When the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) isn’t dishing up fake nutrition news to the public, it makes up fake news to try to discredit dietitians who cross it, say critics. It’s probably no coincidence, that those dietitians support low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets to treat obesity, diabetes and heart disease and/or criticise Australia’s dietary guidelines and DAA’s food industry links.
Critics say that DAA’s Big Food sponsors don’t like those dietitians either as they affect product sales. In the final of a four-part series on DAA’s conflicts of interest, Foodmed.net looks at the cases of three dietitians who fell foul of DAA and its long-time CEO Claire Hewat. DAA also thought nothing of going after one of the dietitians in another country. It tried and failed to silence a top dietitian academic in New Zealand for her views on LCHF.
Hewat flatly denies that LCHF or its industry links had anything to do with actions against the dietitians below. Here, Foodmed.net looks at whether that claim stands up to scrutiny.
An American may not be able to grasp what Tim Noakes means to South Africa since no equivalent to Professor Noakes exists in the U.S. In South Africa, Noakes is a nationally famous exercise scientist and physician who has transformed the practice of sport by challenging most commonly held beliefs. And yet, Noakes’ own university and colleagues, along with the medical establishment, have suddenly turned against him in what he describes as his “final crusade.” Having demolished dogma on subjects as diverse as hydration, motivation and fatigue, Noakes may have gone a step too far. He took on carbs.
On the surface, the Tim Noakes controversy looks like a simple turf war between the renegade scientist and a few South African dietitians. That story goes something like this: in February 2014, the world-renowned exercise physiologist and M.D. tweeted that babies should be weaned onto low-carbohydrate diets. Then Claire Julsing Strydom, the president of South Africa’s dietetics association, ADSA, reported Noakes for unprofessional conduct. Noakes chose to fight back and defend his dietary advice even though he no longer practices medicine and could just as well have given up his license. And finally, after dozens of hours of hearings, South Africa’s council for health professionals will decide whether Noakes will keep his medical license.
Yesterday, the BMJ officially announced that it won’t retract a “controversial” 2015 article by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, author of NYT best-seller The Big Fat Surprise.
Following a lengthy investigation lasting over a year, the BMJ said that two independent reviewers “found no grounds for retraction,” and that Teicholz’s criticisms of the methods used by the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) “are within the realm of scientific debate.”
As reported on this blog and The Sidebar (my US blogging buddy Peter M. Heimlich’s crack investigative journalism blog), Washington-DC based advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) – in bed with prominent members of the DGAC – aggressively campaigned to get the article retracted.
US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz calls it “a victory for science.” South African scientist Tim Noakes says it proves that one person can “change the world.” I say it’s a decisive defeat for medical, scientific and dietetic establishments in their ongoing war against the critics.
The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) has announced that it will not retract the peer-reviewed investigation it published by Teicholz in September 2015. The feature documents in detail how the US Dietary Guidelines (DGAs) have ignored vast amounts of rigorous scientific evidence. This evidence is on key issues such as saturated fats and low-carbohydrate diets.
Teicholz’s article has been the target of an unprecedented retraction effort that was organized by an advocacy group that has long defended those guidelines. The BMJ stance is becoming a lesson in unintended consequences for those attempting to stifle debate on the topic. It raises fundamental questions about who was behind the retraction effort and their motivation.
Regulating health practitioners is an essential safeguard to protect patients.
The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) can – and does – take action to protect patients and manage risk posed by a registered medical practitioner.
AHPRA and the Board understand the community’s interest in its regulatory activities, and have listened to community debate about the caution issued to Tasmanian medical practitioner, Dr Gary Fettke.
By law, the Board cannot discuss individual cases in detail or publish the reasons for many of its decisions, without the consent of the medical practitioner concerned. Dr Fettke has not yet given his consent for the Board to make public the facts and issues that informed its decision.