Cape town-151126-Professor Tim Noakes during the hearing over the professiona conduct hearing of Banting Diet advocate Tim Noakes in Rondebosch-Picture by BHEKI RADEBE
Cape town-151126-Professor Tim Noakes during the hearing over the professiona conduct hearing of Banting Diet advocate Tim Noakes in Rondebosch-Picture by BHEKI RADEBE

No link between fat, heart disease - Noakes

By Renee Moodie Time of article published Feb 11, 2016

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 Cape Town - There was no evidence that there is a relationship between blood cholesterol and heart disease.

Professor Tim Noakes said this in a disciplinary committee of the Health Professions Council of SA on Thursday. He is facing a charge of professional misconduct from a tweet he wrote in February 2014, in which he was said to have given unconventional advice.

The UCT sports scientist spent much of the day outlining the science around the links between nutrition, heart disease and diabetes.

He explained that many nutritional studies were associational studies in which it was hard to establish causal links between various factors. If an associational study seemed valid, the next step would be do a randomised trial or an intervention study - for example, by having study subjects stop smoking so you could track the effects of that.

He said the standard model was that fat leads to elevated total cholesterol which leads to clogged arteries which leads to heart problems - but these four steps had never been proven.

He said he was often asked what the evidence was for his views - but what should rather be looked at was the lack of evidence for the conventional viewpoint which was simply taught as a dogma in medical schools, Noakes took the committee though scientific studies which he said showed there was no link between cholesterol and heart disease.

'My evidence is that the conventional view is wrong. Saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease.”

He also looked at the way in which studies which linked sugar to heart disease had been discredited.

The afternoon was interrupted by an objection from the pro forma complainants' lawyer, Ajay Bhoopchand, that much of the evidence given by Noakes was irrelevant to the charge. This objection was overturned by chairwoman Joan Adams who said that while the charge appeared simple, there was much complex science involved.

The last part of the proceedings was taken up with discussing the possible evidence of Canadian professor Stephen Cunnane, who Noakes's laywers wanted to call on Friday morning.

Bhoopchand objeced that he should have been informed of this earlier, and it was decided not to call Cunnane yet.

The hearing resumes at 10am on Friday.

IOL

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