By Marika Sboros

How did a dietitian with a business to protect get the might of a South African state body to prosecute world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes? That question is hanging in the ether.

The Health Profession’s Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has appealed its committee’s comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes. The appeal concluded in Pretoria on February 23, 2018. Appeal Committee chair, advocate Justice Mogotsi, will rule before the end of March.

The HPCSA charged Noakes with unprofessional conduct for a single tweet on February 4, 2014. In it, he said that good first foods for infants are LCHF (low-carb, high-fat). Johannesburg dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom reported Noakes to the HPCSA. She claimed that the tweet claiming was potentially “life-threatening”.

The answer to how Strydom persuaded the HPCSA to go after Noakes on that basis is easy to find. Why she succeeded in doing so is more complex – but not impossible to work out. The answer lies partly in voluminous, unanswered evidence that the Appeal Committee must review. It shows that Strydom had help from academics at top South African universities: Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. She also had help from academics at a minor institution, North-West (formerly Potchefstroom) University.

The evidence also suggests, as Noakes’s lawyers successfully argued in closing, that Strydom was just a vexatious, “disgruntled” dietitian. They also argued that the HPCSA had no sustainable case against him from the start.

But the answer also lies in evidence the Appeal Committee cannot review because Noakes’s instructing attorney, Adam Pike, only uncovered it after the not-guilty verdict. And increasingly, it lies in evidence of academic “mobsters” behind Strydom.


By Marika Sboros

South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes will know within 30 days if his regulatory body will fail in a last-ditch attempt to find him guilty. He will also know if it will have to pay dearly for doing so.

And this time round, global medical and scientific communities are watching.

A group of independent doctors in the US launched a petition on February 19. The US-based Nutrition Coalition has supported it. The petition calls on the Health Professions Council of South Africa to stop prosecuting Noakes. Before a week was up, more than 31,000 of the world’s leading doctors, scientists, dietitians and others had signed.

One signatory is Harvard physician and nutrition professor Walter Willett. Willett is no fan of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets. However, Willet signals his support for the right of scientists right to express opinions that differ from his.

The HPCSA has appealed its Professional Conduct Committee’s comprehensive not-guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017. The charge was unprofessional conduct for a single tweet in 2014. In it, he said that good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF.

Noakes’s lawyers have filed a cross-appeal going for costs. Their grounds are that the HPCSA has acted in bad faith throughout. They say that the HPCSA is a statutory body and therefore the law offers it no protection against “bad behaviour”.

The appeal was held in Pretoria from February 21 to 23 before a committee that the HPCSA appointed. The Committee Chair, advocate Justice Mogotsi, reserved his ruling till “some time before the end of March”.


By Marika Sboros

Top doctors and scientists in the US, Canada and Australia have signed an open letter to the Health Professions Council of South Africa. They want the HPCSA to stop prosecuting scientist Prof Tim Noakes for allegedly tweeting “unconventional advice” that was not evidence-based. They provide evidence to show that his tweet was evidence-based and thus not unconventional.

Among the signatories is Australian cricket team physician Dr Peter Brukner. Brukner is a professor of sports science at La Trobe University.

Others include leading US, Canadian and Australian endocrinologists, obesity specialists, obstetricians and gynaecologists, oncologists, orthopaedic surgeons, anatomical pathologists, nephrologists, internal medicine specialists, anaesthetists, psychiatrists and researchers.

They have disseminated the letter as a petition. At last count there were more than 9000 signatures. (Editor’s note: the number is now above 11,000.) Many of those are doctors, other health professionals and scientists.

The HPCSA is appealing its own committee’s comprehensive not guilty verdict for Noakes. That was in April 2017 on a charge of unprofessional conduct. The appeal takes place at its Pretoria offices from February 21 to 23, 2018.

The HPCSA has objected to a request by Noakes’s lawyers to introduce new evidence. It shows that dietitians from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) had inside help from the HPCSA to set him up.

In a related move, South African paediatric surgeon Prof Alastair Millar has called the HPCSA’s case against Noakes ” madness and wasteful”.

“It makes one ashamed to be listed on the HPCSA register as a medical practitioner.”


By Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is back on the warpath against Prof Tim Noakes. It is appealing its own committee’s comprehensive not guilty verdict for Noakes in April 2017 on a charge of unprofessional conduct.

It will hold the appeal at its Pretoria offices from February 21 to 23, 2018.

The HPCSA claims that its Professional Conduct Committee “erred and misdirected themselves on the law and facts”.

It has objected to a request by Noakes’s lawyers to introduce incriminating new evidence. The evidence supports extensive evidence already on record suggesting that dietitians from the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) really did set him up. And they had help from inside the HPCSA.

The new evidence shows up in a PAIA (Protection of Access to Information Act) request. Instructing attorney, Adam Pike, of Pike Law, made the request to ADSA in June 2017.

Noakes’s legal team has filed a cross-appeal going for costs. They say that the HPCSA went after Noakes illegally. It had no sustainable case from the outset.



By Marika Sboros

You’d think all doctors and dietitians would join Prof Tim Noakes and many others in welcoming robust new evidence showing that a simple dietary change really can reverse type 2 diabetes.

In other words, evidence showing that diabetes doesn’t have to be chronic, progressive and degenerative. And that diabetics don’t have to face an increased risk of heart attack, blindness, limb loss and declining mental function.

Physicians at the Virta Health company in the US have shown just that in a peer-reviewed study just published in Diabetes Review. Led by Virta medical director Dr Sarah Hallberg, it is a one-year trial showing that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet puts 61% of patients with type 2 diabetes into remission.

That’s big. It shows that patients have a choice: to accept or not to accept conventional wisdom on diabetes. Yet many have been quick to attack the research and undermine its conclusions. Noakes has written a letter to a Cape newspaper (scroll down to read it below), explaining why the study really is a watershed. He looks at why it gives diabetics and their families renewed hope.

And why, in essence, type 2 diabetes is “a condition of choice”.


Prof Tim Noakes with his sister, Mandy Ruysch van Dugteren

By Marika Sboros

You could say that Prof Tim Noakes is at it again, spreading the word about low-carb,high-fat (LCHF), ketogenic therapies, busily challenging orthodoxy. This time though, the vehicle is really his eponymous family-founded Noakes Foundation.

The Foundation launched its Nutrition Network in Cape Town at the weekend. It is a world’s first professional training in low-carb, high-fat therapies for patient treatment.

Foundation COO Jayne Bullen says the Nutrition Network has a specific aim: to support medical and allied health professionals in implementing LCHF and keto lifestyles in their practice.

The two-day conference featured an impressive line-up of speakers from a wide range of medical fields, including the founding Medical Board of the Nutrition Network. The Board includes Noakes, Cape Town GP Dr Neville Wellington and specialist physician Dr Hassina Kajee.

Bullen was suitably expansive. “This is the healthcare of the future,” she said.


By Marika Sboros

If you’re expecting scientific consensus on “healthy eating” in 2018, don’t hold your breath. Many doctors and dietitians continue to dish up conventional advice that many experts say is dangerous.

These experts go further and say that “healthy eating” is one of modern medicine’s biggest “mistakes”.

A new book reveals who is behind that big mistake and why so many perpetuate it. It is Healthy Eating: The Big Mistake by Dr Verner Wheelock.  The subtitle speaks volumes: How modern medicine has got it wrong about diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, Alzheimer’s and obesity.

It is a fascinating and important read

Of course, you could accuse me of bias as I contributed a chapter for the book. That’s on the ongoing trial in South Africa of Prof Tim Noakes for his challenge to dietary dogma.

I became involved after it became clear Wheelock intended the book as a labour of love of scientific truth. And that he makes the scientific case for an urgent revision of official dietary advice in the UK. Thus, the book’s message has global relevance.

Publishers Columbus have made Healthy Eating: The Big Mistake heavily discounted on Kindle and in print on the book’s website for January 2018.

Wheelock’s is an intriguing perspective as he is neither a doctor of orthodox medicine nor of dietetics. Instead, he is a food scientist.



By Marika Sboros

Dr James DiNicolantonio, a US cardiovascular research scientist, is up next in Foodmed.net’s Vital Signs Q&A series of personality profiles. He shows why the US legal profession’s loss has been the health profession’s gain.

DiNicolantonio once wanted to be a lawyer but his parents steered him into the family tradition of pharmacy.

He is also a doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, an associate editor of British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) Open Heart and a mythbuster of note.

He is perhaps best known these days as author of The Salt Fix. It’s a seminal book that dashes to death the low-salt myth. In it, he provides fascinating new understanding of salt’s essential role in our health and what happens when we aren’t getting enough salt. And why that has far-reaching, even heart-stopping, implications.


By Marika Sboros

If cancer has touched you or anyone you’ve ever cared about, this book is for you. Even if you just want to reduce your risk of dread disease, it is for you.

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (Chelsea Green Publishing) is groundbreaking. The book’s subtitle speaks volumes: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies.

Yes, the “k” word (ketogenic) diet is there. Yet many oncologists still consider it a swear word despite the growing evidence base. And they pass that prejudice on to patients who believe ketogenic signals grave danger.

Take, for example, an oncologist’s response to a patient in South Africa last year. The patient said that he had done research and wanted to go on a ketogenic diet before and during chemotherapy. He might as well have said that he wanted to inject laetrile (discredited apricot kernel extract) into his veins.

The doctor’s response was abrupt and angry: “In that case, I’ll cancel your chemotherapy.” The doctor went on to indicate that the patient’s medical aid wouldn’t pay for future treatment. That’s enough to terrify the life out of any cancer patient. After all, orthodox treatment costs can bankrupt patients and their family, even with medical aid.

The response was an example of what experts say is “eminence-based medicine”. It is also the symptom of the terminally ill paternalistic model of medicine. This book effectively sabotages any vestige of foundation for that model. It also undermines one of modern medicine’s “most entrenched paradigms”. 


It wasn’t all that long ago in China when patients paid their doctors to keep them healthy. If they ever did get sick, they didn’t have to pay a cent. That was until doctors did their jobs properly and made them well again.

In ancient Greece, no one took physicians seriously if they did not advise patients about diet. They were considered oxymoronic. 

Canadian Dr Jason Fung is a nephrologist (kidney specialist). Thus, he sees the ravages of obesity and diabetes on his patients daily. He has watched in horrified fascination as doctors have mutated from ‘the person who keeps you healthy’ they have become ‘the person who gives you drugs and surgery’.

The Jewish Middle Ages physician Maimonides had it right. He said: ‘No disease caused by diet should be treated by any other means.’ That should be a no-brainer.  Here, Fung calls for a radical paradigm shift back to ancient wisdom. He wants doctors to educate themselves to use therapeutic nutrition as the medicine of the future for diet-related disease. – Marika Sboros



By Marika Sboros

Irish engineer Ivor Cummins, aka the Fat Emperor, is a man on a mission. In our Vital Signs Q&A series of personality profiles, Cummins reveals the roots of his popular alter ego. Through the lens of the muscular Fat Emperor, he looks at best predictors of and treatment for heart disease.

Spoiler alert: cholesterol means nothing compared to more important measures of risk. Cummins is currently working on a scanner that can rapidly detect heart disease risk. It can also weed out those who don’t need any treatment at all. He covers much else besides, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, dementia and more.

As well, Cummins shows that Fat Emperor is a metaphor for the corporate power that funds science and has grown fat on keeping dangerous dogma going. Therefore, he gets down and dirty on deceit as ‘central in the nutrition science world’. 


 Scottish GP Malcolm Kendrick has a wonderful way with words about diabetes – and lots else besides. Here’s an oldie but goldie from Kendrick. In it, he argues why so many endocrinologists have got it so wrong about effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. Why they, in effect, look at type 2 diabetes from the wrong way round.

Upside down, if you like.

Kendrick says that insulin is not really the key hormone. It is ‘merely’ the subservient hormone.  The body produces it counter the effects of too much of another hormone, glucagon.

 He’s not saying that insulin isn’t important, just that it is far from essential. He is also saying that drug treatment for diabetes misses the mark. And while useful, metformin is not a wonder drug. If you don’t follow Kendrick, do so. On his blog, he has written a fascinating 40-part series on heart disease. – Marika Sboros



By Marika Sboros

Today, Foodmed launches Vital Signs, an occasional series of Q&A interviews with those forging new paths in nutrition science globally. Along with top doctors and scientists, we also feature ordinary mortals. These are the brave lay people who make up the wisdom of the crowds. They usher in bottom-up change from eminence-based to genuinely evidence-based medicine.

First up is Canadian-born US-based carnivore and artificial intelligence hacker L Amber O’Hearn who lives in Colorado. O’Hearn is a data scientist by profession. She is also a singer, writer, mathematician who has been researching and experimenting with ketogenic and evolution-based diets since 1997.

O’Hearn has put her day job aside to focus on researching, writing, and speaking about nutrition. She is an author at The Ketogenic Diet For Health and Empirica and has no qualms about going carnivore. And yes, she eats some of her meat meals raw. And no, she’s not aggressive as a result of being a dedicated carnivore. Here’s what drives her dietary habits:


Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick says there is good reason that the Inuit of Canada had frequent nosebleeds but zero heart disease. Kendrick is an author and a sceptic. He has also studied cardiovascular disease for decades.

Thus, he knows as much, if not more, about heart disease than many cardiologists. He knows all the theories of causes and best treatment options.

Consequently, he is no fan of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

Kendrick wroteThe Great Cholesterol Con. If you haven’t read it, I advise you to do so now for your heart’s sake. Here’s why Kendrick says that the diet-heart and lipid hypotheses are ‘the perfect shapeshifters’.  – Marika Sboros


By Marika Sboros

Quebec family physician Dr Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy looks set to become “Canada’s Tim Noakes”. Bourdua-Roy’s regulatory body, the Quebec College of Physicians, is investigating her for comments on diet and nutrition she made on a radio talk-show.

Nutritionists who may be members of Dietitians of Canada (DoC) lodged complaints with the College, claiming that Bourdua-Roy made  “inappropriate declarations”.

They also claim that she gave “medical opinions” that could “mislead the public on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)/ketogenic diets”. (Ketogenic diets are very low-carb, very high-fat but low-to-moderate protein).

The parallels with Bourdua-Roy and  Prof Tim Noakes are striking even as there are differences. 


By Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is back on the warpath against Prof Tim Noakes. It has also thrown down legal gauntlets to Pretoria advocate Joan Adams.

Adams chaired the HPCSA’s Professional Conduct Committee that heard the charge of unprofessional conduct. She delivered the comprehensive, 60-page, four-to-one not-guilty verdict in Cape Town on April 21, 2017. The HPCSA announced its decision to appeal in early May but only gave grounds in August.

The HPCSA effectively claim that the committee, including three medical doctors, didn’t know what they were doing. They “fundamentally misconstrued their role in evaluating the evidence”. And they “erred and misdirected themselves on the law and the facts”. The HPCSA believe there’s a “reasonable chance” their Appeal Committee will overturn the entire verdict. They don’t just want a guilty ruling. They want a whole new “rehearing”.

Noakes calls that “malicious”. He says that the HPCSA face “five rather large roadblocks in its case against him”. Those include compelling new evidence of collusion between a dietitian on the HPCSA and the dietitians who reported him.


The low-fat diet for heart disease, weight loss and much else besides is a zombie myth. Those who keep it alive remain devoted to the diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease.

No one has yet proved the hypothesis. Thus, it is currently unscientific. 

You wouldn’t know it from the reaction of many doctors and dietitians to the PURE study. Although associational, PURE is yet another nail in the low-fat coffin. Yet many ‘experts’ have a vested interest in keeping the low-fat myth alive. Here, Australian GP Dr Joe Kosterich speculates on why. And shows why it’s time to give it a decent burial. – Marika Sboros


By Marika Sboros

Major new research, the PURE study, is creating controversy about dietary guidelines globally. It shows that the more fat you eat, including saturated fat, the lower your risk of dying from heart disease.

And the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your risk of premature death.

PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) cohort study,  is the largest ever investigating links between carbs, fats, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death. Thirty-seven researchers looked at dietary habits of 135,335 people in 18 countries over five continents with an average follow-up of 7.4 years. They are calling for changes to the guidelines. They say that the much-disputed cap on dietary saturated fat (no more than 10% of energy intake) is wrong.

Critics say PURE proves that low-fat diets are as lethal for hearts as low-carb experts claim. Others say PURE shows no need for change and doesn’t exonerate saturated fat.


By Marika Sboros

If you are Jewish and kosher then this book is for you. Even if you aren’t Jewish or kosher, it’s still for you. Tasty Healthy Easy LCHF Kosher Low-Carb Cooking for Beginners is a reader-friendly, basic introduction to the world of low-carb lifestyles.

The author is Israeli Dina David. Never was it more needed as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease rates are rising rapidly in that country.

David is a rare breed in Israel, a trained low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) nutrition therapist. She is one of few voices advocating for LCHF lifestyles.

David has yet another innate advantage that makes her book attractive: She was born in Sweden, a country that leads the fight against fat demonisation and carb glorification. That gives her a dual perspective on adapting Jewish cuisine and tradition to LCHF lifestyles.

Low-Carb Companion: a new best friend for life

By Marika Sboros

Low-carb books are not yet a dime a dozen but they are weighing down shelves in bookstores and in cyberspace. The Low-Carb Companion should fly off those shelves.

The author is reason enough to buy it. Zimbabwean Dr Austin Jeans is a specialist sport, exercise and lifestyle medicine physician in Harare.

He has been involved in lifestyle aspects of orthodox medicine for over 25 years. However, it took his own deteriorating health and family history of type 2 diabetes to drive him in new directions.

It set him on the journey of discovery that he documents in this book. Like many doctors, he swallowed whole the dogma on diet and disease that he learned at medical school. And when he came across compelling evidence to the contrary, he did the decent scientific thing. He admitted that he had it all wrong. If something about his story sounds familiar that’s because it is.