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The Cooksey Controversy

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What would you do if you found something that worked for you, like a better way of eating, and you shared that message with people and the government decided to try to shut your blog down because of that?  This is what is currently happening to Steve Cooksey, author of the blog, Diabetes Warriors.  Cooksey wanted to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who died of diabetes.  After being diagnosed with diabetes he changed his diet to a low carb paleo diet.  The result, within 30 days he became drug and insulin free and lost 45 pounds.  Like many other healthy food bloggers he took his experience and shared it with people through a blog.
Cooksey’s before & after pics
The problem:
The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition has decided that Cooksey is “practicing nutrition” by offering advice that should only be offered by qualified individuals (doctors, certified etc).  “If people are writing you with diabetic specific questions and you are responding, you are no longer just providing information — you are counseling”.  The board says “you need a license to provide this service.”  *NOTE to self, don’t answer reader’s questions in the future 😛  An example of the board’s proof is on Cooksey’s blog: “I (Cooksey) do suggest that your friend eat as I do and exercise the best they can.”
Cooksey’s Disclaimer on his blog:
WHY am I thankful? … because my judgement has not been tainted by “Conventional Wisdom”.   When I was diagnosed I set out on a journey to find the best diabetes ‘diet’ and the best most successful ‘diabetes treatment’ I could find.
… and I found it.   AND I share with you… ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! 🙂
Guess what??? I have NO formal medical training of any kind. 🙂
I am a Type 2 Diabetic, who lost 78 lbs and weaned myself off of 4 insulin shots and drugs for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol. More importantly, I have maintained the weight loss AND I have not needed nor have I taken a drug nor insulin since March 2009.
Make no mistake, the way I eat, exercise… the way I LIVE is the best way for all diabetics to live including Type 1′s … it’s the best way for us ALL to live.
Every person can benefit from this lifestyle….
There are no “magic” lotions, potions nor pills.
I know you’re jaded!  I know you’re skeptical!
You’ve been given the wrong advice and your health hasn’t improved!

Why this is serious:

Cooksey, if convicted of giving advice that should only be given by a qualified individual will either have to go to jail or rewrite his 3 years worth of blog posts.  How will this affect other blogs that do the same?  Will sites like Jimmy Moore’s blog, Livin’ La Vida Low Carb, be shut down and replaced with Dr. Vegetarian’s future blog, since he is a qualified authority?
My Opinion:
I feel Cooksey is doing a wonderful thing, but of course I am a tiny bit biased towards the low carb/gluten free/paleo movement.  He is providing another option for diabetics that worked for him.  He fully acknowledges his lack of training.  Also, I don’t want to live in a world where health advice is only given by “qualified individuals”.
How do you feel about this?

3 Responses to The Cooksey Controversy

  1. Kay April 25 at 2:44 pm #

    I feel like it is another example of regulations gone wild. If they can really do that, what will happen to the blogging world? Most of us do not have formal educations in what we blog about. Who qualifies as an “expert” on most things?
    Personal responsibility seems to be a thing of the past?:(

    • Ditch The Wheat April 25 at 5:15 pm #

      It's sad. My favourite blogs about health advice come from “unqualified” people like Fat Head and Jimmy Moore – both come from an IT background. This has opened up Pandora's box. It will be an interesting story to follow.

  2. calor May 5 at 7:05 pm #

    Dr. Oz gives terrible advice and he's “qualified”…To a certain extent I agree with regulation of LABELING of advice – such that his personal disclaimer there saying that he's not “qualified” is enough to satisfy me. I just have a problem with the people that pretend to be qualified when they're not and start handing out medical advice – that's scary. But as far as this guy sharing an experience that worked for him that might empower others to do the same? Good for him! Lifestyle changes would solve a lot of people's problems but they don't make the changes, for whatever reason…