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Wednesday 29 April 2015

Is Tim Noakes REALLY SA’s new ‘Dr Death’? Here’s a big fat surprise!

UPDATED with new info:  
The nutrition gloves have come off again. This time it looks suspiciously like Big Food squaring up through its dietitian proxies against emeritus University of Cape Town professor Tim Noakes and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). I’ve been watching with amusement, and more than a little mystification, the flurry of recent “news” reports announcing that the Health Professions Council of SA is investigating Noakes for ‘unprofessional conduct’. After all, Association for Dietetics in SA president Claire Julsing Strydom laid the charge against Noakes more than a year ago, in February 2014. The hearing will take place early June. Clearly, no one can accuse the HPCSA of doing anything in a hurry.
Precisely what ‘unprofessional conduct’ Noakes, a medical doctor, nutrition and sports scientist (rated A-1 by the National Research Foundation), is alleged to have committed is a revelation. Spoiler alert: it’s about as mundane as you get, although it puts Noakes in the same category of offenders as apartheid cardiologist ‘Dr Death’ – Wouter Basson.  Noakes has been demonised since he did the unthinkable (to many doctors and scientists) in 2009: admitted he’d got things wrong, apologised profusely and headed off in a completely new direction. Read on to find out what Noakes has done now.
(Claire Julsing Strydom, president of the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) initially declined to comment for this blog, but replied through Twitter, directing me to the association’s Guidelines on Infant Nutrition. These guidelines appear to suggest that ADSA and its members no longer routinely advise cereal as a first food for infant weaning. It also appears that they advise meat and veg, as well as dairy foods. I have asked her to confirm that to me in writing. Watch this space.) – MS
By Marika Sboros

So, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is investigating Prof Tim Noakes for “unprofessional conduct”. You could be forgiven for thinking Noakes has gone nuts and done something really, really bad.

After all, the HPCSA has so far reserved that charge for doctors who’ve done something really, really bad to patients – such as sexually abused them, exploited them financially, caused physical or mental harm, disfigured or maimed them for life, or in a worst case scenario, killed them.

Patricia Sidley, a Johannesburg health writer with an MA in bioethics and health law from Wits University, is no fan of Noakes. However, she finds it strange that the HPCSA has let the charge laid by Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) president Claire Julsing Strydom in February 2014, get this far – given that its most recent, high-profile case of unprofessional conduct is against “Dr Death”, Wouter Basson.

Basson is the apartheid-era cardiologist who ran the government’s chemical and biological warfare programme. His “duties” included poisoning people with lethal cocktails of muscle relaxant and other drugs, on the whim of the ruling Nationalist Party. (The HPCSA is yet to decide on a suitable sanction against Basson. He got off all murder and attempted murder charges, many of which took place in Namibia, formerly South West Africa, thus outside the HPCSA’s jurisdiction.)

The HPCSA in effect puts Noakes and Basson in the same category of offenders. Sidley describes that as “idiotic” – in slightly more profane words.

But back to Noakes’ alleged “unprofessional conduct”. It can seem somewhat anticlimactic to say he tweeted his opinion in response to a mother’s question on best foods to wean her infant.

Did Noakes advise the mother to give the infant poison – drip-feed unrefined sugar (that spikes the hormone insulin), or undiluted fresh fruit juice (that’s high in liver-straining fructose) straight into the baby’s veins? No. He advised low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods that include meat, full-fat dairy and veg – and not to give cereal.



Galina L. said...

In Sweden similar situation ended up with a victory for LC diet recommendations at 2013.
We will see. I guess it is hard to prove that grains are essential for babies.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Galina - many thanks for your comment.

Yes in Sweden, "Dr. Anna Dahlqvist was forced to defend her practice of treating diabetic patients with a low-carb diet after a pair of dietitians reported her to the authorities. They accused her of harming her patients with a high-fat diet. The case generated a lot of publicity and the arguments on both sides were widely reported in the media.

On January 16, 2008, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare declared publicly that a low-carb diet is “in accordance with science and well-tried experience for reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.” Bottom line: she was exonerated and one-fourth of the population of Sweden now follows a low-carb diet. (They call it LCHF, for low-carb, high-fat.)"

Words Taken From Here

All the best Jan