Sunday Times

Noakes angered ‘Big Sugar’, says US fitness guru


“BIG Sugar” is behind the campaign to discredit Banting champion Tim Noakes, says a US investigat­ion.

Its report links the Internatio­nal Life Sciences Institute (Ilsi), a “Coca-Cola proxy”, to key figures in the Health Profession­s Council of South Africa disciplina­ry process against Noakes.

But Claire Strydom, who reported Noakes for unprofessi­onal conduct on behalf of the Associatio­n of Dietetics in South Africa, said: “I am disappoint­ed that anyone would publish these baseless conspiracy theories.”

The report, Big Food vs Tim Noakes: The Final Crusade, is by Russ Greene, of fitness business CrossFit, who travelled to Cape Town to interview Noakes and said he had spent up to 150 hours on the investigat­ion.

But he admitted he had not approached any of the individual­s or organisati­ons his investigat­ion points the finger at. “I knew . . . it was very unlikely that they would respond to me,” he said.

Saying “it is hard to say where Cocagood Cola ends and where Greene reports:

Food giant Kellogg’s, a member of Ilsi, sponsored Strydom’s company, Nutrition Solutions;

Retired North-West University nutrition professor Esté Vorster, who gave evidence against Noakes, was president of Ilsi South Africa from 1997 to 2001 and a member of the South African Sugar Associatio­n’s scientific panel;

Ali Dhansay, director of the nutritiona­l interventi­on research unit at the Medical Research Council and an expert witness against Noakes, was president of Ilsi South Africa in 2013;

Salomé Kruger, an expert witness, accepted South African Sugar Associatio­n funding for a study which found that “physical inactivity”, not overeating, was the “major determinan­t of obesity in black women in the North West province”; and

Another 17 South Africans involved in the Associatio­n of Dietetics in South Africa, in compiling South African dietary guidelines or working for the Department of Health, had links with Ilsi or big food companies.

“The food industry is attempting to use Dr Noakes in order to set an example to anyone who dares challenge its authority in nutrition,” the report says.

“To some, the Noakes trial may look like fascist speech repression in promotion of toxic products, but for Coca-Cola and its proxies, it is just Ilsi starts”, TARGET: Tim Noakes is the subject of an HPCSA disciplina­ry hearing SLEUTH: Russ Greene tracked down the sponsors of Noakes’s critics business.”

This week Noakes — who was reported to the HPCSA after he tweeted that babies should be weaned on to lowcarbohy­drate diets — said: “I hope that they [Greene] are correct but this will come out in the future.”

Ilsi South Africa said it did not have “activities related to infant nutrition, nor has it ever addressed the health effects of low-carbohydra­te diets. Further, Ilsi South Africa has never been part of any discussion [on Noakes].”

Dhansay and Vorster declined to comment. Kruger said scientists had always advised industry and Noakes had accepted funding similar to hers.

Zipporah Maubane, Coca-Cola communicat­ions chief in East and Southern Africa, said: “The allegation­s of impropriet­y by Coca-Cola are speculativ­e, uninformed and inaccurate and we categorica­lly reject the implicatio­n that the Coca-Cola Company has influenced the proceeding­s against Prof Noakes.”

Kellogg’s did not respond to queries.

The trial may look like fascist speech repression, but for Coca-Cola and its proxies, it is just good business

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