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

Noakes gets his day on the stand

By Renee Moodie Time of article published Feb 10, 2016

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Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes finally has his chance to have his say in the Health Professions Council of SA disciplinary hearing against him.

The sports scientist has begun his evidence before the committee - and it promises to be a lengthy affair. A 10-point slide outlining what he intends to cover begins with his CV and ends with a point about the personal consequences of the hearing.

The hearing arises from a Twitter exchange in February 2014 in which the low carb high fat (LCHF) diet was discussed in relation to breastfeeding mothers and weaning babies.

Noakes faces losing his licence as a medical doctor (though he had not practiced for many years) if he is found guilty of unprofessional conduct.

He is being taken through his CV by lawyer Rocky Ramdass.

Specific research projects he has been involved in have been explored.

Noakes has told the committee that he is an A1-rated scientist, which means he is a leading scientist in the world on exercise science and nutrition.

Many of his studies in the early years were into the relationship between carbohydrates and exercise, He described his 2010 Damascus moment, when he realised that he had been fooling himself on carbs.

He told the committee that when he started talking about low carb diets, people started writing to him with stories of the dramatic difference the diet had made in their lives. 

"This is anecdotal but people's lives had been dramatically changed. As a doctor my responsibility is to report these anecdotes. I wrote up the anecdotes as a survey, but our our responsibility is to fund a randomised study to check if this is true. How had a man reversed his diabetes? Our profession says diabetes is irreversible."

Boxes with the letters were brought in by Noakes's lawyers but were taken out again after an objection from the pro forma complainant advocate Ajay Bhoopchand. 

He described his early years as a student, when he found that he wanted to be world class in whatever he did. 

"My interest was in new information and in educating people. We seemed to spend a lot of money with outcomes that didn't work - there were brilliant doctors - but I didn't want to be one of them, I wanted to be someone who makes a difference in the health of a nation. I thought sport was the way to go - sport could produce healthy and united nation." 

Noakes's evidence continues. 

The hearing runs till February 17.

IOL

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