No social media guidelines for health practitioners exist - Noakes

2016-10-17 19:01
Michael van der Nest, Professor Tim Noakes and Ravin Ramdass at the hearing. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Michael van der Nest, Professor Tim Noakes and Ravin Ramdass at the hearing. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes has never received social media guidelines from the Health Professions Council of SA, he said on Monday.

To his knowledge, no HPCSA social media rules exist, the banting advocate told a hearing into his conduct.

Noakes - whose book The Real Meal Revolution promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet - was charged with giving unconventional medical advice via Twitter after he advised a breastfeeding mother to wean her baby onto LCHF two years ago.

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.

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


READ: If you eat every three hours, you are eating addictively - Noakes

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 has almost 77 500 followers on the social network, on which he regularly shares articles and research supporting the banting diet.

Earlier in the hearing, which started in 2015, witnesses for the HPCSA said a consultation was required before any advice could be given or diagnosis made.

Former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom, brought the complaint.

Noakes questioned why Leenstra, who ostensibly could have suffered harm, did not lay the charge. He argued he did not give advice on breastfeeding, but on weaning.

Noakes alleged that Julsing-Strydom’s complaint was not centred on breastfeeding, but on the diet he advocates in his book, of which she did not approve.

The HPCSA argues that Noakes gave unconventional and unscientific advice, and was unprofessional in his conduct for dispensing the advice via social media.

Earlier, chairperson Joan Adams allowed Noakes to introduce two international witnesses to testify in his defence, despite objections about their relevance and the timing of their inclusion.

Dr Zoe Harcombe, from London, is a diet and health researcher. According to her website she is an author, blogger, and public speaker, with proficiency in public health dietary guidelines.

Nina Teicholz, from New York, is an investigative journalist. She is the author of The Big Fat Surprise, which "explains the politics, personalities, and history of how we came to believe that dietary fat is bad for health".

Adams ruled that the objection to their inclusion in the hearing be dismissed.

“This is a serious charge, serious enough to warrant a prosecution from the council. To date it has cost millions of rand and has drawn serious media attention,” she said.

“There are serious consequences for the complainant and the respondent.”

She said Noakes had a constitutional right and was entitled to call witnesses or lead evidence to assist him to conduct his defence.

The hearing continues on Tuesday.

WATCH the video:

Read more on:    tim noakes  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.