Most in the low carb and keto community have heard of Professor Tim Noakes (our podcast with Professor Noakes can be found here). Noakes, a well-known marathon runner and author of multiple tomes on the sport, is a professor of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He is also a born-again convert to the low carbohydrate/high fat lifestyle, best known as “Banting” (after William Banting) in his South African home.
Given his high profile, and the fact that he literally wrote the book on running and endurance training, Professor Noakes’ involvement in and promotion of the Ketogenic lifestyle has been very controversial in the medical community. So much so that three years ago, after answering a question that was directed at him on Twitter, he was charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) with professional misconduct.
The short version: Noakes was asked by a woman about how best to wean her child, and his advice was to go right to nutritious Ketogenic foods (“real food”) instead of the artificially enriched, highly processed, and high carb foods normally recommended by pediatricians. For this, he was reported to the HPCSA by Claire Julsing-Strydom, a Registered Dietician and then President of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA).
The report by Strydom resulted in a set of hearings in front of the HPCSA’s Professional Conduct committee that began in 2015 and lasted until late last week. The case has been followed very closely by recent Ketovangelist Podcast guest (here and here), Marika Sboros. Sboros has documented the details of the case, and the weakness of the arguments against Professor Noakes, quite extensively on her website, FoodMed.Net.
After years of hearings, and all the stress and monetary expense that goes along with it, Professor Noakes was acquitted on April 21, 2017, news which was celebrated widely across the low carb and keto communities. The five member committee voted four-to-one to find Noakes not guilty of professional misconduct in regards to his interaction with the new mother on Twitter in 2014.
The entire case has opened quite the can of worms within the health and medical communities, as it has brought to the forefront, in a dramatic way, the evidence showing the ties between the food industry and the medical and pharmaceutical communities, as well as the head-in-the-sand attitude that many in medicine and nutrition have when it comes to evidence contradictory to the standard low-fat, eat less move more line.
We here at Ketovangelist congratulate Professor Noakes in prevailing against the charges and wish him well in his advocacy for the low carb, Ketogenic lifestyle.