DID SA, UK SCIENTISTS DO SOMETHING DODGY TO NAIL NOAKES?

By Marika Sboros

Did South African scientists really do something scientifically dodgy just to silence Prof Tim Noakes? The case against them could be building.

The US peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE is now investigating the Naudé Review, which it published in July 2014. The Health Professions Council of SA used it as key evidence to charge Noakes with unprofessional conduct.

The HPCSA found Noakes not guilty on all points of the charge on April 21, 2017. Thereafter, Noakes’s instructing attorney, Adam Pike, of Pike Law, wrote to PLoS ONE. Senior editor Dr Renee Hoch replied to say that the journal is “conducting a full reassessment” of the review.

All the universities involved have refused to investigate or “reassess” their academics’ role in it. UCT Faculty of Health Sciences deputy dean of research Prof Karen Sliwa said that only one out of the six researchers is from UCT. Four are from Stellenbosch University, one from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Thus, it would “seem preferable” for Noakes to complain to Stellenbosch.

Noakes says that’s like the Anglican Church saying it won’t investigate paedophilia claims against its priests because the Catholic Church has more claims against its priests.



Why ADSA ‘bullies’ desperately seeking to nail Noakes?

By Marika Sboros

There is so much that is so bizarre about dietitians trying to bully world-famous scientist Prof Tim Noakes into silence that I hardly know where to start. Even more bizarre, say legal analysts, is the Health Professions Council of SA helping dietitians to do that.

The HPCSA tells me it is pursuing its appeal against the comprehensive not guilty verdict for him on April 21, 2017, by its own Professional Conduct Committee. It has yet to come up with grounds except to say that its legal team has identified “significant errors and misdirections in the application of the law and the evaluation of the evidence” by the majority of the committee. Committee chair Pretoria advocate Joan Adams might vigorously dispute that view.

I am co-authoring a book with Noakes on the HPCSA’s trial of Noakes.  Penguin Random House will publish it in November 2017.  In it, we look at the Association for Dietetics in SA’s ongoing war with him. We also look at why ADSA’s former president Claire Julsing Strydom and current president, Cape Town dietitian and Woolworths consultant Maryke Gallagher are still so desperate to nail him.

And we look at a question that has puzzled me throughout. How did Strydom and Gallagher get the HPCSA to do their bidding quite so easily in this strange scientific saga? I am close to the answer.



Why are so many doctors so stupid about nutrition?

By Marika Sboros

Why are doctors so stupid – particularly about nutrition? It’s a question one of my favourite scientist doctors, US physician Michael Eades, has asked.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. More so recently after a ‘conversation’ with two paediatrician trolls on Twitter. (It was more like a testy, trivial exchange.)

These doctors live far apart – one in South Africa, the other in Canada. They could be twins when it comes to god complexes and willful ignorance about nutrition.

Of course, not all doctors are stupid when it comes to nutrition. And Eades says that stupid is not quite the right word to describe the dear medical souls who don’t know about nutrition. Ignorance is the word.



Relax: Your meat-eating ‘can beat climate change’!

The next time anyone says that your low-carb meat eating will make climate change worse, quote US physician Michael Eades. Eades is a myth buster. He says that you don’t make a Faustian pact by adopting a low-carb diet.

Here, Eades looks at the science behind the real effect of the removal of animals to help restore the grasslands: It brought about desertification even quicker.

He also shows the cognitive dissonance that overcame many in the wake of the obvious failure in that outcome:

They could not believe that herds of herbivores would actually produce the effect they were removing these same herds to achieve. It was the same kind of thinking that said we should all cut fat and increase carbs to reduce obesity or cure diabetes, Eades says. And it had about the same effect on climate change. 

He explains the seeming paradox of “more animals equals better grasslands equals better climate”. It’s controversial and not everyone is on board. It’s contained in a book called The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth. – Marika Sboros



Who gets type 2 diabetes? Addicts and athletes!

By Marika Sboros

Here’s an intriguing new take on type 2 diabetes. A US bariatric surgeon says that only two groups of people develop it. They are drug addicts and performance athletes.

That’s fighting talk about a life-threatening, lifestyle disease that is sweeping the planet. After all, many type 2 diabetics don’t look like your average junkie or performance athlete.

Dr Robert Cywes is up for the avalanche of criticism that will surely descend on him. Still, his theory makes sense once you know what drug he means.  It’s the drug of choice for both addicts and athletes. It is sugar and other carbohydrate foods.

Cywes is an author of Diabetes Unpacked. It’s another gem from Columbus Publishing and the Noakes Foundation. It is a compelling collection of writings by some of the world’s finest minds in diabetes and diet research. The subtitle says it all: Just Science and Sense, No Sugar Coating.



HAVE A HEART! WILL AHA OR COCONUT OIL KILL YOU?

By Marika Sboros

Heart associations worldwide tend instantly to raise researchers’ blood pressure into the stratosphere. The latest “Presidential Advisory” from the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception.

The BBC reported it as branding coconut oil “as bad for you as beef lard and butter”. USA Today reported it as that coconut oil was “even worse than beef lard and butter”.

The advisory doesn’t actually say that. It does say that replacing saturated fat with “healthier fat” lowers cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. By healthier fat, the authors mostly mean polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in refined, processed vegetable oils. They also say that coconut oil’s high saturated-fat content makes it a potential killer.

Should you believe the AHA just because it says so? You’re better off not believing the AHA precisely because it says so, say critics. They say that coconut oil won’t kill you but listening to the AHA might.



OBESITY? FORGET FAT – IT’S THE CARBS, STUPID!

 What has obesity to do with hearts? Lots. Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson spoke recently at a meeting mostly of cardiologists and endocrinologists.

He discussed, among others, the current status of diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. And the possible relationship between fear of dietary fats and the obesity epidemic.

After the meeting, a senior colleague, an old friend and mentor, who Sigurdsson highly respects, lambasted him privately. The colleague said that the mortality from heart disease had dropped dramatically for the last 30 to 40 years. He said that was mostly from dietary changes to lower blood cholesterol. 

He was angry with Sigurdsson for asking: has the emphasis on low-fat food products ultimately steered us into an epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes? Here, Sigurdsson explains how and why low-fat diets contribute to obesity and a whole lot more. – MARIKA SBOROS



WANT TO LIVE FOREVER? POP OVER TO ICELAND!

By Marika Sboros

The title is one of Queen’s greatest hits: Who wants to live forever. It’s the annual conference of the Icelandic Health Symposium (IHS) in Reykjavik in September 2017. It brings together global experts in health and longevity.

They will reveal what science says about lifestyle for health and lifespan. They will gives talks on how your genes control your fate. And they will show how your species can achieve longevity in a way that harmonises with nature.

That’s the path to a long, sustainable future for both humans and the planet. And what better place to learn about that than Iceland? It is, says Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson, home to some of the planet’s strongest,  healthiest humans.



SALT FIX: RIGHT WHITE STUFF FOR HEARTS, MINDS, SEX LIVES

By Marika Sboros

The next time your doctor or dietitian tells you to eat less salt, find another one – fast. Better still, buy a brave new book, The Salt Fix. In it, US cardiovascular research scientist Dr James DiNicolantonio shows how health experts have demonised the wrong white stuff for decades.

They have dished up dangerous lies about salt for your heart’s sake, or any other organ you care to mention. They allowed salt to “take the fall” for another, far more dangerous, addictive white crystal, he says.

That crystal is so sweet, you probably bought into the belief that it is benign. When consumed in excess, it can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. It is sugar, DiNicolantonio says.

His book’s subtitle speaks volumes about the right white stuff: Why The Experts Got It All Wrong, And Why Eating More Could Save Your Life. He shows why salt reduces your risk of premature death from heart attack or stroke. And why it protects your kidneys and fertility levels. It is as good for your brain as for your body. Salt improves your thinking and sexual performance. It boosts your energy levels and mental focus and ensures restful sleep. It also stops you getting fat.



Really! Statins side effects all in the mind?

By Marika Sboros

Are cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins really just victims of vested interests’ propaganda? Or is there something about these blockbuster drugs that gives grown medical men and women vision problems?  Can they really not see the scientific wood for the trees?

In the Lancet, UK researchers say that most people imagine the negative side-effects of statins. Co-author and corresponding author is Professor Peter Sever, of Imperial College, London. In a media report, Sever says that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands are dying from a deficiency of statins. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is. His co-author is Professor Sir Rory Collins. Collins has often voiced similar sentiments.

Scottish GP Dr Malcom Kendrick hasn’t. Kendrick has a special interest in cardiovascular disease. In his latest blog post, he takes what he calls a ‘pretty forensic look’ at the Lancet study. From a scientific perspective, it is anything but pretty. 



RISE OF ‘MICROPOWERS’ – HOW TO EAT YOURSELF WELL

From Louise Stephen’s Eating Ourselves Sick blog

By Marika Sboros

Can you eat yourself sick? Of course, you can. But knowing that is liberating because if you can eat yourself sick, you can also eat yourself well. “Micropowers” show you the way. Ask Australian former corporate high-flyer Louise Stephen.

Stephen is author of Eating Ourselves Sick. The subtitle says it all: How modern food is destroying our health. She was just 33 when a life-threatening auto-immune disease abruptly ended her career. A kidney transplant allowed her to stick around to write this important book.

In it, Stephen documents the rise of “micropowers”. These are are “digital Davids” that challenge once-dominant mega-players in all fields of human endeavour. They also counteract the insidious influence of food and drug industries on dietary advice.



NOAKES ‘ENERGISED, WRATHFUL’ AS HPCSA GOES AFTER HIM AGAIN

By Marika Sboros

So, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has appealed the not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes. His lawyers are furious and up for the fight ahead. Noakes is “strangely elated”. He says that it will “allow the exposure of much about which the South African public would otherwise have remained ignorant”.

Of course, an appeal was always on the cards. The HPCSA’s legal team has the right of appeal. However, even die-hard opponents of Noakes see it as a vindictive, stupid move. It may come back to haunt the HPCSA and the lone, “horrified” dietitian who started the case against Noakes. And her organisation, the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA). And the many other dietitians, doctors and assorted academics involved in his prosecution.

His lawyers call the case against him a persecution. The appeal lends more credence to that. It also feeds speculation of vested interests behind the HPCSA’s failed bid to silence him on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). The case has lasted more than three years and cost many millions of rands. If the HPCSA pursues its path, as looks likely, it could go on for years and cost millions more. Noakes’  lawyers see it as “more waste of everyone’s time and money”.

All for a single tweet in which Noakes said that good first foods for infants are LCHF.



ADSA FACES GROWING BACKLASH FOR ‘RECORD 17 LIES’ ABOUT NOAKES

By Marika Sboros

The Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) is facing a global backlash for its role in the trial of scientist Prof Tim Noakes. The backlash has grown faster in the wake of an ambiguous statement that ADSA released after the comprehensive verdict of not guilty for Noakes on a charge of unprofessional conduct for his views on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods.

American Ben Fury is one of many critics who has reacted with undisguised anger at ADSA’s statement. Along the way, he has identified “17 lies” that ADSA has told about its case against Noakes.

With so many lies in a single statement, Fury says that ADSA has set “a new record for being corporate stooges”.  He doesn’t stop there in a damning attack on ADSA’s executive, under current president Maryke Gallagher. He calls them “quislings”. Quisling is the word for a traitor, especially one who “collaborates with an enemy occupying force for personal gain”. It comes from the name of Norway’s pro-Nazi leader Vidkun Quisling during World War 2.



LIFE FOR ADSA AFTER NOAKES NOT GUILTY VERDICT?

ADSA president Maryke Gallagher and ‘crisis manager’ Neeran Naidoo

By Marika Sboros

If defeat is best viewed as a life lesson, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) doesn’t seem to want to learn anything from it. ADSA lost its bid to silence Prof Tim Noakes on the science for low-carb, high-fat (LCHF). However, it is sticking to its dietary guns and South Africa’s industry-led nutrition guidelines.

ADSA President Maryke Gallagher has made it clear that ADSA will continue to dish out the low-fat, high-carb dietary advice it has always dispensed, and that the guidelines recommend.

That’s despite the Health Professions Council of SA’s  (HPCSA) comprehensive vindication of Noakes and, ultimately, the science for LCHF. The HPCSA found Noakes not guilty on 10 points of the charge of unprofessional conduct against him.

ADSA’s reputation and credibility are in free fall after its former president, Claire Julsing Strydom, set off the HPCSA hearing against Noakes. She complained about a single tweet Noakes made in February 2014. In it, he said that food first foods for infants are LCHF. by complaining about his tweet.

Critics say that ADSA’s involvement in the HPCSA’s protracted prosecution of Noakes simply his scientific views has drained it of life and turned it into a dietary dinosaur. It’s probably no surprise that ADSA has employed the services of a crisis manager, Hewers Communications CEO Neeran Naidoo, for some judicious reputation rehabilitation. ADSA released a public statement straight after the HPCSA’s not guilty verdict on April 21, 2017. Naidoo has asked Foodmed.net to run the statement in full. We have agreed. (Scroll down to see it below.)



NOAKES VERDICT: HE WON THE BATTLE BUT THE WAR GOES ON

By Marika Sboros

The ashes have settled on the unequivocal not guilty verdict for Prof Tim Noakes but what’s next? Will there be a scientific phoenix rising? Any prospect of even a breath of fresh evidential air flowing through stale halls of “conventional” dietary advice?

Not if the dietitians involved in the case against him have anything to do with it.

Immediately after the verdict on April 21, 2017, Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) president Maryke Gallagher was on TV. She made it clear that ADSA would not change the “conventional” (low-fat, high-carb) dietary advice it dishes out. ADSA also issued a general, highly ambiguous statement to that effect the same day.

Two days later, the Nutrition Society of SA was equally emphatic. The verdict has “absolutely no bearing or impact on the current or future status of nutrition or the dietary guidelines in South Africa”, it said.

Thus, the dietitians and their backers have sent a clear message to Noakes. He has won the battle but the war against him and low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) science goes on. However, Noakes has made it clear he is more than ready for scientific battle. In the second in a series of reviews of the verdict, here are some views on the implications of his resounding vindication.



NOAKES NOT GUILTY – ‘OF SOMETHING OR OTHER’

Noakes

Prof Tim Noakes

Foodmed.net is running a series on what the verdict in the case against Prof Tim Noakes really means. First off is Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick. He says that Noakes won his case, but any scientist looking on gets a clear message from the establishment: ‘If you say things we don’t like, we will attack you and drag you through court and make your life a living hell for three years.’

That’s how the medical establishment silences people. It’s how it silenced Dr John Yudkin nearly 40 years ago, Kendrick says. Yudkin was founder of the nutrition department at the University of London’s Queen Elizabeth College – and way ahead of his time. He said that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. He said that sugar was a far greater health demon. Yudkin paid heavily for his evidence-based views. So has Noakes. And Dr Gary Fettke in Australia. 

Kendrick is author of two brilliant books. One is Great Cholesterol Con. The other is  Doctoring Data – How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense. He believes that there really is a worldwide conspiracy to silence anyone who dares criticise sugar/carbs in the diet.In a blog titled, Tim Noakes: Not Guilty Of Something Or Other. He paints an ugly picture of what happens when we allow medical might to become right.  – Marika Sboros



NOAKES NOT GUILTY! NO HARM PROVEN, NO LAWS BROKEN

By Marika Sboros
Prof Tim Noakes is not guilty of unprofessional conduct. When Pretoria advocate Joan Adams announced the verdict yesterday, the hearing erupted into applause and cheers.

Adams said that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) had not proved any of its case on a balance of probabilities. It had not proven any harm from his tweet or that he had breached any norms or standards of the medical profession.

Adams was Chair of the HPCSA’s Professional Conduct Committee, effectively the “judge” in this case. She said that her five-member committee had to reach a majority, not unanimous, decision. The Committee had ruled four to one in Noakes’ favour.

The ruling could not have gone more in Noakes’ favour if he had scripted it himself.



NOAKES TRIAL: RECKONING DAY FOR FEROCIOUS ‘FABLE’?

By Marika Sboros

There’s something absolutely “fabulous” about the ferocity with which the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has prosecuted Prof Tim Noakes. Not fabulous in the informal sense of “very good” – as in a “fabulous holiday” or “fabulous riches”.

I mean the Oxford dictionary’s formal definition of fabulous as “extraordinary”, especially “extraordinarily large”. Most of all,  fabulous as having no basis in reality”. In other words, something mythical, the stuff of fables.

For more than three years now, the HPCSA has waged a titanic battle against Noakes over the tiniest of provocations. It began with a single tweet he made in February 2014. In it, he said that good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF (low-carbohydrate, high-fat).

Thus, April 21, 2017, has become the day of reckoning for a ferocious scientific fable.



NOAKES TRIAL: WHO REALLY DISHES UP DANGEROUS ADVICE?

By Marika Sboros

Prof Tim Noakes gave scientifically correct information in his tweet, his lawyers have argued. His statement to wean babies onto LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) is correct. Thus it is not even “unconventional”. It is also not dangerous or life-threatening, as the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) claims.

Self-evidently, the HPCSA cannot prosecute Noakes successfully for a scientifically correct statement.

HPCSA lawyers are sticking to their prosecutorial guns. They claim that Noakes gave “unsolicited clinical advice” on a social network. They also claim that he gave the advice to everyone who saw it on Twitter. The advice is unconventional, dangerous and life-threatening, they say. And so is Noakes.

Noakes’ lawyers say that the HPCSA failed to prove all fundamentals of its case against Noakes. Instead of acknowledging failure, the HPCSA simply shifted the goal posts of the charge. It demonstrated a “win-at-all-costs” agenda against Noakes from the outset.

So, what’s really going down here?  In the final of a 2-Part review, Foodmed.net looks at the case so far. We also look at what the verdict will say about who really is dangerous.



NOAKES TRIAL: DID DISGRUNTLED DIETITIANS SET HIM UP?

By Marika Sboros

 

Prof Tim Noakes had no patient on Twitter and his tweet caused no harm to anyone. So, what did two days of heated legal argument prove in the case against him?

It clearly is an “unprecedented prosecution” of a distinguished scientist, as Noakes’ legal team describes it. Even counsel for the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) acknowledged Noakes as “an extraordinary South African”.

But has the HPCSA really done the unthinkable? Has it prosecuted – and persecuted – one of its most eminent health professionals on the whim of another? Certainly, few had heard of dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom before this case.

But is Strydom a malcontent, a disgruntled dietitian who went after Noakes because he disagreed with her? If not, why did the HPCSA take up her complaint that many consider frivolous? And why did it argue forcefully not just in Strydom’s corner but for all dietitians?

Why does the HPCSA believe that Noakes is wrong and Strydom is right? And that she has the right to freedom of expression but he does not?

Just as importantly, why has the HPCSA made a simple hearing over a single tweet into a full-blown trial? After all, its hearings are not supposed to be adversarial. Here’s Part 1 of a review of the case so far and what to expect next. In Part 2, we look at the verdict on who really dishes up dangerous advice.