State Licensing

I was listening to this Paleo podcast with Robb Wolf where he interviews Laura Schoenfeld who is a registered dietitian. She had to go to school in order to get a license. I find this admirable because she did so with the intent to promote health advice that actually isn’t in line with the US government food pyramid advice. She realizes that becoming a registered dietitian would give her the credibility she desired to spread information to help people.

Wolf is pretty libertarian. Schoenfeld is paleo, but no libertarian. It seemed to me that she realized Wolf is libertarian, because she makes the case for licensing to him, but it is evident that she expects him to disagree with her. He was a nice guy, and tried to suggest some happy medium versus take her licensing argument down.

I was stunned by the weakness of her argument for licensing. One minute she is going on about how these people (from the state) were trying to improve nutrition by getting whole milk out of school. Which in her view, if you are going to drink milk, you should be drinking full fat, whole milk, not that low fat stuff. She is paleo, so she believes the food pyramid is ruining people’s health. The people, the state, that issue licences, promote what she believes to be unhealthy choices. Their reach is so far that it is teaching school children and influencing what doctors and nutritionist promote. In effect, the licensors have a monopoly on what people are told regarding nutrition. Her argument for licensing is that some people without knowledge might give people bad advice. I was flabbergasted that she thought that was a good reason for licensing. The state has led a huge portion of the US to believe a bunch of misinformation about nutrition, and obesity rates and related diseases have skyrocketed as a result. This is my belief & hers. If you believe the entity granting licenses is responsible for dissemination of information that has actually harmed a large number of people, why does it make any sense to argue for them to require dietitians to be licensed? And, of course, some people will be out there giving bad advice if there is no licensing. But holy moly! That pales in comparison to what has happened with the state monopoly.

I didn’t like that Wolf tried to forge some compromise. I didn’t expect him to come down on her, but he could have just acknowledged that licensing was not in line with his beliefs and steered the conversation away from that topic.


Robb Wolf Podcast 274