Dr Evelyne Bourdua-Roy: Canada’s Tim Noakes?


By Marika Sboros

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

Nutritionists who may be members of Dietitians of Canada (DoC) lodged complaints with the College and claimed 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, low-to-moderate protein)..

Prof Tim Noakes. Picture: courtesy of the NOAKES FOUNDATION

The parallels with Bourdua-Roy and  Prof Tim Noakes are striking even as there are differences. In both cases, the complainants claim that Bourdua-Roy and Noakes dispensed medical “advice”, not information. And that the advice is “dangerous”. In both cases, the complainants give no evidence to support their claims. There is also no alleged “victim” or claimed hurt.

Dietitians ‘no better than astrologers’

Bourdua-Roy was a guest on the radio show during which a talk-show host made disparaging comments about nutritionists. He also called them “no better than astrologers”. She defended nutritionists but two infuriated nutritionists still called the radio station to complain. Subsequently, two reported her to the Royal College of  Physicians.

Among her comments,during the interview, Bourdua-Roy referred to findings of the multi-centre PURE study that the Lancet published recently. It shows strong association between eating too little fat, including saturated, and raised risk of heart attack and stroke.

Bourdua-Roy runs a metabolic clinic outside Montreal and told me via email that she gave information, not specific medical advice during the radio interview. The College summonsed her to appear to answer the complaints.

Perils of tweeting

In Noakes’s case, Johannesburg dietitian Claire Julsing Strydom complained to the HPCSA about a single tweet to a breastfeeding mother. In it, he said that good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF. Thus, for infants, he was suggesting meat, fish chicken, eggs, dairy and vegetables.

Click here to read: Can you trust dietitians who are in bed with Big Food?  

Bourdua-Roy has an advantage over Noakes in that many medical colleagues openly support benefits of LCHF and ketogenic diets.

Last year, 200 Canadian doctors and allied health professional signed an open letter to their government. They called for radical reform of nutrition guidelines to include low-carb, healthy-natural-fat diets. Over 700 doctors and other health professionals, including dietitians and nutritionists, have since signed.

Those doctors represent a much larger group of approximately 2,600 Canadian clinicians, mostly
physicians. Health Canada is reportedly considering a revision of the country’s dietary guidelines. However, many doctors say these don’t go far enough.

In July 2017, they sent a rebuttal letter to Health Canada expressing concern “about the drastic deterioration in our nation’s health over the last four decades of poor dietary advice”. And as such, the doctors say that they are “using food as medicine to cure disease”.

Protecting titles

The DoC website says that dietitian are nutritionist “protected titles” in Quebec, pointing to a turf war. And just as with sister dietitians’ associations globally, DoC and ADSA are conflicted. They accept sponsorship money from all the “biggies” – Big Food, Big Sugar, Big Soft Drinks (with Coca-Cola driving from the front) and Big Pharma. Many members havedirect  industry links.

In this case, Noakes is one up on Bourdua-Roy as he at least knows his accusers. The Canadian College of Physicians allows anonymous complaints as does the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA).

Dr Gery Fettke

Two years down the line, Australia’s Tim Noakes, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke, still doesn’t know who reported him to AHPRA. That was for telling diabetic patients to reduce their sugar intake. Fettke told me via email that he prefers not to have to amputate limbs from diabetic patients as a consequence of their condition. Thus, he tells his patients that simple dietary change can save both life and limb.

Fettke does know that the complainants are members of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). AHPRA slapped a lifetime ban on Fettke for his troubles in trying to save diabetic patients’ limbs and lives.

The Canadian nutritionists’ claim against Bourdua-Roy of “inappropriate declarations” is not unlike DAA dietitians’ claim against Fettke. They accused him of “inappropriately reversing a patient’s diabetes”.

Is LCHF just a fad?

In Bourdua-Roy’s case, prominent dietitians wrote a letter of opinion to Le Soleil newspaper after the radio interview. The letter’s first signatory is Caroline Dubeau, regional director of Dietitians of Canada (DoC), for Quebec. Dubeau dismisses LCHF as “fashionable”, in other words, a fad.

Consequently, Dubeau and colleagues often claim that LCHF carries “certain risks”, including “triggering an eating disorder”. The DoC also regularly argues for sugar and other dietary carbohydrates as part of a healthy “balanced” diet.

Bourdua-Roy posted a hard-hitting response to Dubeau’s letter, in an article in the Huffington Post signed by 80 other Canadian doctors. The headline:  Low-Carb, High-Fat Is What We Physicians Eat. You Should, Too.

In it, the physicians say they are concerned about misinformation from health-care professionals. They say that LCHF is not a fad and that it’s a way of eating that’s “as old as the world”.

Just as importantly, they give robust evidence to support their opinions.

“Human beings evolved by eating this way for hundreds of thousands of years,” the authors say. “In fact, humans have only been eating an abnormally high quantity of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, fruits and sweets) for about four decades.”

The real fad?

The real fad and restrictive diet, they say, is the conventional low-fat diet that Canada’s official guidelines recommend. Those following it must observe food restrictions, such as avoiding whole-dairy products, fatty cheeses, full cream, butter, eggs and certain cuts of meat. The same applies to those who choose to be vegetarians.

“When it comes to health, we all make choices,” the physicians say.  The low-carb diet “is no exception” and “not any more restrictive than other diets”.

They also say that the public has the right to low-carb diets as an option. And they have personal and clinical experience of benefits of LCHF and ketogenic diets compared to the low-fat diet.

Click here to read: Rebel doctors, data geeks reject ‘rule book’ to beat diabesity

They say that the main aim of LCHF is not rapid weight loss. They offer LCHF to patients based on robust evidence that it helps to reverse lifestyle chronic diseases. These include type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and hypertension, etc.

Bourdua-Roy and colleagues dismiss the myth that the brain needs carbohydrate foods to function. They say that Canada’s current guidelines keep patients on medication. As a result, they usually require increasing dosages.

Giving patients hope

The authors also point out that type 2 diabetes does not have to be chronic and progressive. They say that it is possible  to reverse diabetes or put it into remission. And that most patients they treat with a low-carb diet are able to come off most or all of their medications.

They say that in its current state, Canada’s Food Guide is not balanced. It overemphasises relatively nutrient-poor carbohydrates, including processed and ultra-processed carbohydrates, and under-emphasises fats. They also point out that no one has ever tested these dietary recommendations in a population to see if they are good for our health. There are also no scientific studies to support the guidelines.

Click here to read: ‘Cure’ for type 2 diabetes? A doctor’s personal journey

They emphasise the consequences for public health after the US and Canada launched the guidelines, and specifically, the recommended carb servings. Rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, to name only these three chronic diseases, “have exploded”.

The physicians pose the question that Noakes has often posed: Are official dietary guidelines making us sick?They echo Noakes’s opinion that it makes more sense for patients with diabetes to reduce their sugar intakes significantly rather than give them drugs to manage the excess blood sugar.

Bourdua-Roy and colleagues say that they want to work with nutritionists and dieticians. Their aim is to help patients not just manage chronic diseases that their lifestyle choices cause but to reverse them.

Staying silent

Dubeau replied to my email asking for comment on DoC members’ complaints against Bourdua-Roy. However, she did not answer any of the relevant questions.

(Editor’s note: Dubeau has replied again to stress that neither she nor DoC lodged the complaints. Despite being asked, she did not say whether the nutritionists who complained are DoC members.)

Dubeau said that DoC has been “very supportive of the revision Canada’s Food Guide”. She said that it was important to “distinguish between types/sources of saturated fat”. Dubeau emphasised “replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats”, not total fat reduction messages. However, she gave no evidence on which DoC bases this advice.

Similarly, Quebec College of Physicians president and director general Dr Charles Bernard turned my email over to his communications chief Leslie Labranche. Labranche said that according to the rules, the College could not “confirm or deny” an investigation of Bourdua-Roy.

However, in a registered letter summonsing Bourdua-Roy to a meeting, they told her that she can have a lawyer present.

One Canadian doctor told me that the College of Physicians “are not really on the physician’s side but they try to maintain best practice in the province”. How they choose to prosecute Bourdua-Roy will confirm or deny that.



  1. It seems as though the Anointed (as Tom Naughton likes to call them) are attempting to intimidate Dr. Bourdua-Roy into silence, just as they’ve tried to silence Tim Noakes and Gary Fettke.
    I absolutely refuse to follow the standard, failed dietary model these incompetent, greedy, narrow-minded fools have tried to hoist upon us or the past four decades.
    Now that more and more doctors and biochemists openly support LCHF, I think it’s thrown the Nutritional Thought Police into a panic. With a lay person, they can resort to their tired old logical fallacy, the argument from authority. Not anymore.
    Good luck, Dr. Bourdua-Roy. You are indeed brave to stand up against the powerful purveyors of officially sanctioned nutritional pseudoscience. Please stay strong.

    • I’m giving the Quebec College of Physicians benefit of the doubt. They have yet to hold a meeting with Dr Bourdua-Roy to hear her side and decide whether or not to hold a hearing against her. I await their investigation into whether the nutritionists have conflicts of interest that make their complaints malicious and vexatious. The College has a golden opportunity to act for physicians who want to save lives and limbs of diabetic and other patients. I do hope they don’t squander at as the Health Professions Council of South Africa have done against Prof Tim Noakes and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency against Dr Gary Fettke. Hopefully, they will follow the sterling example of the Swedish regulatory agency that exonerated Dr Annika Dahlqvist of any wrongdoing for advising her patients to cut sugar and other carbs and JERF – Just Eat Real Food!

  2. This is infuriating. I’ve only been living a Keto lifestyle for 4 months and I’m losing weight that I not only needed to lose but found impossible to lose, I have more energy than I’ve had in years, the depression I’ve struggled with my entire life seems to be disappearing , and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. Plus, this is actually a lifestyle, not a diet and its a lifestyle I feel I can live with permanently. People should be given the option, especially when they have lifestyle diseases. Of course, as with anything, it comes down to the almighty dollar. Sickness is big business and big business doesn’t want us healthy. I stand with Dr. Bourdua-Roy. #Bourdua-Roy.

  3. And there are so many people who have followed the advice of our heretics and become slim(mer) and/or had their diabetes reversed (albeit some ‘inappropriately). But I have never read about or heard about even a single person who has permanently lost weight and/or had their diabetes reversed by following the advice of the ‘Establishment’ dieticians. Curious to say the least.

  4. Those of us who live “ketogenically” all need to rally behind doctors who are speaking out against the true elephant in the room – sugars and carbohydrates!!! I had so many health issues for decades before finding the path to low carb on my own. Those issues all resolved themselves in a short matter of months. I lost weight to boot, have never gone hungry and have never felt better in my life. In the past I saw nutritionists, naturopaths, specialists, etc., and took every vitamin supplement under the sun. Not any more! So we really need to question what is really going on here as the rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia are on the rise as fast as the amount of sugars are being pumped into our food products. It is criminal really. I support Dr. #Bourdua-Roy.

    • Roberta, it’s just a health tragedy. And doctors who fight it have to fight their own system.

      A century ago, type 2 diabetes was called ‘Carbohydrate Intolerance’ and was successfully treated with a low carb diet. We now tell diabetics to eat lots of carbs (glucose) and the NHS carries out 130 amputations a week as a result. Telling diabetics to eat carbs is as sensible as telling an alcoholic to drink whisky.

      In 1934 in the US, Elliot Joslin and the Metropolitan life insurance company examined the existing evidence and concluded that diabetes was rapidly becoming a common disease. He estimated that two to three Americans in 1,000 had diabetes. Things have changed. In 2012, the CDC estimated the figure at 12 – 14% – a 60-fold rise in less than 80 years.

      Summarised from ‘The Case Against Sugar’ by Gary Taubes.

      • I agree with you wholeheartedly Stephen. Thank you for sharing the history and statistics.

        Just imagine all the savimgs to the NHS and Health Canada if the true root of disease was being targeted. The monies saved could then be spent go tackling other problmes like poverty, education, infrastructure, etc.

        What the system is doing is truly criminal in so many ways, which is why I will speak out about it at and the necessity to go low carb at any ooprtunity. We must all speak out. Thanks again.

    • Me too!

      I’ve only been doing it for twelve years now, and recently my doctor remarked that “by now we would have expected you to be on two or three diabetes medications”. She is glacially slowly reforming her views, and my spies tell me there are around 150 UK doctors currently supporting LCHF, though almost certainly not that many actually recommending it like David Unwin and Joanne McCarthy, both of who have won awards.

      Our dieticians meanwhile have been gunning for the likes of Aseem Malhotra on Twitter and elsewhere, but have not yet attempted a prosecution. I predict it is only a matter of time. One of their number – like most of them far from slim- recently equipped himself with a CGM and discovered his postprandial blood glucose is running into at best “prediabetic” and at worst genuinely “diabetic” numbers. His opinion – this proves that “nondiabetics” also have glucose spikes. Complete and utter cluelessness.

      Meanwhile they are condemning “fad diets” while championing veganism, supported by this guy as their spokesperson


      • Chris, dietitians complained about Dr Rangan Chatterjee when he performed a near miracle in a BBC documentary for a type 2 diabetic. No bread, grains and all those other sources of glucose that pharma and their dupes think diabetics should eat.

        But the dietians backed off and they never made their complaint ‘official’. In short. they had a moan and were widely ridiculed. As bad as things are, I don’t think they could get away with a complaint in the UK. The reaction would hit them very hard and they no longer have any confidence in the science supporting them.

        Only in the lands of anonymous complaints and behind the scenes judgments can they hope to succeed. We cut a king’s head off to put a stop to that sort of injustice. If they thought they could succeed with a complaint, they’d make it. I think they know it would eventually go to a real court of law and they’ll never risk that. Even the British Medical Council has on occasions been slapped down by the High Court.

        Dietitians are trying to hold back the tide with their ever diminishing credibility.

        • Oh, Rangan is brilliant, controlling/”reversing” diabetes live on prime time TV, and many other diseases too.

          I suspect our dieticians are going round the houses to achieve their ends. Currently they are pushing to become the only source for dietary (mis) information. Since our government are currently obsessed with re-privatising the health service, and controlling the internet, I don’t think it would take much to persuade them to actually make it ILLEGAL to give dietary advice without *qualifications”. While they are at it maybe they will block public access to PubMed, and to Sci-Hub. This will also protect the profits of their chums in the pharmaceutical and “food” manufacturing industries.

          Note the ongoing complaints about “abuse” on “social media”. I wonder how much of this “abuse” is actually just disagreement, and how they will justify genuine abuse as seen on the above-mentioned blog and accompanying Twitter account.

          Meanwhile isn’t it a bit odd that the dieticians that complain so bitterly about everyone from Taubes to Harcombe who have published books all seem to be bringing out their OWN books? Obviously that’s completely different . . .

          • Very good point, Chris. The HPCSA witnesses who all criticised Prof Tim Noakes, Dr Zoe Harcombe and Nina Teicholz for writing their books said nary a word about the books their nutrition colleagues wrote! Yet another double standard…

  5. Janet, I completely agree. If their advice worked, they’d have lots of successful examples and they wouldn’t be so utterly lacking in real confidence. It’s this disdain and inadequacy that drives them to attack someone who disagrees with them and threatens their increasingly discredited position.

    It’s noticeable that these insecure nutritionists didn’t complain about the insulting, but accurate, comments by the radio host, describing them as “useless” and “no better than astrologers”. They’d get nowhere with that. But a doctor has a professional body to complain to. These anonymous complaints are a disgrace. Most reputable organisations don’t allow anonymous complaints, and for very good reasons.

    When people disagreed with me at work, I used to ask them to show me their results and their research. I didn’t say, “Shut up or I’ll have you disciplined.”

  6. “They accused him of “inappropriately reversing a patient’s diabetes”.” Whether intentional or not, this shows where their interests lie. It is inappropriate to reverse a patient’s diabetes for them because it removes that pharmaceutical revenue stream. So very sad.

  7. It’s sad that Canadian dietitians are just as stupid as those in South Africa, Australia and America. Maybe these blinkered dimwits should visit the slimmest countries in Europe – where people eat the greatest percentage of fat.

    These mediocrities feel so threatened. I hope all the sensible medical people in Canada get behind this doctor.

  8. If Dr Bourdua-Roy needs funds to defend herself against these medieval charges, those of us who believe in the benefits of LCHF diets will surely want to crowd-fund her defence. Big Food / Pharma cannot be allowed to trample on those doctors brave enough to call their bluff.

    • I am 100 % with what you said… If there is a legal fund, I’ll participate! We can not let those in a system, with power and money as their only language, to attack people who REALLY help with simple advice and good common sense. The welfare of patients should be the one and only priority, It sad to see that it is not and that we have to take care of ourselves because the system in place is against us.

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