Woman typing on a computerOne man made a comment on social media about food, which landed him in the biggest court case of his life. He typed in one sentence, and it cost him thousands upon thousands of dollars over many years, for making a comment on food. What he said was contrary to mainstream food recommendations. “The public is slowly changing the doctors because (they are saying to the doctors) what you’re doing for me doesn’t work,” said Tim Noakes.

Noakes is a scientist, a registered Medical Doctor, a professor, and author of the book Real Meal Revolution. He calls himself a defender of real food and never expected his comment on food to cause such trouble. The South African National Research Foundation ranks him as an A1 Scientist in both exercise science and in nutrition. He has had over 500 scientific papers published in peer reviewed journals. He has been cited more than 17,000 times in scientific literature for his findings. For the past 16 years he has been researching the effects of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and found a high fat, low carb diet is best for humans. Since that viewpoint goes against the norm, it landed him in a difficult position.

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The fight for real food began for Noakes when one day, he answered a woman on Twitter. She was asking which food would be best to wean her baby onto after breast feeding. Noakes answered her Tweet saying, “Key is to wean onto LCHF diet.”

LCHF means low carb, high fat which Noakes says is, “Meats and produce. Essentially that is a problem because I didn’t mention cereals and grains. The whole industry of weaning is you should wean the child onto pureed cereals. The industry didn’t want me saying those things.” The industry of dietetics disagreed with his Tweet, so they sued him.

His answer was giving information, not advice, which is classified as a We Question.

Nonetheless, he was charged with Unprofessional Conduct, Advice that Could Be Harmful.

Four years later after 25 days in court, he won ten to zero. Noakes presented nine days of evidence showing nutrition outweighed calories, meats and vegetables outweighed grains and sugars. He was cross examined for three and a half days, under oath. This case was monumental for many reasons, one of which being it was the first time a modern scientist was charged for giving an opinion on nutrition. They proved his statement was not unconventional and it was not dangerous. 

Noakes says he thinks he was targeted because his statement was completely contrary to what the dieticians recommend, it threatened their position as experts, and they desired to make an example of him.

At the time, an article was written about the trial, trying to chastise Noakes about flip flopping on his decisions as a professional saying here’s this famous scientist who got it all wrong. The author of the article concluded and stated Noakes didn’t get it wrong, it was the dieticians who got it wrong. The article was downloaded over 120,000 times with over 200 comments, most of which were not complementary to the dieticians. It became known publicly in South Africa as the “Nutrition Trial of the 21st Century.”

He subsequently wrote a book called Real Food on Trial, the story of his research of the science on nutrition and food as well as the trial. The book has been called, “The ‘John Grisham of the non-fiction world’, a ‘blockbuster, jaw-dropping page-turner’. Another reviewer calls it a book that “should be fiction … yet it isn’t’.”

Noakes said, “It showed where’s the freedom of speech? There is potentially no freedom of speech in South Africa. For some reason The South African Health Professional Counsel has too much authority over doctors. I don’t think it would have happened in America because of laws and so on. I doubt it would have happened (in America).”

The result of the trial has only created more controversy. Noakes said, “The profession certainly won’t embrace it, and certainly not the dietetics because they’ve built everything on the low fat diet and the whole story that high fat diets cause heart disease and everything else. And they’re completely wrong. There is no evidence for that. They can’t admit that because that’s what they are taught, it’s all they understand. The public is slowly changing the doctors because the public is going to the doctors and saying listen, I went on Dr. Noakes’ diet, I lost 40 pounds, blood pressure controlled, diabetes in remission and what you are doing for me doesn’t work.”

The foundation of the LCHF diet started in 1862, when a British undertaker named William Banting was introduced to the diet. At the time, Banting was having trouble with his weight, his hearing, and other ailments. He was working with his doctor, who had just been taught of new findings showing the liver produced glucose. The findings showed adding more glucose from carbohydrates to the food intake caused greater strain on health. All other methods of eating failed for Banting but when he cut the carbohydrates, he became well. Subsequently, this way of eating became known as The Banting Diet. When Noakes came forth with this information, it spread like wildfire in South Africa, doing something they never expected. The Zulu speaking South Africans picked up the diet and it became the most popular way of eating, taking them back to how their ancestors ate. Crossing the racial divide was huge for many reasons, one being, “Black South Africans tend to be more insulin resistant than white South Africans, so they’re going to benefit more,” Noakes says.

When discussing a low carb intake Noakes says, “If you’re healthy, 100 to 150 grams is probably just fine. If you’re insulin resistant, the lower the carbohydrate intake, the better, the longer you’re going to live without Type II Diabetes.”

When asked if carb intake is important for immediate energy, Noakes says, “Oh that’s nonsense, that’s absolute nonsense. I’m a Medical Doctor who did most of his research on carbohydrates during exercise. If you want to exercise at a very high intensity, and you only have eaten carbohydrates, carbohydrates are used as fuel. If you’re fat adaptive, in other words, you’ve been eating this high fat diet probably more than six weeks, you burn fat. You burn fat even at high intensity. For the vast majority of people you see on the road, they should be burning fat because that’s what their body wants to burn. The idea that you need carbohydrates is just nonsensical, it’s just wrong.”

The result of Noakes’ trial is eye opening. It first makes a person stop and think about what they write on social media. It secondly makes those who understand how food works, want to scream it from the rooftops. Additionally, it gives pause when understanding the cost., baffling the mind over what is happening with the budget of organizations there for our good. For the trial, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) paid over R10 million. Noake’s legal defense was much, much less because most of his legal team were so sure of his case they offered their services for free and even classified it as a scientific witch hunt.

In Noakes’ book, explaining the trail, it was said, “The HPCSA’s case could never have got off the ground were it not for ‘an incestuous web of University of Cape Town academics’ that spread to other top universities. Instead of getting together, having a robust, collegial debate, arguing on the basis of data, doctors, academics and dietitians became a public lynch mob. The extensive evidence (in the book) points to deliberate malice.”

Unfortunately, after Noakes won his case, it was brought right back up on appeal, continuing the lawsuit and fight to discredit him.

Since the attack, “Noakes has deregistered as a medical doctor from the HPCSA. That means he is no longer under its jurisdiction and can once again exercise his right to freedom of expression as a scientist.”

The mother who received the information from Noakes’ tweet was not called to testify by the HPCSA, which classified her as the victim. Instead this mother publicly called the hearing a circus.

Since, Tim Noakes has won in appeal, winning the trial twice, proving his innocence with no doubt.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.




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