Professor Tim Noakes with his lawyer Rocky Ramdass. Picture: Brenton Geach

Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes received the first dose of what promises to be a grilling at the hands of the HPCSA on Tuesday afternoon.

Noakes is appearing before a committee hearing into his professional conduct after he tweeted saying breast-feeding mothers should wean babies on to a Banting diet.

Noakes presented his evidence on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. He walked the committee through various studies and anecdotal evidence which support the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet.

Noakes said giving evidence has been "very cathartic" for him.

"If I've achieved anything in this hearing it is to give the evidence in its totality. What we are teaching in our medical and dietetics schools is not cutting edge. If I can get that out there, then all the money I've spent on this trial and everything I've suffered will have been worth it."

During cross-examination, doctor-turned-advocate Ajay Bhoopchand, representing the HPCSA, questioned Noakes on minute details of the case, often repeating questions three times to the obvious frustration of Noakes's supporters in the room.

Bhoopchand examined the original tweet where Pippa Leenstra had asked Noakes and his Real Meal Revolution co-author Sally-Ann Creed two questions: first, whether a low-carb high-fat diet was safe for breast-feeding mothers, and second, whether a mother eating dairy and cauliflower would cause wind in the breast-feeding baby.

Bhoopchand pointed out that Noakes did not answer either of these questions in his responding tweet, which read: "Baby doesn't eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to wean baby onto LCHF".

Noakes said he didn't know the answer to whether cauliflower caused wind in infants, and left that for Creed to answer.

He pointed out LCHF foods tied up perfectly with part of the advice given in current South African dietary guidelines, which recommend that from six months of age, one should "give your baby meat, chicken, fish or egg as often as possible".

Just before 4pm, Bhoopchand agreed to wrap up early and let everybody go home.

"I'm assuming Prof Noakes has had a bad day," he said.

But Noakes bit back, saying he was fighting fit thanks to the fat-fuelled diet. "We are ketogenic - we can go on all night," he said.

Cape Argus