Noakes petition may save his bacon
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Cape Town - An online petition in support of Professor Tim Noakes, who faces an inquiry by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) over his high-fat diet advice, on Saturday reached its goal of 5 000 signatories.
Noakes, the author of the best-selling Banting book The Real Meal Revolution and a leading proponent of a low-carb high-fat diet, will appear before the HPCSA in June over a tweet he sent last year.
In the tweet, Noakes advised a mother to have her baby follow a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates.
This week he said:
“She was asking for advice on what to feed her child and I advised her to wean the child on to low carbohydrate, high protein, nutrient-dense food. By that I was implying that she shouldn’t wean the child on to cereals.”
Noakes maintains such diets are far healthier than high-carb low-fat diets.
The petition on the website avaaz.org was launched on Thursday, ahead of Noakes’s hearing on June 4 and 5. It asked signatories to “show your support for Prof Tim Noakes and his campaign for improving eating guidelines for infants and adults”.
The petition, which received support from countries around the world, including Sweden and the UK, claims that Noakes has been “denigrated in the media” for his views.
“However, the groundswell of support by people following the Banting diet is overwhelming and cannot be ignored.”
The complaint against Noakes was laid with the HSPCA by the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) last year.
The group has chosen not to comment ahead of the hearing.
The HSPCSA is a body that regulates all health professionals in the country, who are required to register with it.
This includes the regulation of “professional conduct and ethical behaviour”.
Noakes, who is active on social media and has more than 56 000 followers on Twitter, posted links to the petition urging his followers to support him.
“The truth is certainly with us. The force will follow. Just a matter of time,” he tweeted the day the petition was launched.
Later the same day he followed up with: “Not about me. It’s about constitutional freedom to search for, discover and present truth without fear of persecution.”
He previously told the Cape Argus that he welcomed the hearing: “I know the biology of a child and I know there is nothing they can say that will challenge my research,” he said.
Noakes, who falls under the HSPCA because he is a doctor, although he hasn’t practised in years, said the stakes at the hearing were higher for the HSPCA than for him.
“If I prove them wrong, I’m not just proving a few dietitians wrong, I’m proving that the old way of thinking about diets was incorrect.”