition needs to make any sense at all, which is why I have a job. Also trust me, I love debating the fine points as much as the next guy and probably way more than most, but at least ten times a day I wish I never went to law school. Grass is always greener :)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:32 PM

And to nitpick, I left "sufficiently" undefined so that the context of any arbitrary situation can be allowed to determine whether it is sufficient for both criminal AND civil liability ;)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Haha I understand, and I apologize if that came off as repeating. I was hoping to add some (not some specific or at all directed) legalese haha. Also at the risk of nitpicking (lawyer) to my knowledge you can be held criminally responsible for malpractice. And saying you're not a lawyer is always good policy. Even I usually state I'm not a lawyer, or at least hope people won't hold it too much against me :p

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 4:27 PM

An MD doesn't have to pass themselves off as "qualified" as they *are* "qualified" by definition by both degree and state license to practice. If they give bad medical advice, its not illegal (in terms of criminal law) but rather it is malpractice (in terms of civil law). If an MD needs investigation, thats a matter for the state licensing boards. The OP of this thread, on the other hand, is not a licensed professional in the medical nor nutrition fields, and hasn't claimed to be. Thus, he can't "pass" himself off, though a bee hive may try to get him on "causing confusion". I am not a lawyer

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Yes indeed, I understood that as well, even though I am not a lawyer (truly) :) I justified myself in not stating that because ultimately any sufficiently gross and severe act can lead to both criminal AND civil liability. Makes me wish I was a lawyer sometimes as there is no end of work debating finer points with other lawyers and being paid for it ;)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Well, that was, in my poor words, the "causing confusion" part (i.e. allowing a person to be confused about his qualifications). Good thing I stated I was not a lawyer ;)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · February 01, 2012 at 8:09 PM

You need to be a little careful, because this isn't wholly accurate. In general, the law will view not disabusing someone of the notion that you are a qualified licensed professional when you should, is as bad as holding yourself out as one.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 02, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I most certainly can! Otherwise I have to write dozens of pages of ironclad legalese to cover every possible scenario and hole I or others can anticipate! Besides, the courts need love too, and a little token gray area, not too big mind you else one can lose credibility and get slapped with incompetence, will create more billable hours ;)

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a
11
2171 · February 01, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I am not a doctor...

And please do not read this if you are in North Carolina...

Honestly I do think there is a fine line between relating our own experience and giving advice, that we would do well not to cross.

. X worked for me
. Have you tried x? are always better than...

. You should do X.

The bigger issue for me is that in a lot of countries/states, you have to sign up to certain CW concepts like "heart-healthy" slow release whole grain carbs are good for you, in order to become certified. If this were not the case, it wouldn't be left up to "renegades" like us to put the real science out there and challenge CW.

912ec069b5bd84af1b6ef7545b950908
428 · February 01, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I spend a bit of time on a site for people with mental illness. We are encouraged to say "X worked for me" or "have you tried X" instead of "you should do X," because the "you should do" part sounds doctor-y and also, frankly, rather more confrontational. The "X worked for me" formulation is much more in keeping with my own communication style.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e
13635 · February 01, 2012 at 11:45 AM

The phrase "You should do X" to me is an opinion and OK to say. Saying "You WILL do X, or else!!!" is when the line is crossed.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · February 01, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Do you play one on TV?

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645
4413 · June 06, 2012 at 5:22 AM

Really? Wow..I just assume people are smarter than this. I give them the benefit of the doubt that when they ask for and receive advice on a Blog, from strangers that they take it for what it is - Free Advice from a stranger that may or may not be valid or useful.

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393
9
6418 · February 02, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Arrest this woman!

are-we-all-just-giving-illegal-medical-advice?-(paleo-site-under-investigation)

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab
3521 · February 03, 2012 at 2:07 AM

Why??? Her diet is so...so...kind :)

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763
1926 · April 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Well I don't agree with her, so she most certainly should be arrested.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4
8
1837 · February 01, 2012 at 12:06 PM

As long as you are not pretending/passing yourself off as a medic/doctor or qualified nutritional adviser, I am not sure there is much the authorities can do.

The authorities are pissed that their 'authority' is being ignored and flatly contradicted - resulting in apparently superior outcomes. Thus they are having to do a bit of sabre rattling.

If you go to a gym you'll get dietary advice and nutritionists have never targetted PTs in my experience!

Also, consider the dietary advice from Kelloggs with regard to their food brands. They issue dietary advice on packaging as well as websites - little of it is truly 'bespoke'.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0
7
1078 · February 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Well to say the least, Paleohacks is a global community, and so the jurisdiction for us is highly ambiguous.

Within America you're supposed to have your First Amendment, no? Or can North Carolina mothers not tell their children how to eat without breaking the law?

193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6
5
2913 · February 01, 2012 at 9:07 PM

It's actually very simple. If you say something that is detrimental to someone who has a lot of money who could make them lose a lot of money, then you will be pursued. It's the American way!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
4
41460 · February 01, 2012 at 12:51 PM

As long as you don't pass yourself as acting in a professional capacity, then I don't think anybody could win a case against you. That however doesn't mean that can't bring a case against you and make your life hell and totally screw you up with legal fees and crap like that.

Probably wouldn't hurt to have some sort of disclaimer at the bottom of every page. Something along the lines of what's at the end of the Everyday Paleo podcast.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
3
7660 · February 01, 2012 at 11:31 PM

I totally get the outrage here, but this issue has been weighing on my mind.

All of us bloggers and otherwise Paleo broadcasters do share a responsibility. I'm guessing disclaimers will become quite common on sites like PH and others. Maybe my blog.

I realized this when I started blogging and some of my friends who gave it a shot weren't having the results I did. And it occurred to me that I wasn't interested in being anyone's guru, especially when there are folks like Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Whole9, and Robb Wolf doing it far better than I ever could. But I still want to be out there sharing information and discussing topics of interest, and I think that line can get pretty fine.

And besides, if you were at a conference of peers and some hack started participating who didn't have the proper credentials to talk about your profession, wouldn't you be pissed too?

But all that being said, I'm glad those nutritionists got a comeuppance. Took serious cojones, I salute you, sir.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 02, 2012 at 5:40 AM

I think a vegan at Paleo F/X will face quite a different reaction compared to a Paleo at Vegan F/X. The former, if promoting the lifestyle, will get laughed at, while the latter will be viewed with disgust out of principle.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
7660 · February 02, 2012 at 5:15 AM

@Ed, yeah I know. But how would you feel if a vegan infiltrated Paleo F/X or something? I'm just saying it wouldn't be a friendly welcome.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
7660 · February 02, 2012 at 5:36 PM

wildwabbit, true. But I'd rather face disgust than pity. :)

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · February 02, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Most health professional conferences are open to anyone--to attend and participate in--no matter what their credentials, as long as they register and pay the fees.

Medium avatar
2
19479 · May 05, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I recently interviewed Steve Cooksey, the blogger investigated by the NCBDN for Paleo Magazine. If you'd like to check out his take on the situation, you can check it out here...http://www.paleomagonline.com/2012/05/04/interview-with-steve-cooksey/

This kind of sums it up though:

"At this point, where do things stand? On the NCBD website, they posted that they had withdrawn their complaint. http://www.ncbdn.org/file_a_complaint/recent_press_inquiry/

Essentially, they are saying that I am in compliance with state law and that they have withdrawn the original complaint. In my opinion, the state has restricted my free speech. I can???t say, ???You are diabetic and I think you should eat less than 30 grams of carbs per day until your blood sugar is normalized.??? I???m not allowed to say that. Now, your doctor is most likely not going to say that, your diabetes educator is not going to say that, somebody needs to say that."

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · May 05, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Great interview FED! Steve is right. They have put a muzzle on him and in the end people will be hurt by the lack of information. If this is what they feel is compliance they need to be made to feel something else. I hope he fights them on this one. I hope we all do.

Medium avatar
19479 · May 06, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Thanks Shari! I agree. It's ludicrous that someone can write a book about "fasting" on lemonade but a person who had diabetes, and beat it, can't share what he learned with other people.

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5
2
3347 · April 30, 2012 at 2:34 PM

I think a factor in this case is that the guy was offering paid consultations to individuals.

1ecda724f5bf67657b9e8a164fba8e39
2
20 · February 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM

If you read his summary of what went on, one issue is that he offered to help people on a one on one basis, paid, to help achieve what he did. That could be construed as offering paid solutions for medical problems, something the board would (and should) look into. Sharing anecdotal evidence should be free speech. Giving medical advice, especially for profit (however little - he did say for nominal charge), is regulated.

Providing opinions over studies, in the way Taubes does, is perfectly normal and protected, it is similar to the discussion portion of a metastudy. If he claims it will cure cancer and sell you the secret, he better be licensed.

Its the same in the pharmacy world. A tech can know all the answers, but if they get caught giving "professional opinion", rather than factual answers, it is grounds for dismissal. Professional opinion is reserved for pharmacists.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587
2
7660 · February 02, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Sorry to be annoying and add another response, but does anyone think the era of the internet is changing the rules?

I mean, a court already decided that a blogger is not a journalist and not subject to those protections under the law.

So how, then, do we hold people responsible for advice given over the intertubes? I mean, it's not like people aren't actually trying this stuff out. Exhibit A = Paleo Hacks. :) How do we differentiate between "experts" and hacks?

I was at a party recently, and someone asked about the food thing (again!), so I responded and of course, someone listening asked me if I had a degree in nutrition or anything. After I got done grinding my teeth, I said, No, I didn't, but as a writer and someone who's interested in the topic, it benefits me to carve a niche for myself. Taubes did the same thing and it's paid off quite well for him. A degree does not (necessarily) an expert make. Grr. But I guess I could potentially be as much a part of the problem as the solution, since the dissemination of information is precisely part of the SAD and CW issues we see.

Wow, sorry folks. That's the LAST time I post after a latte. (P.S. - That's probably a lie.)

800547661e2d20d03f5a313d86eb6102
2
155 · February 02, 2012 at 4:00 AM

This whole topic ticks me off when thinking about the rubbish the big names tout on their websites, in their books, on the tv programs with the like of Dr Oz; Dr Dean Odell; "alternative doctor" Dr Weil who continue to over look the inflammatory properties of the whole grains & legumes they recommend to "lose weight" & "avoid coronary disease"...

3502f79e2b38fb5ec60ee20c36b1ec8e
1
214 · August 08, 2012 at 2:04 AM

I put my thoughts out on Steve's situation in a new post here:

http://www.taylorwellness.com/nutritional-advice-outlawed-my-thoughts-on-steve-cooksey-the-diabetes-warrior/

I'm curious how doctors can give nutritional advice when they historically have no classes or training in nutrition. They don't have licenses to practice nutrition or dietetics any more than Steve.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300
1
2056 · June 01, 2012 at 3:11 AM

As an update: do y'all realize he's now suing the state of NC? http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20120531/APN/1205310692

61c3d2c07376ee667da321cc20a1e94b
1
456 · June 01, 2012 at 12:56 AM

As Cartman from South Park put it... "GODDAMN HIPPIES!!!"

If they are going to shut down on the basis of any online advice being a "practice", they have to shut down a lot more sites than just paleo ones, like the grapefruit diet and "HippieHolisticMedicine.com". But paleo is a target because it reveals the emperor (the medical community) has no clothes!

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5
1
1348 · April 30, 2012 at 8:30 PM

It should be noted that he was asked to comply and he did comply with their requests and the trouble is over. A month ago. Methinks hits are over 9000 with DW.

A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763
1
1926 · April 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Yes!.. I mean No!

This post is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, CaveDad provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. CaveDad is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN. If you believe you have any other health problem, or if you have any questions regarding your health or a medical condition, you should promptly consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Never disregard medical or professional advice, or delay seeking it, because of something you read on this site or a linked website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice. You should also ask your physician or other healthcare provider to assist you in interpreting any information in this Site or in the linked websites, or in applying the information to your individual case.

Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this Site or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this Site or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.

CaveDad does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be provided on the linked websites. The linked websites may contain text, graphics, images or information that you find offensive (e.g., sexually explicit). CaveDad, its licensors and its suppliers have no control over and accept no responsibility for such materials.

9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17
1
581 · February 01, 2012 at 8:39 PM

if the guy went to the NC nutritionists' meeting and talked about how diabetic people should take insulin and keep eating grains (presumably the same advice as the nutritionists would give) - 1) he would still be giving out medical advice without a license, and 2) the nutritionists would not sue him over giving out those medical advice. people have a nasty habit of questioning ur sanity, legal standing, or character when u don't agree with them, especially in scenarios where u r right and they can't prove u r wrong (so they attack anything and anyway around the bush to destroy u and ur credibility).

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 01, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Well, it could very well have started because he went to a meeting for licensed nutritionists (as no one else can call themselves such in many states), created an initial perception that he was "one of them", stirred a pot, and got hunted down. For any group of specific licensed professionals, one should always remember the wise words of Gandalf: "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." To ashes on the spot? No not satisfying enough, "let's have him go home for a few days feeling good, then toy with him ourselves before handing him over to the courts!"

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8014 · June 01, 2012 at 3:27 AM

Yeah, Justin...I think you're right. The organization in NC would probably have no beef with him at all if he was recommending the same things they are. I think the problem is not so much that he's unlicensed as it is that he's contradicting the paradigm their salaries are based on.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5
1
3125 · February 01, 2012 at 4:38 PM

my advice is free, if i was charging they might have a case. if i sold a book i might be profieting but the advice was free. so, i can assume i unles i send a bill my advice on this site is free also.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3
0
6709 · August 08, 2012 at 2:27 AM

I give actual medical device, as I am a Dr' practicing in Zimbabwe. Try me.

E8dd83fe24a0879d8b16ab4ca92b72dd
0
1307 · May 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Because we can soundly rely on the medical community's objectivity anymore, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/business/03pfizer.html

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80
0
3651 · February 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I followed the links to NC's law and its from about 10 years before blogs. The law states that anyone distributing information is "practicing."

NC can't shut down the Internet, but they can try I guess. Nothing will come of it.

People should not worry about what they have been saying. No big deal.

F35acbca0711c5a0dd7f8fc2ae3707b6
-2
-4 · April 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

This is a horrible news when it comes to know like this. The doctors suggesting us to have a 6hr deep sleep.

This is a kind of rest we want everyday. We should not put down this. Even the billing company like us(http://www.billingparadise.com) are meeting lot of medical claims in the name of sleeping problems and wrecks

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes