It’s Over! Noakes 2, The Anointed 0

The more unjustified a persecution, the more vehement and long-lasting it is likely to be. – Eric Hoffer, who wrote in the 1950s.

Well, it’s finally over. The persecution of Tim Noakes has ended. Here are some quotes from a Business Day article online.

The Banting diet guru Prof Tim Noakes has won his case at the Health Profession’s Council of SA (HPCSA)‚ four years after he tweeted a response about a mother weaning her baby onto a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet.

He told TimesLIVE: “The predominant feeling at the moment is one of intense relief. Relief that it is finally over and that the appeal judgment was again 100% in our favour, as was the original judgment. This chapter is finally closed. I just hope that all the effort put in by myself and my team will help move the dietary guidelines forward to the benefit of the health of all South Africans.”

In February 2014‚ the mother‚ Pippa Leenstra‚ tweeted: “@ProfTimNoakes @SalCreed is LCHF eating ok for breastfeeding mums? Worried about all the dairy + cauliflower = wind for babies??”

The complaint against Noakes was laid with HPCSA by dietician Claire Strydom‚ who was then chairwoman of the Association of Dieticians of SA.

Way to go, dietitians of South Africa! In a previous post, I pointed out that:

1. Nobody should be prosecuted for answering a question tweeted to him by a fan.  (The fan didn’t complain; the dietitians did.)

2. It isn’t necessary to prosecute people who offer contrary dietary advice if they’re actually wrong — people will discover that for themselves.

3. Tim Noakes isn’t your real problem.  Lousy results are your real problem.

4. There’s no positive outcome to your continued harassment of Tim Noakes.

I believe point number #4 could hardly be more obvious now.

Four years. Lord-only-knows how much money spent on the prosecution. A fine man put through the stress of two trials. And the final result of this whole, sorry episode is that you’ve made yourselves look like the petty @$$holes you are.  You took a shot at Noakes and wounded your own reputations in the process.  Well deserved.

None of this ever should have happened, of course.  If you don’t like what Noakes tells people about diet and health, argue your own case. Prove him wrong. Engage him in the marketplace of ideas. Demonstrate that your results are better than his. That’s how a sane person would react to a critic.

But no, you had to prosecute. You wanted him stifled. You wanted to make an example of him to scare off anyone else who dared tell people your dietary advice is wrong. This was never about a tweet. It was an assassination attempt.

To quote from the Business Day article:

During the appeal hearing, Noakes’s lawyers mentioned e-mails they had accessed through the Promotion of Access to Information request. The e-mails were between Strydom and a professor of dietetics at North-West University and discussed a plan to complain about Noakes — before the tweet in question was posted.

Noakes’s legal team argued that the two had planned to take him down and found a tweet to do so.

There’s really no question about that. Marika Sboros tweeted the text of those emails. This one was written by Strydrom to the professor on January 30, 2014 – before the tweet by Noakes that was the supposed basis of his trial:

Subject: Tim Noakes impact on the dietetics profession.

Here are other examples of what other people are writing due to the negative attention we are getting from Tim Noakes.

Sure sounds like Ms. Strydom was upset that Noakes inspiring others to question the advice offered by dietitians, doesn’t it?

This one was written by Strydom on March 20, 2014. If it doesn’t portray someone scheming to prosecute a critic, I don’t know what does:

Just would like to follow up on the Tim Noakes problem – the bashing of the profession continues and we need intervention from the HPCSA as a matter of urgency. As ASDA we do comment, but the HPCSA has a much bigger clout and we are desperate for an intervention.

Allow me to interpret: we’re not big enough to really hurt the guy, so we want you to do it.

Unfortunately for Strydom and the rest of the @$$holes, they chose the wrong target. Noakes was 65 years old at the time and could have simply ridden off into the sunset to avoid a long and painful trial. But the man has a steel spine. I’m reminded of a line from A Few Good Men: “You @#$%ed with the wrong marine!”

They wanted to shame him and instead gave him the opportunity to become a hero. Like most heroes, Noakes didn’t set out to become one. He was thrust into circumstances that would have crushed an ordinary man. But he’s not an ordinary man, so he stood up and fought a battle that lasted four years – for himself, yes, but also for the rest of us.

Congratulations, Professor Noakes. And thank you.


39 thoughts on “It’s Over! Noakes 2, The Anointed 0

  1. Robert Simms

    Written for the 2015 petition to drop charges against the Prof Tim Noakes;

    In 2010 I started cutting down on sugar and refined carbohydrates, and stopped snacking after dinner Favoring natural fats, avoiding low-fat products, I surprised myself, changing from obese to normal weight in 6 months. But I was wanting to better understand so I could ditch unreasonable hunger and help others.

    In January 2014 I listened to several lectures and interviews, including Noakes’ interview with Aaron Olson from the 6 Nov 2013 Paleo Runner podcast. He helped me not only understand and expand my metabolic vocabulary, but his enthusiasm transferred to me.

    Prof Noakes’ ever-positive tone makes him a great ambassador for LCHF, running, and South Africa.

    It is accurate to say that Tim Noakes has raised my awareness of South Africa and encouraged me to return to running for enjoyment. I feel his critics should be more concerned with building an accurate, predictive model of nutrition, than with protecting the status quo or funding sources, prioritized over open scientific inquiry.

  2. Tom Welsh

    “Four years. Lord-only-knows how much money spent on the prosecution”.

    Whose money was that, I idly wonder. Prsumably not the personal funds of the persecutors themselves. I imagine the South African people were somehow made to pay for those attempts to keep them ignorant and unhealthy.

    Well, that’s how “democracy” works in “the West”.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’m pretty sure they were spending HPCSA funds. I doubt the organization’s members are happy about having their dues wasted.

      1. chris c

        Ten million rand I believe (whatever that is in real money). I expect they will have to greatly increase their subscriptions. Meanwhile all of that money could actually have been spent on health.

        I’d like to see heads roll.

  3. Lynda

    Fan-bloody-tastic!!!!!!! Finally some good news for all that he’s been through. This should never have happened. I’m just so glad that it’s over and he has finally been exonerated.

  4. BobM

    Thank goodness! They put Tim through Heck for nothing. They were so stupid, as they attracted attention to this and gave a dream team of women the ability to crush their guidelines. That was stupid of them. They caused people all over the world to follow a case, when had they ignored everything, it would have meant slower deaths for their guidelines. I followed the trial via Twitter. They have to look like idiots now, and I’m sure the evidence put on by Tim’s Angels (I think that was what the women called themselves) was a blow to their confidence and a benefit to science-based evidence.

    Congrats, Tim!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      They shot themselves in the foot, then decided the best way to stop the bleeding was to pull the trigger again. Stunningly stupid strategy.

      1. Dianne

        Yeah — kinda silly to shoot yourself on both feet when you haven’t a leg to stand on in the first place.

  5. Dianne

    Beautifully written, Tom. Let’s hope the HPCSA and the ASDA will now have sense enough to drop the matter and crawl back under their rocks. And let’s hope this will be a sufficient warning to any like-minded bodies — including the one that persecuted Dr. Gary Fettke!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I don’t think there’s any other action the HPCSA and ASDA can take. And given the outcome, they’d have to be totally nuts to try again anyway.

      1. Walter

        Unfortunately, they are completely nuts, or act that way. Just like sugar, there is some debate about whether it is a drug or not, but it sure act like one.

  6. Lance

    When I share the story of Tim Noakes with others, it’s never without the word “hero”. Glad to see others see it the same way. And by the way Tom, you’re also a hero to me. Glad you’re getting out to the masses, the best way you know how, the truth that accompanies a contrarian dietary perspective.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you, but I haven’t had to stand up to bullies who want to ruin my career like Professor Noakes.

  7. Firebird7478

    I noticed on her Twitter feed that she has behaved as if nothing has ever happened. No acknowledgement of the final outcome or even an apology, which surely will never happen.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I suspect she and the other dietitians are still in shock. They didn’t realize how this would backfire.

    2. JIllOz

      I just posted a Congrats Tim Noakes tweet on her twitter feed. I was unimpressed at this attempted takedown of proper science and persecution.

  8. RT

    Here is a copy of a comment I left on Diet Doctor. (BTW Tom, glad to see you’ve announced this in a post. The other LCHF / Banting-related sites haven’t yet.)

    Strangely, I see no articles yet on the HPSCA’s decision here on Diet Doctor, but also not on Foodmed, where Marika Sboros has been giving regular updates on the whole process. (I posted a comment on her most recent article about the Noakes trial, but somehow it got “eaten” and does not appear on the thread. I guess they’re all busy with other stuff and posts will be made in the near future.)

    Anyway, great cause for celebration among LCHF / Banting advocates. If credible scientific evidence (or even legal evidence) against low-carb / high fat as a viable way of eating truly existed, then how could the prosecution team and appeal panel *not* have gotten Noakes found guilty? They had 1. the resources and funding of the state at their disposal, 2. A large prosecution team, and 3. four years to build and then prosecute their case, and appeal the not-guilty verdict. And they still couldn’t discredit Noakes’ defense.

    As it was, if Noakes’ team hadn’t worked for him pro bono, he might have had to concede due the the phenomenal legal costs the case would have incurred. This underscores the fact that this was a case of unjustifiable persecution by those with institutional power against a lone individual with relatively few resources with which to defend himself. Bullying, pure and simple.

    All the people who were involved in this – those who had “special plans” for Noakes (as stated in one email uncovered by the defense) – should truly be ashamed of themselves. They have absolutely *no right* to refer to themselves as health care professionals.

    The sheer hypocrisy of that dietician in her screeching, histrionic denunciation of Noakes on Twitter is sickening. I’ll say it again, and I really hope the people who tried to discredit Noakes (and by extension, truly healthy and life-saving dietary interventions) read this:

    This whole sorry affair has had the opposite effect you have intended. There are many, many people who trust you and your so-called expertise far, far, less, not more. You have utterly destroyed any chance that anyone disagreeing with you would give you the benefit of the doubt. You have absolutely no professional ethics and no credibility. If you have even an ounce of integrity, you will apologize to Noakes and his family, and to the people of South Africa for wasting their resources in your unjustified, quixotic, and pseudoscientific persecution of an innocent man.

  9. Jennifer Snow

    Actually, there is a purpose for the harassment–to deter anyone who might pose a serious challenge to the position of “licensed” dietitians.

    Licensing is a racket. Its only purpose is to limit the supply of people who practice a given profession and thus artificially drive up the price and thus the profits of the “licensed” practitioners. The organized association doesn’t care about the quality of the advice that other people might give out. Their interest is in protecting their MONOPOLY, which must always have a convincing reason for its existence.

    The problem wasn’t WHAT advice Noakes was giving, the problem was that he might get people to question whether this license racket ought to exist AT ALL. Even if they didn’t win the court decision, the hoops they made Noakes jump through will still have a chilling effect on anyone who might seriously challenge them. And he won on the premise that his advice is “unofficial”, not on the premise that there’s no dang reason why ANYONE should need a license to dispense diet advice.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Totally agree about the licensing. I think it’s a bit of both, the competition angle and the fact that Noakes was inspiring the “bashing of the profession,” as Strydom put it.

  10. Judy B

    And the craziness has now affected our 4 legged friends. There was a pet nutrionist (who knew there was such a thing?) railing against grain-free dog food. She claimed that by using that type of dog food, that you were putting your dog at high risk for developing heart disease.

    1. KidPsych

      That’s funny. My elderly cat recently was diagnosed with – (dramatic music) DUM DUM DUM – Mega Colon! Sounds scary, right? We went in the other direction, buying him (really friggen expensive) fully meat-based products, and he’s been doing just great.

      1. Judy B

        Mega Colon? What is that? (Translated it just means “big colon.”) Where are the vets going with this one?
        Glad your cat is doing better!

  11. Firebird7478

    Here she is on a morning talk show, giving out poor advice on protein. If you look closely, she’s about 25 lbs. overweight.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      And she’s giving out lousy advice, too. Five eggs provides enough protein for an entire day? Not in my world.

      1. Firebird7478

        There is an article written about here where she plays the victim and discusses the “Hell” she went through. All those meanie little tweets where she’s called “Fat” and “Frumpy”. Boo hoo. Pales in comparison to the hell she put Professor Noakes through.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Exactly. She tries to publicly destroy Noakes, and now she’s the victim because people call her fat — which she is. Cry me a river.

          I could only read the first several paragraphs — the rest requires registering with the site — but I’m pretty sure the reporter is attempting to rehabilitate Strydom’s reputation.

          She writes that Strydom filed the complaint against Noakes for “advising parents not to feed their children carbohydrates.” That’s simply not true. Low-carb isn’t zero carb. The recipes in his book for kids include whole-food carbohydrates, but no sugar and no grains.

          She also writes that “Remarks were made about her weight when she was six months’ pregnant,” which may be true, but unless Strydom was six months pregnant during the entire four-year ordeal she put Noakes through, she was and is an obese dietitian. The reporter seems to want to give the impression that the stupid public mistook pregnancy for being overweight.

  12. The Older Brother

    Have to disagree with #4 in the strongest terms. Their persecution of Noakes has been hugely positive for anyone following the debate.

    The Anointed are utterly incapable of seeing the “Streisand Effect” when it’s immediately in front of their nose.


    1. chris c

      Yes the only thing they have going for them is a media blackout throughout most of the world. If he was a vegan the trial would have been headline news in all mainstream media. I wonder if this will finally reach the likes of the Guardian and the BBC but I’m not holding my breath, the vegan agenda seems now to be in the ascendant outside of the internet. Maybe Walt Willett will choke on one of his cabbages.

      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        I also noticed the final decision was announced late on a Friday afternoon. Traditionally that’s when you announce news you hope gets little play in the major media.


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