Heikkilä: Is he Finland’s Noakes or Fettke?


By Marika Sboros

Is it most correct to call Dr Antti Heikkilä Finland’s Tim Noakes, Gary Fettke? What about Shawn Baker, Annika Dahlqvist or Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy?

You’d be most correct to say he’s a mix of all five medical doctors from around the globe. Or even a precursor of most of them.

He has much in common with Noakes in South Africa, Fettke in Australia, Baker in the US, Dahlqvist in Sweden and Bourdua-Roy in Canada. Like them all, Heikkilä has incurred establishment wrath. And for the same “crime”:  for daring to challenge medical and dietary orthodoxy for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

But while establishment attacks on all the others have waned – publicly, at least – they continue against Heikkilä. So much so, that he now spends more time practising in Hamburg rather than his home town of Helsinki.

Like the others, Heikkilä changed his medical practice after reading compelling research on benefits of low-carb, high-healthy-fat (LCHF) diets to treat and prevent chronic diseases.

Seeing the evidence

Heikkilä also began using LCHF and ketogenic (very low-carb, very high-fat) diets in his practice more than 20 years ago. That’s earlier than most of the others.

And like them all, once he started, he just couldn’t stop. After all, Heikkilä says, it’s difficult to unsee robust scientific evidence that is staring you right in the eyes. More so, when you see it dramatically improving obese, diabetic patients’ lives.

And as with all the others, many of  Heikkilä’s patients have been able to lose vast amounts of weight quickly and safely. They have also been able to reverse all their diabetes symptoms. Most are also able to manage their conditions without drugs or with significantly reduced doses.

Heikkilä has much in common with Fettke and Baker. Like them, he is an orthopaedic surgeon who balked at having to amputate growing numbers of obese, diabetic patients’ limbs. And like them, he infuriated his hospital management for cancelling surgeries after patients’ symptoms improved dramatically.

Managements of privately-run hospital tend to look unkindly on surgeons who reduce profit margins by cancelling operations for patients whose symptoms improved by less drastic means.

Surgeons straying from their ‘lanes’

They also don’t seem to like surgeons straying out of their “lanes”, for example, by talking to obese, diabetic patients about diet.  Unless, that is, they dispense the same advice as orthodox hospital dietitians dispense, despite no evidence-base.

Heikkilä can probably count himself lucky that his medical regulatory body has stayed in the background.

In the case of Noakes, Fettke, Baker, Dahlqvist and Bourdua-Roy, their regulatory bodies investigated them after complaints from dietitians. In all cases, the regulators backed off.

It took more than four years for Fette and Noakes’s regulatory bodies to exonerate them comprehensively. In Fettke’s case, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) apologised publicly.

Click here to read: Noakes exposed: Real beef dietitians have with him!


Compare that with the intransigence of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in its dealings with Noakes. Despite two of the HPCSA’s own committees comprehensively vindicating Noakes, the last case on appeal in 2018, it has yet to apologise. Or even to announce that ruling on its website.

Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) looks more efficient by comparison. It took two years to clear Dahlqvist in 2008.

Quebec nod to LCHF

Compared to all three, Quebec’s College of Physicians in Canada looks like it’s on steroids. It took fewer than eight months to clear Bourdua-Roy of any impropriety. And to give a nod to LCHF as part of obesity and diabetes treatment.

Baker headed the US medical regulators off at the pass. He voluntarily surrendered his licence in late 2017 after increasing attack from his hospital administration and competitors surgeons in the area. By June 2019, however, his medical regulatory body invited him to reapply for his licence – and quickly reinstated him.

Finland’s medical regulatory body, probably wisely, has chosen not even to try to prosecute Heikkilä for promoting LCHF and keto diets. However, it has also ignored relentless defamatory attacks on him by different groups.

Among those are dietitians, food and drug industries, the Finnish Diabetes Association (FDA) and the media.

Heikkilä’s books make waves

It’s probably no coincidence that attacks against Heikkilä began after publication of his first book on LCHF, Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes in 2008. He has revised and updated it under the title, Diabetes Remission Through Nutrition.

The Finnish Medical Journal also published a negative review. And when Heikkilä wrote in defense of the book, the journal chose not to publish it.  At the same time, he says, the FDA issued circulars to bookstores saying that “instructions for the extreme restriction of carbohydrates and insulin (can be) fatal”.

It is also probably not coincidental that attacks have resurged in the wake of his latest book, A Life Without Drugs, (Lääkkeettön Elämä). The state broadcasting company Yle and the private Helsingin Sanomat once again published negative “reviews”. Bookstores don’t want to stock it.

Finnish diabetes group pushback

FDA communications manager Johanna Häme-Sahinoja has denied any attempt to persuade bookstores to stop selling his books. However, communication in January 2019 between Häme-Sahinoja and a friend of Heikkilä’s, Moscow-based Finnish lawyer Jon Hellevig in January 2019, suggests otherwise.

In an email to Hellevig, Häme-Sahinoja expresses concern at “someone claiming that type 1 diabetes can be treated without insulin”. Such a claim can be “life-threatening”, she writes. The FDA has a duty to “rectify critically incorrect information that can be life-threatening to a diabetic”.

Yet Heikkilä’s books are very clearly aimed at treatment for type 2 diabetics. And he does not advise type 1 diabetic patients to go without insulin.

“That would be a dangerous, unscientific and crazy thing to do,” he says.

Hospital knives come out

Although Heikkilä knew establishment knives were once again out for him, what happened next surprised even him. The Eira Hospital, where Heikkilä has practised  for more than 35 years, suddenly forced him out.

On November 29 2018, Heikkilä received an email from hospital CEO Nella Ginman-Tjeder. In it, she advised him of the usual annual increased rental and he replied to accept. He says this was standard practice for all the time he has been a tenant.

A week later, he received a call from Eira Hospital chief physician Dr Mikael Railo. Railo said that the board had “unanimously dismissed” Heikkilä because of media coverage.

Via email, Eira Hospital CEO Nella Ginman-Tjeder claimed that the hospital had simply terminated his rental agreement “according to the mutual right to terminate”. She said that this was “standard procedure”.

What ‘crime’ did Heikkilä commit?

Ginman-Tjeder also claimed that the termination “was in no way related to Dr Heikkilä promoting ketogenic diets”. However, she refused to say whether the hospital supported LCHF and ketogenic diets for obesity and diabetes. She also declined to confirm or deny the content of Railo’s call to Heikkilä.

Of course, Hellevig can seem biased, as a friend of Heikkilä’s. However, as a lawyer, he knows about the need to have all his factual ducks in a row when building a case.

In a hard-hitting blog, Hellevig says Heikkilä has “fallen prey (to) an unprecedented persecution by Finland’s globalist elite”. His “crime”: to publish a book about “the importance of healthy lifestyles.”
The establishment “went berserk”, Hellevig writes, after publication of A Life Without Drugs.

Click here to read:  Does DAA target dissident dietitians with fake news?


He doesn’t hold back about those he thinks are behind that persecution. He fingers the media, in particular, Yle and Helsingin Sanomat. Hellevig calls the latter the country’s “leading totalitarian propaganda outlets”, popularly known as “the Pravda of Finland”. A more suitable name, he writes, would be the “Völkischer Beobachter” (National Observer). That’s a reference to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party newspaper in the 1920s).

Hyperbole to talk of ‘persecution’?

Secondly, Finnish medical doctors’ associations that Big Pharma sponsors and diabetes associations who don’t want to  “risk all those Big Pharma corporate junkets”, Hellevig says.

But is it hyperbole to call the attacks on Heikkilä “totalitarian persecution”. Hellevig doesn’t believe so.

The attacks recall the persecution of Galileo and those who dared to go against the doctrines of the Catholic Church and “every other authoritarian power structure”, he says.

The Galileo comparison cropped up in Noakes’s trial – that the public quickly dubbed “an inquisition” “Nutrition Trial of the 21st Century”. And research by Fettke and wife Belinda, during AHPRA’s case against him, has revealed insidious religious indoctrination at the heart of conventional dietary advice worldwide. In particular, the Fettkes exposed the contribution of the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s practice of so-called “medical evangelism“. They also exposed a sinister global nexus between the church and food and drug industries.

Hellevig says that Heikkilä’s case is the result of all that is wrong in Finnish society.

“Attacks on him are all about money, power, beliefs and hurt feelings,” he says.

People in positions of power and influence are likely to “remain in denial” that they have been wrong about the “core of (their) supposed knowledge, even on their death beds, he says.

Sickness in Finnish society

Hellevig says that this phenomenon is not restricted to Finland’s medical or scientific fraternities. It is “the same all over the Western world”.

There are “credible reports” of medical doctors being ostracized for their research, fired from their positions and being banned from publishing – or in a worst-case scenario, being killed – because they have gone against dogma, he says.

The point is not whether Heikkilä is right or wrong, Hellevig says – although he also says that he is sure that Heikkilä is right on the nutrition science.

Hellevig says that Heikkilä is being persecuted despite the evidence and simply for “presenting an alternative view”. And that is dangerous for the public as well as for doctors and scientists.



  1. We should always consider the possibility of making errors, be they deliberate (like in the case of most claims and pieces of research sponsored and arranged by the pharmaceutical industry) or not.
    Bizarrely, the article (BMJ 2017;357:j1892) that has been quoted above as the one mis-interpreted by Dr Heikkilä, is far from perfection itself. Its concluding motto (“The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged”), despite its flat tone, can hardly be seen enlightening. The incidence of on-coeliac gluten sensitivity/intolerance is much higher than that of coeliac disease, and the idea of not promoting gluten-free diets among those people does sound surprising.
    Anyway, the mistakes ostensibly made by Dr Heikkilä in his book do not look like a reason solid enough for firing him from Eira hospital. If his critics felt insulted, they could have opened a professional discussion rather than using administrative tools for oppression.

  2. Supposedly after Gary Fettke was pardoned, the Australian Heart Foundation backed off on their hating on saturated fats – though I don’t see much evidence of that on their website.

    Finland is right next to Sweden, you might think they’d notice what is happening next door. It seems always to be the case that people like dieticians who have a litany of failure invariably attack people who succeed.

  3. Please note: Foodmed.net does not allow comments from those giving false email addresses or using any other methods aimed at hiding identity. Such actions do not demonstrate good faith.

  4. Did I miss the part where Heikkilä explains if his book did or did not contain the number of factual errors his critics claim to have found in it?

  5. The criticism towards Heikkilä is based on the fact that his writings and talks have been shown to contain a lot of clearly false information. For example, a spreadsheet created by me demonstrates (in detail) more than 400 false claims that he has made: direct link to spreadsheet: http://bitly.com/heikkila.

    Antti Heikkilä’s most recent book “A Life Without Drugs” contained more than 80 false claims regarding nutrition and medical research. For example, he claimed that a BMJ study published in 2017 showed a positive association between gluten use and cardiovascular disease, while actually the paper showed an inverse association (BMJ 2017;357:j1892).

    Also, he claimed that according to a British study, almost one third of patients starting chemotherapy die within a month from the chemotherapy drugs. The study he cited didn’t support his claim at all, so it’s likely that Heikkilä had just completely misinterpreted the data (Br J Cancer 2011;104(1):60-7).

    For many months, Heikkilä completely denied the fact that his book contained misinformation, while actively insulting the critics. However, after six months of intense criticism towards his book, he suddenly published a new edition in which 40 of his false claims were omitted, thus confirming that the long-standing criticism toward his book had been valid.

    It’s sad that Heikkilä tries to present himself as a victim even though most of the negative media coverage about him has been directly in consequence to the fact that he has actively denied the major mistakes in his book and insulted his critics.

  6. You could do small background check of Hellevig. Might give some perspective. Yes in ideal world only message matters. We don’t live in ideal world.

  7. Preventative medicine kills…. repeat business.

    – For doctors, (For-Profit) Hospitals, Drug makers and even ‘Health Management Organizations/Insurance.

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