ADA to Members: Spy on Private Citizens to Stifle Competition

by Sarah ActivismComments: 45

The American Dietetic Association, also known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is feeling extremely threatened these days and apparently has for quite some time.

With it’s nutritional advice increasingly being ignored and even laughed at by a public that is waking up to the fact that its recommendations run completely contrary to the diets of healthy, disease free Traditional Cultures and hence will not help them lose weight, control blood sugar, and prevent cancer and heart disease, the ADA is resorting to illegal black hat tactics to stifle the competition.

The first shot across the bow resulted in the attempted muzzling of blogger Steve Cooksey by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.  Board censors issued a list of demands to Cooksey in a nineteen page, manifesto style letter which included a markup of his own blog in handwritten red pen like a high school term paper.  He was told he must comply with the Board’s demands or else face up to a month and a half in prison.

Prison – for blogging?   America, Land of the Free Muzzled and Home of the Brave Fearful?

Now, leaked documents by outraged members of the American Dietetic Association itself have blown the lid off the nationwide attempt by the ADA to corner the market in health and nutritional advice.

In an article written by Michael Ellsberg of Forbes magazine earlier this week, Ellsberg quotes from these leaked documents which show without a shadow of a doubt that the ADA:

“Openly discusses creating and using state boards of dietetics/nutrition (including in NC and in every other state in the union) for the express purpose of limiting market competition for its Registered Dietitian members.”

“Openly discusses a nation-wide plan of surveilling and reporting private citizens, and particularly all competitors on the market for nutrition counseling, for “harming the public” by providing nutrition information/advice/counseling without a license–through exactly the same means by which Cooksey was reported to the NC Board. Again, for the explicit purpose of limiting marketplace competition.

The smoking gun document leaked by the ADAs own members is published on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health, an organization highly critical of the ADA.

In essence, this document discusses, complete with color coded charts, how the ADA can work across all 50 states in order to support the creation of licensure laws and dietetics boards similar to that of North Carolina in order to limit competition and create an ADA monopoly on nutritional advice.

Spy for the ADA and Win a Free Conference Registration!

A second internal ADA document leaked by a disgusted member described tactics for spying on those perceived by the ADA as competitors in the field of nutritional counseling, who are arrogantly referred to as “uneducated wannabees”.

There is even a “Documentation of Harm Contest” (page 2) contained in the brochure for the Michigan Dietetic Association’s 2006 Conference in which attendees are told that they can win a free conference registration if they turn in the most information about unlicensed people who provide nutritional advice to the public.  This information would be used by the State Board of Dietetics and Nutrition to potentially infringe upon these people’s right to free speech a la Steve Cooksey.

The actual Documentation of Harm Form can be downloaded and viewed from the Forbes magazine website.

Milton Friedman, author of Free to Choose and economist extraordinaire, once wrote that the public rarely if ever exhorts legislative pressure to license an occupation as a result of harm that has been done.

Au contraire. Friedman notes that the forces for licensure nearly always come from members of the occupation itself seeking to establish monopolistic control.

These leaked documents of the American Dietetic Association illustrate the perfect example of exactly that to which Mr. Friedman referred.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (45)

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  • Spyware Information

    nice post. neat little video

    August 19th, 2012 2:30 pm Reply
  • DS

    In general, if someone claims to be an RD I think they are to be devoutly ignored. They are sure to believe that LOW FAT is good. Each time a news article comes out saying that studies show that Atkins dieters lose more weight, keep it off, and have better lab reports, the reporter interviews an RD who says “yes, but WHOLE GRAINS……..blah blah blah.” I.E., “Don’t confuse me with facts.”

    July 23rd, 2012 1:41 pm Reply
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  • Kathy

    I love your blog and just went over to Diabetic Warrior and signed up for daily emails. I have been on a paleo style diet for 2 weeks and the results have been amazing! Weight is coming off and the highest my blood sugar has been was 157 – I was always in the high 200s with the ADA diet. I have been a diabetic for over 20 years and have finally “wised up” with help from people like you. Thanks so much!!

    July 15th, 2012 7:55 pm Reply
  • Michele

    I am an RD and I LOATHE the ADA. I have not been a member in so long I still call it the ADA. It has actually been renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
    I have to be licensed in my state. From what I understand, the licensing means that non licensed nutrition counselors can not call themselves a “Dietitian”. I could be wrong but that is how I understand it. Also, it may be different in his state. It is my understanding that anyone can give nutrition advice (and charge for it) but they just can not do it as a “Dietitian” unless they are licensed. My guess is, they thought they could bully this guy and it looks like they thought wrong!

    July 15th, 2012 9:10 am Reply
  • Blair

    Great article, Sarah. Bravo. Keep up the good work. As always… follow the money!

    July 14th, 2012 4:51 pm Reply
  • Tony

    Oh, so this is what happens when corporate control of our govt is given to big business ( in this case the industrial food businesses ).

    Someone has to eat all that uber – processed ( mostly corn, soy, HFCS and franken fats ) crap.

    How else is the bottom line going to stay in the black?

    July 14th, 2012 4:48 pm Reply
    • Ray

      It’s not a problem that is defined by “big business” or “big government.”

      Too much power concentrated in the hands of too few people always results in the individual being crushed. It’s a basic pattern of human society. Big business in a capitalist society is not interested in individual freedoms, it is only interested in the bottom line profit. And big government in a more regulated society is not interested in helping the individual citizen, it is only interested in expanding control.

      The ADA is not part of the industrial food business as far as I can tell, but they are simply following the same pattern that power seeking groups have always followed.

      Medieval guilds had an intricate system of apprenticeships and mastery that wielded tremendous political influence within their community. They used that influence to pass laws to make it illegal to sell or manufacture unless you were part of their guild. Likewise for the modern labor union, and so on for the modern corporate entity. When they can, they will purchase sufficient influence to shut any new doors of competition.

      So the fix isn’t to focus on “big business” as too many people only have one answer for “big business” and that’s more government. Which, ironically in light of your post, is exactly what the ADA is doing. They are the exact, modern equivalent of the medieval guild. They are protecting their own interests at the expense of the individual and the public in general, and they’re doing it through an expanded government role in our daily lives i.e. controlling our speech.

      July 14th, 2012 5:41 pm Reply
      • Tony

        I agree in part.

        The ADA is being handed down marching orders which comes from the govt. A govt bought / sold / operated by big business and special interests. Their ‘ concern ‘ for the individual, as you posted, is only to crush them. Their crushing of said individuals results in protecting and bettering their own interests and not the people.

        I do not necessarily advocate for more govt regs, only that the govt do what it is suppose to do. That is to protect its populace. It cannot do that when it is run by the private sector. The solution is to get private sector influence out of our govt.

        July 15th, 2012 7:51 am Reply
  • Megan

    This post is very unsettling to me. I am a nutrition/dietetics student. I am getting this degree only so that I have the credential – I have zero interest in practicing healthcare in the way the AND wants us to. I’m wondering what my options are if I want to do a holistic-type program after I graduate with this BS degree. Will I be able to do anything without the RD credential? I loath the idea of having to pay for and endure a CADE-accredited nine-month internship where they will continue their brainwashing and indoctrination that they’ve employed every step of the way in my education. But if I don’t do the internship and become an RD, I don’t want the “officials” breathing down my neck and not allowing me to offer my services for a fee. If anyone has career advice for me it would be appreciated!

    July 14th, 2012 4:44 pm Reply
    • Nicole

      Get through the internship and get the RD. Pick a short one. You are going to have a much easier time with the RD. There are more and more of us within the AND that don’t agree with its actions. There are many subsets, listservs, and groups that you can become involved with – you don’t have to join AND. In fact more and more of my RD colleagues are not joining.

      July 14th, 2012 6:54 pm Reply
      • Therese

        Hats off to you, Nicole. Way to see the value in a hard earned certification yet being willing to stand your ground when the politics get in the way of a good thing. My best to you!

        July 16th, 2012 10:56 am Reply
      • Meredith

        I too have my RD and do not agree with all the AND is doing. It is important to note that many of the natural health care “credentials” out there lack true training and regulation. Please be careful in choosing someone who will provide diet and lifestyle advice as it can be harmful if they do not really know what they are talking about (this includes others who practice nutrition counseling as well as RDs). RDs have a great wealth of education behind them that can be used for positive change. The amount of background and foundation education (i.e. a bachelor’s degree) is something that is lacking in many of the other “credentials”. All that to say, I am not an RD who personally adheres to nor advises others to follow the AND recommendations. In an ideal world, the entire healthcare community would come together to merge these two fields of thought.

        July 19th, 2012 9:03 pm Reply
    • BC

      Megan, the situation varies from state to state. I recommend reading the comments on the subject from Diane Miller, posted above, and following and/or joining her health freedom organization to learn what’s going on nationwide and what you can do.

      July 16th, 2012 4:37 pm Reply
  • Agie Valinth via Facebook

    Thank you for the post as this hits close to home, I have someone close to me who suffers from type 1 diabetes and I can’t even begin to tell you the struggle it has been.All the publications and information regarding diabetes has been mediocre and mostly useless and I always had suspicions that they are not being honest. I have yet to see a dietitian I can agree with in fact I laugh at their suggestions to put it mildly.I want to reach over and tear up the magazines in the checkout lane at the grocery stores that feature diabetic recipes, what’s on the front page? a huge slice of cake.Those who participate in misleading the poor suffering people should automatically receive the worst case of type 1 diabetes so they can eat their cake with frosting.

    July 14th, 2012 2:45 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Anne via Facebook

    The bottom line is, there is a right to free speech. If I want to blog about how a diet of nothing but chocolate is great for you, that’s my right.

    July 14th, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
  • Melinda

    Thanks for this interesting and disturbing post. It’s clear we have to be vigilant in protecting our rights, and being well informed is the first step.

    July 14th, 2012 2:03 pm Reply
  • Ray

    Umm, you seem to have Friedman’s point correct, but maybe it’s your use of “au contraire” which of course means “to the contrary” or something to that effect.

    Friedman was of course saying that history has shown that rarely, if ever, does a genuine grass roots movement rise up and say “Give us legislation to save us from this group of people.” And you correctly point out that this is exactly what is happening now.

    For those not usually interested in economics in general, this is an age old problem that goes all the way back to ancient guilds, modern trade agreements, tariffs, etc. What Friedman was saying is that whenever someone is suggesting legislation to protect us, the public, you need to look a little closer and see who stands to profit.

    The Cato Institute is a good place to start for those that are interested in learning more about this kind of stuff, and no, it’s not as dry as it sounds. Anyone drink raw milk, or wish they had more access to raw milk? Look into who’s keeping you from such a basic right in your state. It will be the association of dairy men who have already invested millions in their operations and don’t want the competition from raw milk dairies and has nothing to do with health at all.

    July 14th, 2012 1:55 pm Reply
    • Blair

      All I can say is, “Amen” to that. Well said. I ove Friedman. Wish he were still alive. He was a VERY wise man.

      July 14th, 2012 4:50 pm Reply
      • Helen T

        Better no regulations than bad regulations?
        Do you know how many regulations are just ignored? Do you think the fracking and the poisoned GMOs are going to go away when you let the market take care of everything? It’s not all comsumer driven, you know……

        July 15th, 2012 2:08 am Reply
  • Jack Plating via Facebook

    After all…their mission is to get more people to join their ranks right? Oh the humanity!

    July 14th, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • Jillian Ross via Facebook

    Nobody eat an Apple it might kill you!!! Hurry to your local Walmart and purchase anything in a bag or a box!!! Oh and make sure its ADA approved.
    Stupid corporate greed nonsense and to much government involvement..yep, thats the American way! Be proud folks :/

    July 14th, 2012 1:49 pm Reply
  • Gluten Free Pantry via Facebook

    Now I know why I studied nutrition and herbal medicine and didn’t become a dietitian!

    July 14th, 2012 1:47 pm Reply
  • Tricia Mills Baehr via Facebook

    Thank you for sharing!

    July 14th, 2012 1:41 pm Reply
  • Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook

    Disgraceful!! Never ceases to amaze me the tactics these agencies will resort to. Not in the interest of OUR health, but in the interest of the health of their bottom line and the bottom line of the food industry.

    July 14th, 2012 1:35 pm Reply
  • sissaly

    I, as a free individual, will pay someone for their advice and their “coaching”, and I would kindly ask you to let me be,

    do not use the threat

    of the state

    force and violence

    to crush your competition.

    If you as a licensee have information that I find valuable, I also will be happy to pay you for your advice and coaching, but please

    do not use

    the threat of State force and violence to limit your competition.

    July 14th, 2012 1:31 pm Reply
    • Susan E

      Amen! I agree with you Sissaly. I’m smart enough to make my own diet and healthcare services, I know my body better than any government or regulatory agency – it’s similar to how insurances won’t pay for alternative care that did more for me in 3 months than 3 years of traditional medicine did. It’s not about helping anyone but thugs trying to protect their golden goose.

      July 15th, 2012 12:09 am Reply
  • Sue

    Using the logic of the ADA, consumers could report a Registered Dietician of the ADA or the ADA itself for causing harm to the public. For instance, there was a post in March about a cardiologist who used to tell patients to eat low-fat if they had heart disease. Now he regrets doing that as a low-fat diet can do more harm than good to those patients. ( The same could be true for the teachings and advice of the ADA and it’s members for some members of the public. (Not that I would suggest starting a battle like that… but logically speaking…)

    July 14th, 2012 1:16 pm Reply
  • maggie

    I have a large exstended family & we have Noted the same medications are given in a broad spectram across the board for Diabetis…during the first 365 days they discourage you from nutritionally adjusting & just tell you to take your pill & get used to it….during the next year they Double your meds and by the third year you have to take colesterol medication….after I reaching 365 lbs I chose to have Gastric Pypass. Several of My family memebers had already gone through the surgury. It was a Double edged sword for me. First it showed me how over medicated I was; I had Neuropathy from my toes to my face. They never asked if I had a Genetic Iron defincancy & now I struggle to keep my Iron Up. I began to Have a Hystomine responce to everything. and the List goes on and On…..after 5 years I still am 60lbs overweight but I am much healthier because I refused further treatment. Unfortunatly I was dianoised with 1 precancerous rectol Polyp & have surgury this week…its genetic of coure…..But I Noted my new local doctor quickly asked for My Past Records & I am not willing to let them treat me any longer based on my past history….luckily I learned my Old Doctors office closed, So I can tell her I dont have those records and they can start a NEW base line of information………………………….thanks for always Excelling at the information you share…It has helped me to discern for myself what advise to follow!!!

    July 14th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
  • Carol

    I work in a regulated industry, as do many. To see some one who is unlicensed “charging” for a service that requires a license is where the problem falls.
    I agree that he should be allowed to share his knowledge openly and freely, but not for a fee.
    No I am not in the medical industry-but I do continue education and pay to carry a state license for the right to practice a service.

    July 14th, 2012 11:17 am Reply
    • sandybt

      Although bloggers can make money blogging, they do not charge a fee from their readers, so not sure how your comment relates to this story.

      July 14th, 2012 11:45 am Reply
      • Dan

        She is likely referring to Steve Cooksey, who had a service on his site where he would give personal advice to people for a fee. I have to agree that that’s probably crossing the line.

        July 14th, 2012 2:39 pm Reply
        • Carol

          Thank you Dan!
          I think you are the only one who really saw where I was going in my comment.

          July 16th, 2012 10:44 am Reply
    • BC

      The problem is when these groups want to literally outlaw other types of practitioners and make theirs the only one available to people. We must be able to choose the approach that we believe best fits our needs. If I want to hire a registered dietician, fine, but I should also be able to hire someone with a more holistic approach. It should be my choice, and legislatures shouldn’t bow to the pressures from these groups who want to create a monopoly for themselves that excludes and essentially outlaws everyone else.

      July 14th, 2012 5:34 pm Reply
      • Fiona

        Yes, but it’s been happening to someone who offers medical advice without a license too. Many, MANY people who have discovered cures for various illnesses (including cancer) have been swiftly stricken down by the authorities (EVEN IF WHAT THEY DO WORKS) for practicing without a license. This seems to be the same sort of case, in that he is offering a counselling/nutrition service for a fee, while unlicensed.

        If he had blogged his advice without actually charging a fee to individual people (or even just sold a book containing his advice) I doubt they would have been able to hold anything against him (as there are a zillion books out there dispensing nutritional advice written by people with no formal qualifications, and all espousing different philosophies).

        However, I agree there is a huge problem when there is a monopoly driven by a particular association, and no one who has a differing viewpoint or other advice, can actually GET a license to practice unless they go against their own beliefs and qualify for a degree or qualification that they don’t actually believe in (for example undertaking a nutrition course where they are assessed with how well they understand nutrition principles that espouse eating cereals and grains and limiting saturated fats).

        There should be alternative licenses and qualifications that would enable someone who doesn’t practice conventional wisdom to be able to practice as a nutrition counsellor!

        July 14th, 2012 8:16 pm Reply
      • Therese

        I appreciate your response. I am in my last quarter of finishing school to be a Certified Health Counselor. Under these quidelines I would not be able to practice, even though I will be registered with the American Association of Drugless Practicioners. This is absoulutely rediculous! My neighbor just told me about the advice she was given by her doctor when he diagnosed her with diverticulitis. I think my teenagers could have given her better nutritional advice…but they are the “safe” ones to go to??

        July 16th, 2012 9:14 am Reply
    • Karen

      The point is, we should all have the right to get “advice” from anyone we want, whether they are licensed or unlicensed. I have a right to pay for that advice with my own money. It is not the licensed person’s business who I choose to get my advice from.

      July 15th, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
    • BC

      Carol, and commenters asking about this situation, here are some comments received via email from Diane Miller, Director of Law and Public Policy for National Health Freedom Action, which can help provide clarification.

      “The writer seems to think that people cannot share knowledge for a fee. The writer seems to think that licensure is the gatekeeper of freedom of speech. Licensure is a government police power function and only dangerous occupational activity can be licensed. Government can only restrict occupations that cause an imminent risk of harm to the public. A number of occupations have tried to convince government officials that their occupation is dangerous if practiced by people that do not go to their schools. And for a number of years government officials were convinced that they should ban the practice of some professions by people that did not have a license. However, research was completed by many including the Kato Institute and licensing laws were challenged and some repealed, and then many states put laws into effect that stated the constitutional threshold that governments could not license a profession and restrict others to practice that occupation unless they were doing dangerous things. Now many states are passing safe harbor laws that protect the rights of consumers to access unlicensed persons and to protect the rights of all occupations to practice, as long as they avoid prohibited conduct that the state deems dangerous such as puncturing the skin, surgery, or giving out prescription drugs or controlled substances and a list of other things, and as long as they tell people what they are doing, who they are their background, and the fact the they do not have a state endorsed licensed to practice a health care profession. Many people hold many forms of knowledge and freedom of speech is the corner stone of our dreams for freedom of expression. Charging a fee for imparting knowledge is commonplace in our society. Recently an occupational audit of the licensing Boards of Michigan recommended a complete repeal of the dietitian licensing laws because that occupation does not pose a significant risk of harm to the public and does not warrant the state’s administrative activity. I hope this is helpful. Also in Nevada we supported the freedom of speech clause on the dietitian bill that passed last year that states:
      (d) A person who furnishes nutrition information, provides
      recommendations or advice concerning nutrition, or markets food,
      food materials or dietary supplements and provides nutrition
      information, recommendations or advice related to that marketing,
      if the person does not represent that he or she is a licensed
      dietitian or registered dietitian. While performing acts described in
      this paragraph, a person shall be deemed not to be engaged in the
      practice of dietetics or the providing of nutrition services.

      Diane Miller, Director of Law and Public Policy for National Health Freedom Action
      Phone: 507-663-9018
      Fax: 507-663-9013

      July 16th, 2012 4:30 pm Reply
  • Paula

    Great article and video Sarah!! Definitely going to share this on my site. It never ceases to amaze me at the corruption of these vile organizations and the lengths they will go to that keep America fat and sick while supporting food conglomerates and pharmaceutical companies. They should be shot.

    July 14th, 2012 5:07 am Reply
  • B.

    This unbridled turf protection, at the expense of jobs, of freedom to practice natural health, and freedom to choose natural health practitioners, needs to STOP. People need to speak out against the rising tide of these absurd legislative tactics that seek to create restrictive and burdensome laws in all states. Contact your state-level and national-level senators and representatives and urge them to oppose such legislation.

    The processed food conglomerates fund the ADA/AND. The mainstream food and medical complex directly benefits when everyone eats their processed foods and then gets sick as a result and are prescribed their medications and therapies. It has nothing to do with promoting good health, with protecting the public, or serving the public — it has everything to do with limiting competition and building monopolistic profits.

    The Forbes article Sarah linked is a MUST READ. If you care about your right to work with a nutrition coach of your choosing, and if you believe in freedom of speech, be sure to read the Forbes article. Then contact your legislators, because these people are coming to your state next, if they haven’t already been working quietly behind the scenes.

    Also, watch this short video about licensing laws:

    July 13th, 2012 7:38 pm Reply
  • Tara

    Hi Sarah!
    I would be so grateful if you would consider writing a post on baby/toddler excema! My son has a bad case of eczema. He is 14 months old. He has it on his knees, ankles, wrist, fingers and back.
    We are giving him the bone broth formula from Nourishing Traditions, vegtables, Good meats, goat’s milk, Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil, and strong pro- biotics.

    I really want to be doing the right thing and my husband and I greatly desire to see our son healed. We are willing to do whatever it takes!!!

    DO you have any other recommendations for us or any websites we can go to for help?

    Thank you for your time,

    July 13th, 2012 6:43 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Tara, I would suggest looking into the GAPS Diet as eczema is an autoimmune condition. If you would like a practicioner to guide you, I would advise contacting Kim Shuette at

      July 13th, 2012 7:12 pm Reply
      • Andrea

        Tara, the GAPS diet was what healed my infant daughter and toddler of terrible eczema. It is very hard to do at times, but well worth the effort in the end!

        July 14th, 2012 12:23 pm Reply

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