Noakes's advice wholly inappropriate, irresponsible - expert

Cape Town - An advisory on The Real Meal Revolution website warning infants and children not to bant has seemingly been removed from the frequently asked questions section, an expert witness testified on Friday.

Professor Muhammad Ali Dhansay said a caution had initially been listed, stating that people with medical issues who had not been given consent from their doctor to bant, those with lean physiques, those who did regular high intensity exercise, people with no weight problems, as well as infants and children should avoid banting.

However, the reference to infants and children is not currently listed.

Professor Tim Noakes, whose book The Real Meal Revolution, promotes a low carb, high fat (LCHF) lifestyle, was called before the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) after a complaint was lodged by the Association for Dietetics in South Africa’s (ADSA) former president Claire Julsing-Strydom.

The complaint centres on a tweet from Noakes to a mother who asked what foods she should feed her baby.

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

Unconventional advice

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".

Dhansay, a former chairperson of the Medical Research Council, reiterated two previous experts’ testimony that Noakes' recommendation went against acceptable dietary advice for infants.

He said it is "wholly inappropriate and irresponsible".

Arguments that Noakes’s low carb, high fat diet was not evidence-based were also earlier slammed by his legal team, who insisted that proof on his research was available in both his books.

This after expert witness Professor Este Vorster was unable to provide evidence which substantiates that a LCHF diet is potentially harmful or life threatening, when pressed by advocate Ravin Ramdass.

When she offered to collate and present this at a later stage of the hearing, Ramdass countered that she had had six months to do this.

He claimed there was no evidence of LCHF diets being harmful.

During her testimony on Thursday, Vorster said Noakes could not give convincing evidence that his was the optimal diet for lactating mothers.

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