Industry-funded research profoundly biased - Noakes

2016-10-20 19:05

(Sarah Graham)

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Cape Town - All published research literature on nutrition is funded by industry and is profoundly biased, Professor Tim Noakes said on Thursday.

"If they have an interest in the outcome, the outcome is likely to be flawed," he testified during a conduct hearing at the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

"For 33 years, I couldn’t see my bias. I like to think I am an extremely ethical person, but I couldn’t see it."

Noakes was being cross-examined by advocate Ajay Bhoopchand, for the HPCSA, about research studies he had done in his career. He said he had never acted unethically.

Noakes insisted that businesses funded studies which helped sell their products.

"Assume that every study funded by industry is suspect, unless proved otherwise."

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

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

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.

'I was not dealt a fair hand'

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."

Noakes argued during the hearing that his advice was anything but unconventional, quoting research from as far back as the 1800s, before the boom in obesity rates.

He said the HPCSA had treated him unfairly and not given him the opportunity to defend himself in a preliminary trial.

"I was not dealt a fair hand," he said.

Noakes pointed out that the hearing had cost him and the HPCSA millions of rands, even though he "did not harm anyone". He believed he was targeted because of his celebrity status.

"[Leenstra] took no harm from this. The only people who took harm from this was myself and my family."

He insisted the LCHF diet was not dangerous.

The hearing continues on Friday.

 

Read more on:    hpcsa  |  tim noakes  |  health

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