Gary Fettke turns into ‘Australia’s Tim Noakes’!

Dr Gary Fettke
Dr Gary Fettke

By Marika Sboros

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has banned orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke from giving nutrition advice. It has done so after a two-year “investigation” into Fettke’s qualifications.

Overnight they’ve turned him into “Australia’s Tim Noakes”.  Elements of this case mirror the  Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) case against Prof Tim Noakes. Noakes is a world-renowned scientist and medical doctor. Both  cases open up a medical Pandora’s box. Both go to the heart of what it means to be a real “doctor of medicine”. Thus,  these cases are also about who is best qualified to give nutrition advice.

Both these cases boil down to a medical and dietetic battle for territory. In both cases, the regulatory agencies have taken up cudgels on one side of that battle. Consequently, whether by default or design, they support powerful vested interests committed to maintaining the status quo.

The only real surprise is that the AHPRA has taken so long to act against Fettke.

Fettke, apart from being a practising orthopaedic surgeon and senior lecturer to medical students at the University of Tasmania, has researched nutrition for more than a decade now. As an orthopaedic surgeon, he  has a longstanding interest in the preventative aspects of health outcomes.

Many of his patients are obese and diabetic. They come to him with weight-related issues, with joint pathology and arthritis. Outcomes he has achieved for patients have been remarkable.

Fettke’s extensive knowledge of nutrition is also because he is a cancer survivor. He had orthodox treatment then started researching options. That  led him to adopt a specific dietary lifestyle, which he calls low-carb, healthy fat. That includes saturated fat.  

He is not against orthodox treatment for cancer. He simply believes that the right diet ups the odds of long-term survival for cancer patients. He advocates for the metabolic model of cancer and an integrative approach to treatment that includes nutrition. In so doing, Fettke goes up against  powerful vested interests in the pharmaceutical and medical industries.


The AHPRA  has conducted its “investigation” against Fettke behind closed doors. He doesn’t even know who complained to the AHPRA about him.

Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: ROB TATE
Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: ROB TATE

The HPCSA, on the other hand, has had to conduct its case against Noakes in the full glare of the public. However, it has not disclosed all evidence against him, despite its legal duty to do so.

Noakes does at least know who started the ball rolling against him in 2014: Johannesburg dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom, then president of the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA).

ADSA is the South African counterpart of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).  Both are voluntary bodies and hugely influential in setting public health policy on diet and nutrition. Both solidly support the status quo.

The DAA even expelled registered dietitian Jennifer Elliot for going against its high-carb, low-fat (HCLF) advice. Elliot is an advocate of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) to treat and prevent serious disease. (More on that in upcoming posts. Watch this space.)

The AHPRA has gone to great lengths to suggest its case against Fettke is not about LCHF.  It has told Fettke not to “provide specific advice or recommendations on the subject of nutrition”. In particular, it doesn’t want Fettke talking about nutrition for  management of diabetes or the treatment and/or prevention of cancer.

The HPCSA case against Noakes centres around  giving “unconventional advice on a social network (Twitter)”. That was a single tweet. In it, Noakes  said that good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF. In other words, meat and veg, according to LCHF theory.  


The HPCSA has tried hard – and failed miserably – to create the impression that this  case is not about LCHF. It would prefer that people think it isn’t going for Noakes because he challenges conventional nutrition advice based on high-carb, low-fat (HCLF). Or that he threatens the vested interests that benefit from that advice.

Fettke is also founder and mentor of  the team at Nutrition for Life. It has clinics located in Launceston and Hobart that provide nutritional care around Tasmania and Australia. He has launched social media, grassroots campaigns against excessive sugar and processed food consumption in the Australian diet.

Therein probably lie some of the main drivers of the AHPRA action against him.


Orthodox medicine is premised on the pharmaceutical model of disease. It makes no room for food as medicine even when  it pays lip service to the notion.

For dietetics to survive as a profession, the public needs to believe that dietitians’ degrees confer on them some kind of monopoly on dietary advice.  Both the DAA and ADSA work hard to create that impression (as a DAA post on Facebook, shown right, shows).

Yet the effects on health of people who followed conventional dietary advice are no recommendation: pandemics of  obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

At heart, the AHPRA in acting against Fettke goes against  the ancient Chinese proverb: “He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physician.”

Like Noakes, Fettke is learning about the perils of challenging orthodoxy. If Voltaire were around he would probably say to  Noakes and Fettke: “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

However, if the AHPRA hopes to be able to muzzle Fettke, the opposite is likely to happen. In Noakes’ case, the HPCSA and ADSA  have handed him on a platter an international platform for dissemination of his ideas. They have boosted his international profile.

Thus, the same will happen with Fettke. It’s just another lesson in the law of unintended consequences on social media.


Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be plain sailing. In 1985, the US National Academy of Sciences published a report  on the  lack of adequate nutrition education in US medical schools. Experts considered it  a “landmark” report. It was US-focused but pointed to a global phenomenon that exists tody.

Doctors don’t learn about nutrition at medical school. A study published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of Medical Colleges in 2010, shows just bad the situation really is. (Click here to read the full text of Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey.)

US physician Dr Pauline Chen wrote about it in a column for the New York Times in 2010. “Between the growing list of diet-related diseases and a burgeoning obesity epidemic, the most important public health measure for any of us to take may well be watching what we eat.

“But few doctors are prepared to effectively spearhead or even help in those efforts.”

Noakes gets to the heart of the matter when he says: “Medicine no longer cures. It just creates customers for pharmaceutical industries.”


Experts point to a broken scientific research model that contributes to propping up dogma. Consequently, it forgets about patients.

US Prof Richard Feinman is scathing about the AHPRA action. “Doctors don’t study nutrition. Nutritionists don’t study medicine. Neither studies science,” says Feinman. He is professor of cell biology at SUNY (State University of New York).

Prof Richard Feinman
Prof Richard Feinman

Feinman says Fettke doesn’t have the credentials precisely because “there are no credentials”.

“The medical nutrition establishment has long separated itself from scientific standards, collegial interaction or any need to demonstrate success with obesity, diabetes or heart disease.
“As described in numerous publications, they have exerted control by taking over private and government health agencies. With the threat of total collapse of all of their recommendations and their inability to have any effect on the health of society, they have descended into brute force.
 “I suspect, at this point  that only a lawsuit can stop them,” Feinman says.

What is the likely outcome of the AHPRA action unless that brute action ever happens? Anybody’s guess at this stage. I’m ever the optimist.

 Thomas Eddison’s prophetic words could prevail: “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

Fettke is considering his options. In the meantime, he has handed over the nutrition baton to wife, Belinda. She spearheads Nutrition for Life he founded, and the qualified registered dietitians who make up its staff.

Here’s some of what Belinda had to say on Facebook in announcing the AHPRA action against her husband. Click here to read it in full on the  No Fructose Facebook page:

By Belinda Fettke

No Fructose

Who can actually give nutritional advice? There has been an AHPRA investigation into  my husband, Dr Gary Fettke’s, qualifications to give nutritional advice. This investigation has been going on for over two years. The AHPRA is proposing a “caution”.

Gary will be questioning the proposed “caution”.  Until there is a final finding from AHPRA, he will have to abide by the law to maintain his professional registration.

The Medical Board of Tasmania under the umbrella of the AHPRA have given him advice. ”In particular that he does not provide specific advice or recommendations on the subject of nutrition and how it relates to the management of diabetes or the treatment and/or prevention of cancer.”

Belinda Fettke
Belinda Fettke

Gary is not allowed to comment on nutrition in preventative health, nor in management of chronic illness on any social media platform. Gary cannot discuss nutrition with his patients in any clinical setting. That’s regardless of any undue stress on joints before replacement, inflammation, or even diabetes complications requiring amputation.

Gary is not allowed to speak at any public or professional meetings that involve the discussion of nutrition.

That will be difficult as he sees benefits every working day for patients who adopt better eating habits.

It is IMPORTANT to note: Gary has NOT BEEN CAUTIONED on what he has been advocating with regards to LCHF – Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat living –  nor in lowering carbohydrate intake in diabetes management; or on what he advocates with regards to the central role of nutrition in health.

 By qualification to comment, I have none. My previous work as a registered nurse is unlikely to give me any expertise. But like so many people living the LCHF life, I have seen the benefits in myself. And those around me for many others who have decided to choose health.

If you are interested in helping me continue to question the science, promote the role that Low Carb Healthy Fat principles play in both the management and the prevention of disease, please join me as the voice of No Fructose.

  • The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has right of reply. Should they wish to exercise it, will publish their response in full.
  • Follow me on Twitter @MarikaSboros
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  1. Marika, I have a suggestion. When you print quotes from people — in this article specifically The New York Times piece by Dr Pauline Chen and the comments from Richard Feinman — please provide a link for those of us who would like to follow up.

    Also, it’s Thomas Edison with one “d”.

    I’m so happy to have discovered your site!

  2. I am a nurse. In light of and because of Gary’s ‘punishment’ have asked AHPRA what specifically I can, and cannot, talk about as far as diet and as yet I have had no response. Maybe that was 6 months ago or more. I await their response.

  3. We are like Christians who were persecuted after Christ’s death in early Roman Empire 2000 years ago. Or like the Jews who were driven out of Egypt. Or like Galileo who discovered that the earth was round, not flat and was persecuted by the Catholic Church. LCHF advocates are being persecuted by Big Pharma and Big Food. and the various Associations funded by them have turned into their henchmen.

    How long will you be able to do that? That is the question.

    It was Victor Hugo who said this > 200 years ago:
    On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées.
    Literal translation:
    One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.

    LCHF is an idea whose time has come.


  4. AHPRA needs to be destroyed. It is a closed-door corrupt system that only operates on the “boys club” principle, where these insiders have deep, destructive and anonymous powers. The Eminences of Medicine MUST have their dogma accepted, or else there is hell to pay. This is disgraceful.

  5. My husband and I have just been reading your post with disappointment. I enjoyed listening to Dr Fettke’s posts and will continue to support him and his wife. We support the LCHF lifestyle – we are both far healthier now and I’m not taking Nexium any longer. Dr Fettke’s and his wife have our support as does Prof Tim Noakes.

  6. LCHF is a science and those who follow LCHF diet have benefitted immensely. There are numerous books which have been written to prove the efficacy of LCHF diet. Like Dr Gary Fettke, there are some great folks viz: Dr. Bernstein, Peter Attia, Dr. Mercola et al who have shown to the world that, LCHF truly works. Why punish Dr Gary Fettke? Just because he is propagating the truth?

    • Eating fat doesn’t actually make us fat. It’s the insulin cycle, triggered by eating carbohydrates. The easily-digestible carbs such as refined flour, soda, and potatoes are the worst offenders. For weight-loss, a low-carb diet is a lot more effective than a low-fat, high-carb one.Punishing Dr Gary Fettke is not correct. His voice cannot be suppressed.

  7. The carb-lobby will not allow the propagation of a healthy low-carb diet. Dr Gary Fettke is going to be made an example of what happens when someone falls out of line with the mainstream medico-food industrial system.
    Like Linus Pauling. Or Robert Atkins. It seems that freedom of expression in this country is on par with freedom of anything in Pakistan. While religious fanatics kill ‘unbelievers’ in the name of religion, the high-carb lobby culls people who do not follow the HCLF religion! God save this country from becoming another basket case. It is better if he safeguards himself from further attacks by the mainstream medico-food industrial system. Even better would be moving to some place where one is free to propagate sound advice on health and diet.
    -Australian Supporting Peace

  8. It’s nutritional lies told by mainstream dietitians about high-saturated fat and demonising it. Root cause for several metabolic disorders is a high-carb diet which is pushed by various organisations who are funded by food and drug industries.
    It’s time to promote low-carb high-fat diet properly and make the world aware of adverse effects of high-carb diets.

  9. Yet AHPRA allows chiropractors to give dietary advice. What are their qualifications to do so compared to Gary Fettke’s?

  10. A corrupt system funded by the likes of Coke, Pepei, Kelloggs and the drug mafia at work. Who cares? We will still talk LCHF and live by LCHF as type 2 diabetics. We have been spreading this in India. Let’s see who has the guts to take us on. Visit us on and see what diabetics have achieved after DUMPING the STUPID diet called HIGH CARB LOW FAT.

  11. We really do need to progress in science. I know as Max Planck said “science progresses one funeral at a time” but in the case of metabolic syndrome don’t have the money or resources to ride this one out. Think about it, not enough surgeons for the amputations, not enough money in the government Treasury. I know many people don’t do serious mathematics and so got into branches of science where they could be safe from it but it’s caught up with them and not facing it amounts to scientific fraud and a lack of professional ethics. I really think it’s time to break them in the law courts.

    • Regulatory capture, a principle of economics, ensures you’ll never succeed in a court of law. Either Big Business owns the government, or the government with it’s agencies, lawyers, jails and guns are running a mob style protection racket. In either case the results are the same. Self interested government/business interests will get their way in a court of law. The internet and the wisdom of the crowds is the best way to wage “war” on the special interests.

      • Precisely. Let’s see when these corrupt-to-the-hilt people mobilize resources against every LCHF propagating forum in the world. They are just exposing themselves.

  12. Does this mean that all of Gary’s existing Youtube videos have to be taken down?
    Great shame if that is the case because those videos were hugely influential for me personally.
    I am a prime example of an obese, pre-diabetic person who is now normal weight and completely free of metabolic syndrome, all as a result of following precisely the kind of advice that Gary has been giving.

    • Whoever is responsible for this will go down in flames and lose whatever credibility might be left.

      I’m still waiting for negligence lawsuits regarding “standard of care” vs. what really works for treating T2 diabetes – diet of course. How is it ethical to stamp T2 as a steadily progressive disease and build the standard of care in such a way (high-carb junk food + meds) that it has to get worse?

      People need to be told that they have a choice:

      1) eat to make one’s body happy & not need meds, avoid complications, live a normal life
      2) eat badly & take lots of meds, get lots of complications anyway, feel bad & sick, die early.

    • Credentialism is a con job by the “credentialed” to protect their turf and keep them protected from competition i.e., the “unwashed masses. The unwashed masses armed with computers and the internet, using the WISDOM of the CROWDS are exposing them for the self interested and corrupt, bought and paid for government and industry schills they are.

    • I assume that if someone else hosts/publishes videos that are already in the public domain then this is effectively beyond the control of the creator?

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