Prof Noakes: A career characterised by challenging beliefs. A summary of the trial.

For a full breakdown of what happened on each day of the trial, please read here.

The takeaway points from the trial (8 – 16 February 2016):

  1. Prof Noakes was charged for unprofessional conduct for giving unconventional advice to a breastfeeding mother (Pippa Leenstra) over twitter when he suggested that she wean her baby onto low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) foods (meat and vegetables) instead of cereal.
  2. A charge of unprofessional conduct is usually reserved for doctors who are fraudsters or murderers.
  3. Due to the content of the e-mail evidence, it was implied that the UCT and Wits academics conspired against Prof Noakes.
  4. To date HPCSA Preliminary Inquiry Committee chair Wits Prof Ames Dhai hasn’t given reasons why Prof Noakes was charged.
  5. Chair Joan Adams said that Prof Noakes’ had a constitutional right to information on how the HPCSA Preliminary Committee decided to charge him.
  6. The breastfeeding mother didn’t ask for confidential advice as she posed the question in the plural, “breast feeding mums.”
  7. Prof Noakes has over 60 000 followers on twitter and he is ranked as the 30th most important obesity tweeter in the world.
  8. Prof Noakes is an A1 rated scientist in exercise science and nutrition with a total H-score of 67. Prof Noakes is doing world-first research on nutrition.
  9. Prof Noakes spent a year researching infant nutrition for Raising Superheroes and 40 years before that on biochemistry and physiology. In his opinion, it is one of the best books on infant nutrition.
  10. Every cent from every book he has written, plus lectures goes to two foundations – the Noakes Foundation and the Foundation for Sports Research.
  11. None of the members of the HPCSA Preliminary Committee who charged him for his tweets has a twitter account.
  12. Prof Noakes said that the HPCSA framed the charge to seem like he gave unconventional advice. But, he didn’t say wean children onto LCHF ketogenic diets.
  13. Prof Noakes says that insulin resistance is the most prevalent condition on planet earth. It is a big problem that dietary guideline do not take it into account or promote restricting carbs in the treatment of diabetes
  14. Prof Noakes said that humans have a natural desire for fat, but this desire was taken away when fat was demonised in 1977. When fat is taken out of food it needs to be replaced with sugar otherwise people won’t accept it.
  15. Ancel Keys said that the cause of heart disease was fat, but he only took data from seven countries instead of 22. John Yudkin said it was sugar, but no one believed him because the sugar industry made sure that no one asked the right questions. Because of this, the rate of heart disease increased in the US.
  16. Prof Noakes said that the assumption that saturated fat causes heart disease is perhaps the greatest scientific myth of the century as our bodies are made up of stable saturated fats.
  17. Prof Noakes stated that insulin resistance and not cholesterol is a better marker of heart disease.
  18. He said that heart disease won’t be solved through cardiology, but through understanding non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  19. In time, cancer and dementia will be understood as diseases of insulin resistance.
  20. Prof Noakes reiterated that Banting is not a “fad diet” as it is the original diet that has stood the test of time. It was the first medical diet prescribed in 1890.
  21. Prof Noakes said that in a perfectly regulated system you don’t get fat because you do less exercise. Obesity is a brain disorder because the appestat (the part of the brain that controls hunger) fails. Therefore, the current obesity model is wrong.
  22. Diabetes is out of control in the Western Cape. The coloured population has the 2nd highest prevalence and they are exposed to a high-carb, high-sugar diet.
  23. The current management of diabetes shows that treatment isn’t working. It needs to change.
  24. The food industry and sports drink industry corrupt the public health message and manipulate science to suit themselves. They do this by buying scientists and doctors to skew the evidence in their favour. Coca-Cola set up a front – the Global Energy Balance Network – to control the message about obesity and exercise, but they were exposed.
  25. The evidence showed that the food industry played a huge role in the SA dietary guidelines.
  26. The sponsors of ADSA, to which the complainant Claire Strydom is linked, are the sugar industry – Huletts and Kellogg’s.
  27. Prof Noakes said that sugar is an unnecessary component of the diet. It is addictive and can’t be eaten in moderation.
  28. In a study by Nicole Avena sugar was put into the same class as heroin and cocaine with regards to neurochemical changes.
  29. New data shows that too little fat is causing obesity in children.
  30. There is new evidence to show that our guts are designed for carnivorous, not plant, eating.
  31. Prof Noakes presented the evidence of the importance of carnivory (meat-eating) for children.
  32. In her book, “Inventing Baby Food, Amy Bentley, uncovered how the baby food industry changed the dietary landscape by getting doctors and dietitians to endorse “gateway” foods.
  33. Amy Bentley says, “Feeding infants foods such as bland, highly processed rice cereal, puts them on a pathway to a lifetime of consumption of highly processed unhealthy calories, which is one cause of the rising rates of overweight, obesity, and related diseases such as diabetes.”
  34. In her book, “The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business”, Gabrielle Palmer describes how big business uses subtle techniques to pressure parents to use alternatives to breastmilk.
  35. In an article compiled by HSPCA expert witness, Prof Salome Kruger, she agrees that obesity in children is a result of a combination of poor breastfeeding, complementary feeding practices and the poor quality of the complementary diet, which includes the introduction of maize-based cereal and food sources low in meat, vegetables, fruit and omega-3 fatty acids.
  36. Prof Noakes showed that the HPCSA’s own expert witnesses recommended the same as he does for infants: meat, fish, chicken and eggs daily.
  37. 200 thousand years ago the introduction of nutrient-dense fish saw human brain-size increase, but with the introduction of grains 12 thousand years ago brain size has decreased.
  38. Prof Noakes said that breast milk contains so much fat because the baby needs it for brain growth.
  39. Prof Noakes quoted the research by the HPCSA’s own experts stating that “fat is an important part of the diet for infants and young children.” And that according to HPCSA’s experts on infant feeding it is crucial to ensure an adequate intake of fat – which is exactly what he says.
  40. Prof Noakes said that the SA dietary guidelines don't emphasise enough the importance of fat for infant It is utterly unfair to burden the poor with unhealthy foods. The government must subsidise real food.
  41. Prof Noakes said that the weaning guidelines in Raising Superheroes are based on sound, peer-reviewed scientific evidence with the aim of developing intelligent children by feeding them properly from birth.
  42. Prof Alan Greene from Stanford University said that ending white rice cereal for babies offers a critically timed, developmentally syntonic approach to reversing the obesity epidemic for coming generations.
  43. Prof Noakes said that carbs are only a principal energy source if you eat them. If you don’t, fats become your source, as this is the natural state of humans. There is no need to eat carbs, because the liver naturally produces all the glucose you need for brain function.
  44. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain says that grains (even ‘healthy’ ones can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety and kill brain cells.
  45. Dr Alessio Fasano, is one of the leading gluten sensitivity researchers in the world and is responsible for discovering the gluten/leaky gut connection. Fasano says that the future of medicine lies in the gut – all disease begins in the gut. Hippocrates said it first.
  46. Prof Noakes said that the advice to wean infants onto cereals and grains is unscientific – the evidence of harm is strong.
  47. Prof Noakes referred to the work of Canadian ketosis expert, Prof Stephen Cunnane, who stated that glucose is not the preferred source for brain fuel. “In human fetuses at mid-gestation, ketones are not just an alternative fuel but appear to be an essential fuel because they supply as much as 30% of the energy requirement of the brain at that age.”
  48. Prof Noakes said that dietary guidelines must make sure that we maximise brain growth in the first few months of an infant’s life.
  49. Prof Noakes said that formula milk prevents ketosis, which is not what we want. We want a child exposed to more ketones. Fat metabolism is normal therefore we shouldn’t want to transition children to carb metabolism
  50. Prof Noakes said that dietitians advise high-carb diets to diabetics because the brain needs glucose. They believe carbs are the best source, which is nonsense.
  51. Prof Noakes reviewed the research by Dr Weston A Price on traditional diets and the effects of modern, industrial diets on dental health.
  52. Prof Noakes provided evidence by Dr Caryn Zinn that a so-called “healthy-balanced diet” is nutrient deficient compared to LCHF.
  53. Prof Noakes said that anecdote is driving the future of medicine. It gains power if it conflicts with conventional thinking. There is power in anecdotes. One LCHF Banting Facebook group has 160 000 people writing about their experiences.
  54. Prof Noakes said that the responsibility of scientists is not to ignore the anecdotes from morbidly obese people who have lost weight through LCHF. It must be tested.
  55. Prof Noakes said that “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat”, by Gary Taubes, should be required reading for dietitians and doctors.
  56. Another book worth reading by every doctor and dietitian is Nina Teicholz, “The Big Fat Surprise”, as it didn’t bind to convention and looks at all the research.
  57. Prof Noakes also said that there is such strong [negative] influence in New Zealand that it is now impossible for dietitians or doctors to promote LCHF.
  58. Australian dietitian Jennifer Elliot was expelled after she wrote a scientific paper that went against convention.
  59. Even the Credit Suisse Research Institute looked at all the evidence and found that saturated fat is not the driver of obesity.
  60. Prof Noakes said that he hoped this hearing will be a turning point. For the first time people will realise that there’s a lot of evidence behind what is being said about LCHF.
  61. Nina Teicholz wrote an article questioning why the 2015 US dietary guidelines did not take into account all of the relevant scientific Because of Nina’s article, the US Congress wants an independent review of the dietary guidelines process as doubts on scientific integrity have set in.
  62. Prof Noakes said that like what happened in the US, SA dietary guidelines must be reviewed by an independent panel. Advising people to restrict saturated fat has caused harm for over 40 years. This must change to prevent more harm.
  63. Prof Noakes said that although he doesn’t practice as a doctor anymore, the ethical responsibility of a doctor is to offer patients all the options, and not just one convenient one. He acts within HPCSA’s own rules to do whatever he can to inform patients fully. The HPCSA has no guidelines on doctors on social media, but charged him for flouting the guidelines.
  64. Prof Noakes said that his career has been characterised by challenging beliefs he thought were wrong. He doesn’t like to see the perpetuation of things that are wrong and harmful; he will take them on.
  65. Prof Noakes said that he has challenged convention seven times and has been proved right six times. The HPCSA hearing will be the seventh.
  66. Prof Noakes said that he did lots of research on carbs in exercise, which shows the bias that happens when industry funds you. He ignored fat as it wasn’t funded. He apologised for missing the influence of fat on energy during exercise.
  67. Prof Noakes stated that convention isn't always right. And if evidence suggests it isn't, we should explore that.
  68. The two questions Prof Noakes is currently researching are: Can type 2 diabetes be reversed? And is it possible to Bant on R30 a day?
  69. Prof Noakes said that the Eat Better SA campaign results are so successful that he may have massive international funding.
  70. Prof Noakes said that he could have made this hearing go away by deregistering with the HPCSA, but he felt that the pursuit of evidence was perhaps the most pressing moral pursuit of our time. He also said that his University, UCT, should have protected him instead of actively humiliating They should have said that he has every right to pursue what he believes to be true.
  71. Panel Chair Advocate Joan Adams adjourned the hearing until 17 – 26 October 2016.

It is a privilege to stand by Prof Noakes as the truth about nutrition is uncovered. The revolution has begun and it is only going to snowball. Our aim is to improve 100 million lives – join us as we change the world, one meal at a time.

Information compiled in this document was done with the help from tweets by Marika Sboros. Follow the trial #noakestrial. 


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