One of the most fascinating face-offs of the century is happening right now in South Africa for people around the globe who follow the politics of low-carb high-fat diets vs. conventional medical dietary guidelines.
And it all started with a simple tweet.
|Is this Photoshopped |
parody of Gerber baby food
so far off the mark?
On one side we have the South African medical mafia sponsored by Big Food companies like Kellogg's.
On the other, Professor Tim Noakes -- athlete, medical doctor, professor, author and banting advocate (banting is South Africa's exotic name for a low-carb high-fat diet).
So getting back to the tweet, here's what happened: Professor Noakes replied to a Twitter query posted by a mother seeking weaning advice, “Baby doesn’t eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween baby onto LCHF [Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet i.e Banting].”
Noakes' response struck a sour note with Claire Julsing-Strydom, former president of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). She alleged the doctor acted unethically by providing unconventional medical advice via social media, and the advice did not consider the specific health issues of the infant.
Aside from the fact that anyone who conflates a tweet with medical advice is unhinged, we suspect that if Noakes had told the mom to wean her baby on highly processed baby food cereal, it would have been dandy. When a gaggle of dietitians decree something is correct, it just is -- regardless of whether their clients get fatter or sicker following their advice.
The unprofessional conduct charge against Noakes lodged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) at the dietitian society's behest would be almost comical if so many people's wellness were not at stake.
Ironically, it is the dietitians -- not Professor Noakes -- whose ethics are questionable.
In recent years, companies like Kellogg's and Coca Cola have been outed for funneling money to medical "experts" to minimize their products' role in the rise of diabetes and other metabolic conditions. Even a pro-business magazine like Forbes was skeptical of a cardiologist who concluded sugar plays a much smaller role than exercise in causing obesity.
"Marked declines in physical activity . . is by far the major cause of obesity, not sugar and fast foods.” -- Dr. Carl Lavie
Though Dr. Lavie denied his conclusion was influenced by money he received from Coca Cola, the Forbes article included data that research funded by soft drink companies is five times less likely to blame sugar for causing obesity than that which is industry neutral.
Which brings us back to a more critical medical ethics issue the Noakes HPCSA hearing does not address. Conventional health advice -- including most western countries' dietary guidelines -- is bought and paid for by Big Food, which sponsors studies on which the findings are
Until dietitians, doctors and disease organizations stop taking money from corporations like Coca Cola and Kellogg's, they have no business questioning the ethics of medical doctors and nutrition researchers who disagree with them.
You can keep up with the Noakes hearing daily by following journalist @MarikaSboros on Twitter and reading her recap articles on the hearing here.
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