Tim Noakes happily ready to face inquiry over ‘Banting’ tweet
The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has confirmed that Prof Tim Noakes, uber advocate of low carb-high fat eating, will be facing a two-day hearing relating to “unprofessional conduct”.
HPCSA communications manager Priscilla Sekhonyana told Health24 that the hearing will be taking place on 4 and 5 June 2015.
Prof Tim Noakes, whose book, The Real Meal Revolution, is rooted in the concept of “Banting” – low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) – told Health24 that the complaint was lodged by the Association for Dietetics in South Africa’s (ADSA) president, Claire Julsing-Strydom.
“I presume it is a personal complaint and not from ADSA directly.”
He said that he advised a mother on Twitter that she should wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as real foods. “By implication I was saying that the child should not be weaned onto the traditional high sugar, high carbohydrate processed cereals.”
Noakes said this has been the norm in the US in 1936 since the introduction of these foods by the Gerber Baby Food’s Company, which is now a subsidiary of the Nestlé Group.
“Ironically these were the first ‘industrial’ (ie highly processed foods) and they led in time to the highly processed foods that we now eat (and consider to be healthy), in part because as infants our taste was conditioned by our early exposure to these non-foods.
“The aim of The Real Meal Revolution is to encourage the public to understand that they will be healthier eating real foods not fake industrial processed foods. And this needs to begin from birth,” said Noakes.
Pleased to have the hearing
“If the representatives of HPCSA are prepared to listen to the science, they will realise that there is something very seriously wrong with the teaching of nutrition in South Africa, as it is in the rest of the world. The choice between health and ill-health begins with our infants as soon as they are weaned. Attempts to keep this information from the general public cannot succeed forever.”
Noakes told Independent Online that he is “ecstatic” about the hearing. “Absolutely, I know I’m going to win. It is going to show up some people’s ignorance and it could not have come at a better time.
Noakes is poised to release his second edition of the Real Meal Revolution, a guide to the Banting diet. In it, he has devoted a year of research and writing towards how children should be fed.
“I know the biology of a child and I know there is nothing they can say that will challenge my research.”
He added that the worst they could do was strip him of his ability to practice medicine. “And I haven’t practiced for years. The stakes are higher for them. If I prove them wrong, I’m not just proving a few dietitians wrong, I’m proving that the old way of thinking about diets was incorrect.”
The first edition of his book, the Real Meal Revolution, has already sold over 150 000 copies and remains one of the country’s bestsellers.
ADSA has been asked for comment on the matter by several media but Julsing-Strydom said: “ADSA has been advised by the HPCSA to not provide any comments on this matter as the inquiry is sub judice.”
However, in this instance sub judice doesn’t apply, as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the legal process in SA knows. It only applies in a court of law. The HPCSA is a statutory body, not a court of law.
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