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Tue Jul 26 12:21:25 SAST 2016

Big business to blame for your bad diet: Noakes

AARTI J NARSEE | 12 February, 2016 16:03
Professor Tim Noakes and a plate of the food he now recommends.
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

Big companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Kraft and Kellogg's are to blame for people's bad eating habits, Banting guru Tim Noakes his Health Professions Council of SA misconduct hearing.

"How did we get the idea that calories in and out works? There are subtle influences from industry that help us believe we can eat anything we want as long as we exercise," said Noakes.

The retired sports science professor, who has been presenting evidence since Wednesday, is accused of unprofessional conduct for providing "unconventional advice on breast-fed babies on social networks".

Noakes told the hearing: "Coke spent $3.3 billion on advertising. They pushed the idea of calories in and calories out. The public health messages are not being directed by scientists who are independent of industry. Coca-Cola funds scientists who shift obesity blame away from bad diets. These are scientists who have been contaminated."

He added that in South Africa, big companies such as Kellogg's, Huletts, Pronutro, Woolworths and Pick n Pay sponsored the Association of Dietetics of South Africa.

Advocate Ajay Bhoopchand, acting for former association president Claire Julsing-Strydom, who complained to the Health Professions Council, objected to Noakes's evidence on the food industry.

"I cannot see how evidence of a conspiracy theory is relevant," said Bhoopchand.

Committee chairman Joan Adams said: "Part of the respondent's defence is industry-influence sponsorships, ulterior motives and forces that drive dietary standards. He has a unique style that people think is too scientific or too long, but he is entitled to present his case in the manner that he feels comfortable with."

The hearing continues.

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