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Update on Nutrition-Related Free Speech Issues in New Jersey

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On Jan. 13, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 1582, the “Dietetics and Nutrition Licensing Act,” ushering in a regulatory regime that could imperil the right of CrossFit trainers to share essential information on nutrition and health. CrossFit affiliates should be aware of this potential threat to their free speech on nutrition, as well as their rights under the law.

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Sean Palmer
May 18th, 2020 at 8:16 pm
Commented on: Update on Nutrition-Related Free Speech Issues in New Jersey

So you're against people getting critical health information from people with ZERO education on the matter? I hope not, sounds wildly dangerous. This protest of yours could be very harmful. You can't claim crossfit doesn't have a motive. You make money from people seeking your advice! Sounds like your upset because this take money out of your affiliates pockets. Unless they're RD's, or your making a macro eating plan using an online tool that anyone can use then please let people with actual training and experience help Show me where your $1000 Crossfit Certification is better than the education received at Universities. Those people are then put through lengthy clinical internships and tested rigorously to become certified. Now, I'm a CPT and "Certified Nutritionist" through NASM, and I am not as arrogant as to claim my information is equal to that of a licensed RD.


"Depending on the state, this means 900-1200 hours of a clinical internship, a BS in dietetics or nutrition at minimum, and passage of an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics". Yeah... sounds like that would take some time and a bit of effort. We should start weekend emergency surgery certification clinics, then start whining that medical boards are meanies for making sure we aren't doing anything insane and harmful.


Here are some truth about that false and misleading comment that AND is affiliated with "Big Sugar" and "Big Soda". Neva Cochran was running for AND president in 2017. She used to work for the American Beverage Association and Calorie Control Council, both lobby groups for the soda and artificial sweetener corps. All awful stuff right? Well, this information was brought to the AND members and she lost the election to Mary Russell. AND isn't perfect, I don't like they suppress dissonance, usually too quick to act. However, I'd probably still take a dieticians advice over a crossfit coach's. There's also the Dieticians for Professional Integrity within AND, they've been able to keep the ship righted from what I can tell. Change my mind with some hard evidence (not opinion articles). I'd love that. Love the truth.

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Sean Palmer
May 18th, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Basically your 'Free Speech' isn't being limited. You're a business, you don't get free speech. Sorry boutcha. Your business just can't give medical advice. Lying and/or spreading misinformation isn't helping anyone. There needs to be a level of security so people are paying hard earned money to advice that could hurt them. Invalidating proper education is a major cause in the proper discourse held nowadays.


Oh, I just took a weekend financial advisement/investment course. It was online and only $299 with an open book test at the end. I've never studied finance before, and I'm shit at my own finances, so the ease of the test helped a bunch. Who wants some of my free-speech financial advice? I'm ready to take control of your lifesavings and invested into whatever I learned in 12 hours of course work! Get at me! Your choice of free "FINANCES FOR BEASTS!" or "NEVER BROKE" t-shirt when you sign up!

(edited)
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Brett Ewer
May 19th, 2020 at 6:49 pm

Sean, your replies are so full of non sequiturs that I just have to approach this line by line:


"So you're against people getting critical health information from people with ZERO education on the matter? I hope not, sounds wildly dangerous. This protest of yours could be very harmful. "


I assume you're saying that CrossFit is FOR people getting critical health information from people with little education in regard to it. That's not true - what trainers say is commensurate with their training, and further, education does not need to be limited to traditional institutional validators. There's no large-scale, critical study to suggest that people talking about nutrition without getting a dietetics degree is a large enough threat to merit government intervention. As for "protest," I have no clue what you're talking about.


" You can't claim crossfit doesn't have a motive. You make money from people seeking your advice! Sounds like your upset because this take money out of your affiliates pockets. Unless they're RD's, or your making a macro eating plan using an online tool that anyone can use then please let people with actual training and experience help Show me where your $1000 Crossfit Certification is better than the education received at Universities. Those people are then put through lengthy clinical internships and tested rigorously to become certified. Now, I'm a CPT and "Certified Nutritionist" through NASM, and I am not as arrogant as to claim my information is equal to that of a licensed RD. "


Everyone has motivation. Everyone has a reason for acting or conducting oneself in a certain way. So why wouldn't CrossFit HQ advocate for its affiliates? As for whether a CrossFit certification or credential is superior to an education received at a tertiary institution, I'd ask you to look at the results: are the people who follow the CrossFit method generally healthier and more fit than those who are following guidelines produced by registered dietitians, the AND, and USDA? The answer is yes, they are. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that chronic disease acquisition rates have exploded under their "watch" during the latter half of the 20th century. As for "lengthy clinical internships and tested rigorously to become certified...I am not as arrogant as to claim my information is equal to that of a licensed RD," I'd ask you: do you think that CrossFit trainers are claiming to fulfill all of the functions of an RD? Do you think we're trying to put in feeding tubes?


"Yeah... sounds like that would take some time and a bit of effort. We should start weekend emergency surgery certification clinics, then start whining that medical boards are meanies for making sure we aren't doing anything insane and harmful."


Do you think that every time someone talks about food and nutrition that it's a medical exercise? No! That's silly. Food and nutrition are a part of everyone's life, and everyone should be able to talk about it. Again, trainers aren't putting in feeding tubes. Their training is commensurate with the knowledge they impart in their speech.


"Here are some truth about that false and misleading comment that AND is affiliated with "Big Sugar" and "Big Soda". Neva Cochran was running for AND president in 2017. She used to work for the American Beverage Association and Calorie Control Council, both lobby groups for the soda and artificial sweetener corps. All awful stuff right? Well, this information was brought to the AND members and she lost the election to Mary Russell. AND isn't perfect, I don't like they suppress dissonance, usually too quick to act. However, I'd probably still take a dieticians advice over a crossfit coach's. There's also the Dieticians for Professional Integrity within AND, they've been able to keep the ship righted from what I can tell. Change my mind with some hard evidence (not opinion articles). I'd love that. Love the truth. "


It's indeed awful that Neva Cochran worked for shill groups, and I'm glad that AND members had good enough sense to reject such an obviously corrupt candidate! I'm glad you mentioned "Dietitians for Professional Integrity." I personally support their mission to clean up the AND. If you'd like hard truths about who the AND may answer to, look no further than Coca-Cola (who am I kidding, look further to the rest of the food and beverage industry and its shill groups).


"Basically your 'Free Speech' isn't being limited. You're a business, you don't get free speech. Sorry boutcha."


Yes, affiliates' free speech is being limited, and businesses do have a right to free speech under current law (with some restrictions). Whether you think those restrictions go far enough is for you to figure out.


"Your business just can't give medical advice."


Again, do you believe that all speech about food and nutrition should be considered medical advice? Who gets to make that call? The same industry that would benefit from restriction?


"Lying and/or spreading misinformation isn't helping anyone. There needs to be a level of security so people are paying hard earned money to advice that could hurt them."


I can agree with you that people shouldn't lie or spread misinformation. But who gets to be the arbiter of that? Should the government determine truth and enforce it through a regulatory monopoly? Would you be willing to sign away your right to speak about something so fundamental as nutrition? What about other topics? Isn't this the whole point of living in a liberal democracy, that people can freely discuss topics without fear of reprisal?


"Invalidating proper education is a major cause in the proper discourse held nowadays."


I'm assuming that you're saying "Invalidating proper education is a major cause of the deterioration of proper discourse held nowadays." Setting aside "proper discourse" and what that even means, I think you should consider what "proper education" is. Is proper education just going through the motions, being in the right buildings, paying tuition, saying things that meet with approval? Or is proper education engaging with materials and the claims in them, and working on them intellectually, critiquing them, examining evidence, weighing different kinds of evidence in different ways, and generally exercising one's ability to get at the truth of a matter? I leave this to you to determine; I'm choosing the latter.


"Oh, I just took a weekend financial advisement/investment course. It was online and only $299 with an open book test at the end. I've never studied finance before, and I'm shit at my own finances, so the ease of the test helped a bunch. Who wants some of my free-speech financial advice? I'm ready to take control of your lifesavings and invested into whatever I learned in 12 hours of course work! Get at me! Your choice of free "FINANCES FOR BEASTS!" or "NEVER BROKE" t-shirt when you sign up! "


This is obviously a poor analogy, but I guess I have no choice but to dive in. With some cursory research, you'll find that most states (as far as I can tell) do not require an individual to have a license to dispense financial advice. The individual doesn't even need a certification from a private entity (i.e. no force of law behind it)! Many people who give financial advice as a profession may choose to become a Certified Financial Planner, having received their credential from a private entity (again, not government), the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Alternatively, one can take assessments by FINRA (Series 7, Series 6 etc.), a private entity (again, not government!) that acts as a self-regulatory organization. But Sean, I'm curious: have you ever given people advice about finances? Have you ever told anyone to save money at a bank rather than cash so that they could get a sliver of interest? Have you ever given financial advice? Probably.


The central question here, Sean, is whether the government should use its authority to police speech about topics which are fundamental to the human experience, and in doing so grant one interest group (interest group, not even one PROFESSION), the right to police that speech when it's incentivized by regulatory structure and market pressure to do so. I don't think any one interest group should have that much say over the government, and I don't think the government should have that much say over an individual discussing so basic as food and nutrition.

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Scott Turner
January 19th, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Commented on: Update on Nutrition-Related Free Speech Issues in New Jersey

The link in this story brought me to a bill in regards to "increase gross income tax pension and retirement income exclusion of certain taxpayers".

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Brett Ewer
January 19th, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Hi Scott,


The NJ legislature website had updated the page so that it would refer users to A. 1582 for the 2020-2021 session rather than to A. 1582 for the 2018-2019 session. The link has been fixed. Thank you, and happy to answer any other questions you may have.


Brett

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Olivia Leonard
January 15th, 2020 at 5:34 pm
Commented on: Update on Nutrition-Related Free Speech Issues in New Jersey

Danny, in addition to Brett’s helpful comment, it’s worth observing that the nutrition “standards” practiced and preached by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are in direct conflict with CrossFit’s nutritional prescription (“eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar”). 


In fact, the bills and their licensing requirements are written and lobbied for by corporate and special interests with the specific intention of preventing CrossFit trainers from participating in the marketplace. 


The AND, sponsored this year and historically by PepsiCo and big cereal companies, to name just a few, promotes — on behalf of their sponsors — the type of disordered eating that makes people sick. The work of the CrossFit trainer and affiliate is to undo the work of the dietician lobby, not meet its standards. 

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Danny Williams
January 15th, 2020 at 5:00 am
Commented on: Update on Nutrition-Related Free Speech Issues in New Jersey

With this being the direction that many states are moving, would it not behoove CF HQ to look at ways to help Coaches have certification that meets the standards or that will allow Coaches to discuss Nutrition and Diet at a minimum standard or create better tools that coaches can share with their athletes that will easily stand above standard?

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Brett Ewer
January 15th, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Hi Danny,


Unfortunately, the states which do license nutrition guidance providers most often require that they simply become dietitians. Depending on the state, this means 900-1200 hours of a clinical internship, a BS in dietetics or nutrition at minimum, and passage of an examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The whole process is tantamount to not only becoming a dietitian, but becoming one who, at the very least, must be affiliated with the AND. Given the magnitude of the chronic disease crisis, it's policy malpractice to limit who can provide basic, commonsense nutrition advice that can save lives. I hope that answers your question!


Brett

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