Noakes vs ADSA: The ongoing saga
The ‘Tim Noakes trial’ may have been postponed until November, but the story continues. His accuser, the Association of Dietetics in SA (ADSA) has issued a statement strongly denying accusations that it’s acting as a proxy for Big Food by reporting Noakes to the HPCSA for unprofessional conduct; Big Food in the form of Kellogg SA has done similarly, refuting that it tries to influence food policy or dietitians; and Noakes has issued a lengthy article outlining why he has chosen to go on ‘trial’. Read on!
University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes could easily have made the hearing before the Health Professions Council of SA in November go away. All he had to do was deregister as a medical doctor, and the Council would no longer have had jurisdiction over him.
Noakes, a medical doctor, and scientist rated A-1 by the National Research Foundation, is longer involved in the practice of medicine. By deregistering, he would also have made things easy for the Association of Dietetics for SA (ADSA), and its president, Johannesburg dietitian Claire Strydom, who reported him for a single tweet saying low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods (meat and veg) are good first weaning foods for babies.
ADSA and Strydom have come under a barrage of criticism and ridicule globally for the action against Noakes. They stand accused of being proxies for Big Food companies that make fortunes out of high-carb, low-fat foods, and the medical establishment that considers Noakes a danger to the public for his ‘unconventional views’.
In his distinguished scientific career spanning four decades, Noakes has put forward powerfully ‘unconventional views’ seven times, and been proved right six times. The seventh will be tested at the HPCSA hearing on a charge of ‘breaching ethical rules’. Here, in his own words, Noakes explains why he chooses to go through what has become known as the ‘Banting for babies trial’.
He intends to expose a ‘monumental error’, possibly the ‘greatest error in the history of medicine’ committed by the medical and dietetic professions, one that has already had demonstrably serious consequences for national and global health: the promotion and imposition on the public of flawed, unscientific, and ultimately deadly, dietary advice.
It’s a long read, but an important one for all those interested in their own, and anyone else’s, health, writes Marika Sboros, BizNews.com’s health editor.
The Association of Dietetics in SA (ADSA) has come under special fire for appearing to act as a proxy for Big Food by reporting one of the food industry’s biggest bêtes noires – University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes – to the Health Professions Council of SA for unprofessional conduct.
That was for a single tweet in which he said that the best weaning foods for infants are low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods, in other words, meat and veg. It’s a message that leaves a very bad taste in the mouths of many food makers, writes Marika Sboros.
Here, ADSA executive member Maryke Gallagher responds to a blog in BizNews by Cape Town food consumer activist Sonia Mountford criticising the association’s close links with the food industry.
“The recent article by Sonia Mountford in BizNews titled Dietitians dishing you up a daily menu of unhealthy advice? makes several allegations against the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), and regrettably, also brings an honourable profession into disrepute.
I would like to address some of the concerns and provide a more balanced view on the issues raised…..” Read more
Consumer activist, Capetonian Sonia Montford, has upset the Kellogg Company of South Africa with blistering posts on BizNews.com criticising its sponsorship of the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA). Not surprisingly, the company disputes all claims that it profits in any way from the sponsorship or that it aims to influence government health policy.
It isn’t the only company to feel the heat. There is a rowing and global ‘War on Big Food’ companies, and there’s no getting away from the reality that companies such as Kellogg are not charities. They are in business to make money, and as Fortune magazine has reported, the are losing money – major packaged-food companies in the US lost $4 billion in market share alone last year.
It can be disingenuous to deny profiting from the robust ‘health by association’ that sponsoring dietitians’ associations worldwide brings, precisely because dietitians are ethically obliged not to endorse or promote unhealthy products. Dietitians are only human, and it’s human nature not to bite the hand that feed you, unless you don’t mind if it slaps and stops feeding you.
Dietitians’ associations such as ADSA seem oddly oblivious to knock-on effects on credibility and integrity of the ‘guilt by association’ that sticks with sponsorship from companies making products shown to contribute to global epidemics of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Companies are having to do far more than in the past to persuade discriminating consumers of health benefits of their products. Or they could just be honest and admit when they are selling junk food, and be done with it, writes Marika Sboras.
Here is the statement in full from Gerald Mahinda, MD of Kellogg Sub-Saharan Africa……Read more
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