Monday, April 1, 2024

#2753: Heather Del Castillo

Heather Del Castillo is a Forida-based “holistic health coach” who at least used to run a health-coaching business called Constitution Nutrition. The business sold a personalized, six-month health and dietary program involving 13 in-home consulting sessions, priced at $95 each. Cynics would perhaps say that Del Castillo’s credentials were precisely suited for the kind of business she was running: a certificate from an unaccredited, for-profit online diploma mill called the Institution for Integrative Nutrition. Florida courts were not impressed, however, and used the Florida Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act (DNPA), requiring that people offering such services needs to be qualified and licensed on order to protect against precisely the kind of potentially harmful bogus advice that business like Del Castillo’s are wont to offer, and ordered her to stop and to paya fine.


Del Castillo and her lawyers, on their hand, tried to invoke the First Amendment and argued that the DNPA’s requirement that people offering nutrition advice be qualified and licensed had the effect of giving qualified and licensed nutritionists a “monopoly”, or, to put it in the sort of terms people like Del Castillo tend to put it, that they are in a conspiracy to suppress the truth to keep people sick.


Diagnosis: So we haven’t actually managed to determine precisely what kind of advice Del Castillo was offering, but the fact that she did obtain a diploma from a diploma mill should be … disconcerting enough. So is the Dunning-Kruger dimension to failing to recognize that the topic on which you are offering advice, is one you have no knowledge about or insight into. She well deserves an entry her, and if she isn’t a loon, she is certainly someone to avoid.


  1. In my homestate of Connecticut, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. However, dietitians must be licensed by the state.

    1. That seems to be how it usually works. Now, I admit that I don't know the details of Florida law, but it doesn't seem that the case against Del Castillo was based on her using any protected title but rather on the fact that kinds of services she offered (for pay) were services you need a license to offer.