Tweet too short for medical advice, Noakes hearing told

2015-11-25 17:29
Tim Noakes (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Tim Noakes (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Twitter opinion divided on Banting as Noakes hearing continues

2015-11-24 13:27

Banting maven Prof Tim Noakes faces the heat in a hearing regarding the infamous banting diet.WATCH

Cape Town - A tweet of only 140 characters is too short to give complete advice that will be usable and safe, expert witness Professor Este Vorster said during a hearing against Professor Tim Noakes on Wednesday.

"I stand by [the contention] that it was unprofessional as a registered health professional to give [such] unconventional advice and I don't think social media is a correct medium to give it," Vorster reiterated on day three of the hearing.

Noakes is appearing before the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) after being charged with unprofessional conduct.

Earlier this year, Noakes - in a message posted on Twitter - advised a mother to wean her child on low carbohydrate, high fat foods.

The 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."

According to the HPCSA, he acted in a manner not in accordance with the norms and standards of the profession, by providing "unconventional advice on breast feeding babies".

The advice given by Noakes went against acceptable dietary advice, Vorster said.

"He could not give convincing evidence that it is the optimal diet for lactating mothers," she added.

If she were asked dietary advice via Twitter, Vorster said she would refer the person to a registered dietitian.

But advocate Ravin Ramdass, for Noakes, pointed out that Vorster had limited knowledge of Twitter and had never practiced as a dietitian or a nutritionist.

Vorster countered that while she has never been in a doctor-patient situation as she has never practiced, "I have taught ethics on how to act professionally".  

"Is that the only way that you can be an expert, by practice and not theory?" she asked.

When pushed for an answer, she conceded that she had not been in such a situation.

Vorster said she is rated a B1 researcher, while Noakes holds an A1 rating, which she confirmed is higher than hers and puts him among the top scientists in the world.

The matter resumes on Thursday.

Read more on:    hpsca  |  tim noakes  |  cape town  |  health

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