Noakes’ ad­vice ir­re­spon­si­ble, says sci­en­tist

Pro­fes­sor’s tweet to breast-feed­ing mother slammed at hear­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SIPOKAZI FOKAZI

PRO­FES­SOR Tim Noakes took some flak yes­ter­day for his low­carb high- fat ( LCHF) diet ad­vice from a top sci­en­tist with the SA Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil (MRC), who branded his ac­tions “wholly in­ap­pro­pri­ate and ir­re­spon­si­ble”.

As such, said Pro­fes­sor Muham­mad Ali Dhansay, spe­cial­ist sci­en­tist and unit di­rec­tor of the MRC’s Bur­den of Dis­ease Re­search Unit, Noakes should with­draw Twit­ter ad­vice to a breast- feed­ing mother that she wean her young baby on a LCHF diet.

The con­tro­versy con­tin­ued through the week dur­ing a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing by the Health Pro­fes­sions Coun­cil of South Africa into Noakes’s pro­fes­sional con­duct.

Ac­cord­ing to the ev­i­dence of Dhansay, who was the third wit­ness to ques­tion Noakes’s ad­vice this week, his ad­vice not only lacked de­tail, but also went against the pre­cepts of di­etary guide­lines, both in South Africa and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

The in­quiry fol­lows a com­plaint against Noakes af­ter his tweet last year, when the Bant­ing ad­vo­cate ad­vised Pippa Leen­stra as fol­lows: “Baby doesn’t eat dairy and cau­li­flower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween (sic) baby into LCHF.”

Dhansay told the hear­ing it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate for Noakes to pro­vide such ad­vice with­out know­ing the back­ground or med­i­cal history of the baby.

In South Africa, where there was a great deal of in­equal­ity that af­fected the health of in­fants, in­clud­ing a high rate of stunt­ing, it was par­tic­u­larly in­ap­pro­pri­ate to give such ad­vice.

“Our coun­try has a high preva­lence of stunt­ing, and such ad­vice could lead to stunted growth if women fol­low such ad­vice,” he charged.

Dhansay claimed that there was ev­i­dence that showed that LCHF, which was also re­ferred to as the ke­to­genic diet in med­i­cal terms, was as­so­ci­ated with growth de­fi­ciency in young chil­dren.

“Pro­fes­sor Noakes’s ac­tions showed that he doesn’t have an in-depth knowl­edge of all nu­tri­tional prob­lems in South Africa. It is not sci­en­tif­i­cally based and was in­cor­rect. His wrong ad­vice is there in the Twit­ter­sphere. He should be asked to re­tract his ad­vice on Twit­ter. It lacked de­tail,” he said.

Dhansay, how­ever, went on to ad­mit he also didn’t have in­depth ex­pe­ri­ence of the ke­to­genic diet, hav­ing dealt with only two cases when he worked as a doc­tor at Tyger­berg Hos­pi­tal in the 1980s.

But he knew that ev­i­dence showed that some of its side ef­fects in­cluded aci­do­sis, de­hy­dra­tion, growth re­tar­da­tion and kid­ney stones.

Dhansay also pointed out that Noakes’s ad­vice was con­tra­dic­tory to the disclaimer he had in his book, Real Meal Revo­lu­tion, and on his web­site, where he stated that the LCHF diet should not be used by in­fants and tod­dlers. The disclaimer also says the LCHF diet should also not be used by lean peo­ple or those with un­der­ly­ing health con­di­tions, or those who en­gaged in high­in­ten­sity ex­er­cise.

“This disclaimer is con­trary to his ad­vice to the breast-feed­ing mother. The ques­tion to my­self is why not Bant if you an in­fant?” he asked

Dhansay added that this disclaimer on Noakes’s web­site had since been re­moved.

FLAK: Pro­fes­sor Tim Noakes dur­ing the hear­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.