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Old 11-18-16, 01:53 PM
Giving Diet Advice Could Be Illegal
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By Rick Collins

Q: Dear Rick, I’m a personal trainer, and was shocked to read your column last year about nutrition advice being a crime in some states. Any updates?

A: While giving basic nutrition information to healthy people premised on evidence-based materials is generally permissible, giving individualized nutritional counseling is governed by an ever-changing patchwork of state laws. Some states limit the scope of nutritional practice to those with state licenses granted only to registered dietitians (RDs)— a credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), a professional trade association. Without a license in these “scope of practice” states, anyone, including personal trainers, clinical nutritionists, health coaches, etc., who assesses a client’s nutritional needs and provides a specific diet plan may be committing a crime. Only 12 states have pathways to licensure without effectively being an RD.


The claimed rationale for scope-of-practice laws is consumer protection. But are RDs really better trained and qualified than other fitness professionals? Maybe so for patients with serious medical problems, but not so much for healthy adults looking for strength and lean muscle. Take AND’s position on protein intake. Most bodybuilding experts recommend one gram per pound of bodyweight daily. But AND recommends men consume only 56 grams of protein daily— good luck building muscle with that! And creatine supplementation is apparently too new for AND to take a position?! The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) has had highly researched positions on protein/exercise and creatine for many years1, and yet scope-of-practice states freeze out CISSNs (ISSN’s certified sports nutritionists)! Perhaps these laws are less about ensuring quality nutritional counseling and more about protecting the monopolistic interests of a single professional trade association?


As for changes in the law, Judy Stone, legislative policy director of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists’ Center for Nutrition Advocacy (CNA) points out that in the past five years, there were 16 battleground states in which CNA prevented overly restrictive laws from passing, passed more favorable laws or repealed a bad law (see circled states on map). For example, in the extremely restrictive state of North Carolina, her group is seeking to establish an exemption for personal trainers to counsel healthy clients. Anyone in the fitness industry or who gives individualized nutrition advice must thoroughly research the current laws in their state. Know how “nutrition counseling” is defined in a scope-of-practice state and what exemptions may apply, and know what you can call yourself in a state that protects the use of certain titles. For nutrition therapy for a medical condition, refer a client to a nutrition professional who can legally provide those services in your state.
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Old 11-18-16, 01:55 PM
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Old 11-18-16, 04:06 PM
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yes dana giving diet advice should be punished with 50 lashings. totally agree.
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