Professor Tim Noakes

CHILDREN should not be on low-fat diets as their bodies need vital vitamins which can only be absorbed by fat, the hearing into Professor Tim Noakes’s conduct was told
yesterday.

Nina Teicholz, investigative journalist and author of The Big Fat Surprise, was on the stand in Noakes’s hearing, where he is accused of unprofessional conduct by the Health Professionals Council of SA.

Teicholz said the only way she could see the world overcoming the obesity and diabetes epidemic was if people went back to eating like they did in 1965, before carbohydrate-based dietary guidelines came into play.

Noakes is facing a charge of unprofessional conduct after he responded to Pippa Leenstra’s tweet that babies should be weaned on to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet.

Leenstra had tweeted him and nutritional therapist Sally-Ann Creed asking if it was safe for breast-feeding mothers to be on the Banting diet.

Noakes tweeted back: “Baby doesn’t eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to wean baby on to LCHF.”

Claire Julsing Strydom, former president of the Association of Dieticians of SA, approached the Health Professionals Council of SA and they laid the complaint against Noakes.

Teicholz took a decade to research and write her book, which was received with international acclaim when it was published.

During the course of her research she discovered that the work of many “unconventional” scientists had been swept under the carpet, they battled to have their work published and were often unnecessarily sensitised.

Teicholz, and fellow expert witness Dr Zoe Harcombe, said Noakes was a brilliant scientist, acknowledged internationally and what he was being put through was a shame.

Teicholz said children were clearly of special concern and had different nutritional needs than the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets in the dietary guidelines.

“They are vulnerable and have little or no choice about what they eat,” she said.

The evidence was that children benefit from a high-fat diet because Vitamins A B D and K can only be absorbed into the body when consumed with fats.

She said before the obesity epidemic people ate more protein and fats, since the grain-based dietary guidelines people had become fatter and were told to eat less and exercise more.

Unfortunately, even though they ate less the biggest part of the diet was still carbohydrate-based, and carbohydrates are sugars.

Evidence has shown that sugar causes heart disease.

So even though people stuck to the guidelines they were not losing weight, in fact they were gaining weight. There had to be a shift in advice she said.

The hearing is expected to continue today.

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