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Low carb professor found not guilty of misconduct

By Editor
26th April 2017

A sport scientist doctor and advocate of a low-carb high fat diet (LCHF) has been found not guilty of professional misconduct for the advice he gave to a breastfeeding mother about food.

Professor Tim Noakes, who promotes the Banting Diet, advised the woman to wean her baby onto the LCHF diet via the public social media forum Twitter.

Following the advice the Association of Dietetics (ADSA) in South Africa filed a complaint with the Health Professions Council.

The ADSA’s argument stated the diet was not in line with accepted international and local guidelines for complementary feeding for children. But Professor Noakes argued his advice was anything but unconventional, quoting research from as far back as the 1800s, before the boom in obesity rates.

Four of five of the committee members ruled that there was no evidence to suggest that Professor Noakes had acted in capacity as a doctor, and that consequently it was not a reasonable inference that he was undermining breast milk.

Speaking to the South African channel, News 24, Professor Noakes said: “I’m obviously very elated. I’m elated for my team. they worked so hard for three years and this is the moment we’ve been working for. It’s really exciting and the fact is Advocate Adams heard 10 rulings and she gave 10 different decisions and they were all in our favour, so she found us guilty of absolutely nothing. It was 100 per cent victory.”

Professor Noakes, who wrote The Real Meal Revolution book that promotes a LCHF diet, pointed out there is not any research to suggest that LCHF diets are harmful, and he had also never told the mother not to breastfeed.

He was listed as the 38th most followed scientist on Twitter at the time, and the 30th most important tweeter on obesity, the committee heard.

Professor Willie Pienaar, a psychiatrist and part-time bioethicist, during the hearing said that doctors cannot give the right advice without consultation.

Professor Este Vorster, a former president of the Nutrition Society of SA, said Noakes could not give convincing evidence that his was the optimal diet for breastfeeding mothers and Twitter should not be used for medical advice.

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