Fettke will in crusade
DESPITE a ban on giving nutritional advice to patients, prominent Tasmanian surgeon Gary Fettke will not be silenced.
The Launceston surgeon has given his first Australian public talk since the nation’s medical watchdog last year ordered him to stop giving nutritional advice to patients for the rest of his medical career.
At the invitation of the Lower Sandy Bay branch of the Liberal Party, Dr Fettke addressed a luncheon on Friday about the benefits of “real food” and the Healthy Tasmania five-year plan.
He said he was merely talking “common sense” to people who wanted to know how lifestyle choices affected health.
“All I have done is dared to describe real food as being fresh, local and seasonal,” he said.
“That, by definition, is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, has a healthy amount of natural fat and isn’t highly processed.”
Dr Fettke is renowned on the low-carbohydrate healthyfat (LCHF) scene, with followers taking guidance from his principles about the role of nutrition in preventive health.
His website already had a wide following before authorities gagged him, and there has been a groundswell of support since.
His situation has been highlighted by BBC World News and he recently returned from speaking at a medical conference in the United States.
“This has become an international scandal,” he said.
He spoke at the Liberal Party luncheon because he was asked, not because of politics.
“A couple of members asked me to come along and speak because they have been following LCHF ( Low Carb Healthy Fat) lifestyle.
“They think the Liberal Party community should be made aware of it being a choice.”
While not wanting to directly defy the ban on giving nutrition advice to patients, he said he felt comfortable speaking to an audience about gen- eral principles. He said the effect of too much sugar in the body was like “toasting” your body, particularly in poorly controlled diabetes.
Dr Fettke said high sugar levels were effectively exposing organs to the “Maillard reaction”, which is a chemical reaction when protein and sugars are heated and leads to the browning of food.
“Every time you have too much sugar in your body, you are doing this [toasting] every bit of your body,” he said.
“Is it any wonder we have so much modern disease?”
Dr Fettke became a passionate advocate of LCHF diets after seeing so many diabetes patients who were coming to him for surgery whose underlying problem was diet related.
But his advice led to a twoyear investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
AHPRA told Dr Fettke: “There is nothing associated with your medical training or education that makes you an expert or authority in the field