Tag: dietary guidelines

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.



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



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 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. 



AHPRA: RATS ABANDON SINKING SHIP AFTER FETTKE BAN?

By Marika Sboros

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) appears to be collapsing. It is facing mass resignations from its medical boards nationally. There were more than 90% in Tasmania alone. The only states that don’t show significant resignations are New South Wales and Queensland. Both declined to work under AHPRA’s jurisdiction.

Resignations follow in the wake of the lifetime ban it slapped on orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke in 2016. AHPRA does not want Fettke telling patients with diabetes not to eat sugar. Resignations also follow the ongoing Senate Inquiry into AHPRA’s secretive medical complaints process. The inquiry heard shocking details of endemic bullying and harassment of doctors in Australia’s medical profession. However, it just may be Fettke’s ban that has made so many rats abandon AHPRA’s sinking ship.



Naudé Review: no mistakes, mischief against Noakes? Fat chance!

Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: The Noakes Foundation

By Marika Sboros

“We made no mistakes and no mischief in our study debunking Banting and Prof Tim Noakes,” say South African scientists. They don’t use those exact words. However, that’s the gist of their letter, which the SAMJ has just published. It relates to the Naudé Review in PLoS One in June/July 2014 by Stellenbosch and Cape Town University researchers.

Noakes and British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe published their analysis of it in the SAMJ in December 2016. They found major errors. Therefore, they concluded, the review findings are “not robust”. That’s scientific speak for wrong. Noakes and Harcombe don’t use the words “scientific fraud” – yet. Instead, they diplomatically ask: “Mistake or mischief?” However, if the errors were not honest mistakes, then mischief is a euphemism. So, are these academics giving “alternative facts” to try to silence Noakes? Why should you (or anyone) believe the Naudé authors when they say there was no monkey business against Noakes? Because they say so?



New Noakes Banting book: small size, big science shift

By Marika Sboros

It’s a simple enough question: why is Banting so popular yet still so controversial in South Africa and globally? The answer, scientist Prof Tim Noakes will tell you, is also simple. Because it works. Banting is the popular name for low-carb, high-fat diets in South Africa. Noakes explains why and how Banting weaves its healing magic in a new book: The Banting Pocket Guide (Penguin Random House).  He has co-authored it with Bernadine Douglas and Bridgette Allan.

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It’s available in a Kindle edition. In print soon, it will be literally small  – just the right size to fit into your pocket or purse. Figuratively speaking, it’s big in nutrition scientific heart. It explains why Banting, as low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyles are called in South Africa, are such a powerful paradigm shift.

Note that  I say lifestyles, not diets. LCHF opponents – who were legion but are diminishing as the science grows – still call it a fad diet. This book is another nail in the coffin of powerful vested interests in medical and dietetic establishments and food and drug industries. All oppose LCHF because it threatens reputations, livelihoods, practices and profits. Here’s more on why this book is a small but significant scientific treasure trove.



TAUBES AND THE CASE AGAINST SUGAR: SWEET AND SOUR

By Marika Sboros

Unless you’ve just beamed down from another planet, you’ll know that US science journalist Gary Taubes has a new book out. It’s called The Case Against Sugar. I haven’t read it yet. I’ve only read the reviews, most of them favourable – except one. It is Bad sugar or bad journalism? An expert review of “The Case Against Sugar”. The author is US neurobiologist and obesity researcher Dr Stephan Guyenet.

Guyenet’s review is not a complete hatchet job. First, he damns Taubes with faint scientific praise. Then he sticks the knife straight into Taubes’s research heart. Guyenet says that Taubes “misunderstands (or chooses not to apply) the scientific method itself”. He accuses Taubes of “extraordinary oversight”. He also says that Taubes ignores “inconvenient facts”.

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US physician Michael Eades has read the book – twice – and reviews it in a post on his Protein Power blog. He has given me permission to republish it here. He comes to very different conclusions compared to Guyenet. Here’s the sweet and the sour of reviews.



DOES DAA TARGET DISSIDENT DIETITIANS WITH FAKE NEWS?

By Marika Sboros

When the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) isn’t dishing up fake nutrition news to the public, it makes up fake news to try to discredit dietitians who cross it, say critics. It’s probably no coincidence, that those dietitians support low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets to treat obesity, diabetes and heart disease and/or criticise Australia’s dietary guidelines and DAA’s food industry links.

Critics say that  DAA’s Big Food sponsors don’t like those dietitians either as they affect product sales. In the final of a four-part series on DAA’s conflicts of interest, Foodmed.net looks at the cases of three dietitians who fell foul of DAA and its long-time CEO Claire Hewat. DAA also thought nothing of going after one of the dietitians in another country. It tried and failed to silence a top dietitian academic in New Zealand for her views on LCHF.

Hewat flatly denies that LCHF or its industry links had anything to do with actions against the dietitians below. Here, Foodmed.net looks at whether that claim stands up to scrutiny.



DAA CLUELESS ON LCHF – DIETITIAN DOWN UNDER

Feng-Yuan Liu

Feng-Yuan Liu, of Metro Dietetics, is a relatively rare but growing species Down Under: a dietitian who is a member of Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and brave enough to speak up publicly for LCHF (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) diets to treat obesity and diabetes. DAA’s antagonism towards low-carb diets for diabetics is legendary.  Also becoming legendary is DAA’s response to some of its members who support LCHF. On January 30, 2017, Foodmed.net will publish the final of a four-part series on DAA’s links with Big Food. It will look at three dietitians who have fallen foul of DAA for various reasons.

Here, Liu goes head to head in a blog with DAA over the information it dishes out to the public on LCHF for diabetes. She quotes verbatim from DAA statements on its website and presents research in rebuttal. It’s another long read, but a fascinating one scientifically. Along the way, Liu shows that DAA uses a discredited study by South African researchers to discredit LCHF. She also suggests that DAA is clueless – she describes it as ‘confused’ – about just what constitutes LCHF. It will be interesting to see how DAA reacts to another of its members who believes that LCHF is a safe, effective option for diabetics.  – Marika Sboros



WHY DAA MAY REGRET ‘SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY’

By Marika Sboros

It’s no real surprise that Big Food loves the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). DAA has quietly carved out close to a monopoly for its members on giving dietary advice to the public.

It regularly dishes up messages that feed Big Food’s interests and product sales. Critics say that it makes sense, then, that processed food and drink industries happily pay oodles of boodle to keep that monopoly going and messages flowing. They say that DAA’s self-regulated status makes it even more attractive to those interests. It means that DAA can pretty much do as it pleases and it does.

Yet there’s a downside to DAA’s cosy relationship with food industries. British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe has called it “sleeping with the enemy”. In a critique of conflicts of interest in her groundbreaking book, The Obesity Epidemic, What Caused it? How Can We Stop It?, she looks at the consequences. Harcombe was referring to the US dietetics fraternity. She could have been talking about DAA. In Part 3 of this series, Foodmed.net looks at why critics say that DAA may bitterly regret getting into bed with Big Food.



DAA TALKING HEADS: TIME FOR NEW CONVERSATION?

By Marika Sboros

One reason for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) credibility problem, say critics, is its public face. They say that by default or design, DAA media spokespersons regularly dispense low-fat, high-carb dietary advice that serves the interests of food-industry partners. Such advice lacks evidence for safety and efficacy to treat or prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

DAA spokespersons also regularly show special antipathy towards Paleo and low-carb diets to treat these conditions, despite growing evidence. As well, some spokespersons are prominent university academics. Thus, critics say this leaves DAA open to a common industry tactic. It is the “halo effect” that results from “eminence-based” rather than evidence-based nutrition information. It helps to embed unhealthy products as healthy in public consciousness

In Part 2 of this series, Foodmed.net takes a look at some of those talking heads. We also look at why critics say that the conversation needs to change.



IS DOWN UNDER’S DAA REALLY IN BED WITH BIG FOOD?

By Marika Sboros

Is the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in bed with Big Food? It’s nearly two years since US public health lawyer Michele Simon first raised the question. She worded it slightly differently at the time. Her answer was an unequivocal “yes” in And Now A Word From Our Sponsors in February 2015. But has anything changed in the interim?

DAA says that it is not in bed with Big Food now and never has been. It claims that its sponsors – “partners”, it prefers to call them – have no influence on the advice it dishes out.  It also claims to take “great care to guard against conflict of interest”.

Its critics say otherwise. They say that DAA is heavily conflicted and has been for decades. Critics also say that DAA is little more than a front for the food industry. Read on and make up your own mind.



FAT PHOBIA: WILL TEEN REBELS FREE YOU FROM ITS SHACKLES?

Will teens be the rebels who free you from the shackles of fat phobia forever this year? Sammy Pepys, one of my favourite nutrition bloggers, believes so. Pepys is author of the fabulous Fat is our Friend. He styles himself the ‘reluctant’ nutritionist. He has fat phobia firmly in his sights. You should have it in your sights too. – Marika Sboros

By Sammy Pepys

I’m an optimist. I’ve contributed to debates on food and health for a few years now with one core piece of communication. We won’t begin to fix the Western malaise of increasing obesity and related chronic diseases unless we first lose our fear of fat.

Change is starting but it’s running at a snail-like pace. As well, institutional indoctrination has been too effective. Take the 90% of UK citizens who choose low-fat or skimmed milk over the regular “from-the-cow” variety daily. Is it because it tastes better?