I have made no money from banting books - Noakes

2016-02-10 18:04
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes stressed on Wednesday that he had personally not made a cent from his banting books and that his sole intention was to educate people to be more healthy.

"People are looking for anything so that they can say he is advancing his [own interests],” he told the Health Professions Council of SA's (HPCSA's) professional conduct committee.

"I don’t write books to make money. All the money made has gone to two foundations. I don’t receive any royalties."

Noakes - whose book The Real Meal Revolution promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet - was called before the council after a complaint was lodged by the former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom.

The complaint was prompted by a tweet Noakes sent to a Pippa Leenstra after she asked him for advice on feeding babies and on breastfeeding.

'I offered general information'

Her tweet read: "@ProfTimNoakes @SalCreed is LCHF eating ok for breastfeeding mums? Worried about all the dairy + cauliflower = wind for babies?? [sic]"

Noakes advised her to wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as "real" foods.

His tweet read: "Baby doesn't eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween [sic] baby onto LCHF."

He is accused of giving unconventional and unscientific advice, and of unprofessional conduct for dispensing the advice via social media.

According to witnesses called by the HPCSA, a consultation was required before any diagnosis could me made or advice given.

Noakes said that in his opinion Leenstra had contacted him in his capacity as the author of the book.

"I gave my scientific opinion on the question," he said. "I didn’t for one minute think she was asking for a medical opinion. It was not an 'I' question. I offered general information."

There were no studies proving that LCHF diets were harmful, he said, and he had also never told the mother not to breastfeed.

Noakes holds an A1 rating in his field, but changed focus to nutrition and last year still maintained this rating, which places him among the best in the world.

'I provided the science'

He said he expected the HPCSA to have dismissed the complaint as it had no scientific proof to back up the claim.

"But a seven-word tweet has led to this million rand hearing," Noakes said.

Noakes has been listed as the 38th most followed scientist on Twitter, and the 30th most important tweeter on obesity.

"The future of medicine lies on the internet and social media. That is where people will get their information - in the wisdom of the crowds.

"If it doesn’t work, it will be exposed in weeks."

The complaint, Noakes testified, was irrational.

"There is no science behind it. In my response [to the complaint] I provided the science."

The hearing continues on Thursday.

Read more on:    tim noakes  |  cape town  |  health

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