Noakes trading more punches

29 June 2015 - 02:04 By Katharine Child


An article written by professor Tim Noakes and British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra for the British Journal of Sports Medicine has been slammed as flawed and described as "headline-grabbing". The piece was titled "It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet".But some medical experts took on Noakes and his colleagues, describing their opinions as "not reflective" of current science.Scottish surgeon Nathan Stephens wrote a piece last week titled "It is time to bust the myth of a catchy title".Noakes and his colleagues argue that exercise, while healthy, "does not promote weight loss" and also criticise how soft drink companies sell unhealthy sugary drinks and then promote exercise as if it can undo the harm and weight-gain caused by the high levels of sugar in a fizzy drink.Stephens said: "Whilst the sentiment of the article was perhaps well placed, the desire for a headline-grabbing title and catch phrase seems to have taken precedence over clear and honest content. A better title would have been 'Three individuals are disgruntled with the marketing campaigns of soft drinks companies', but of course this would not have picked up much media attention."A letter signed by five UK doctors and three professors is more serious and argues: "The editorial was written to be provocative, but we are concerned about the potential damage that can be done by publishing misleading and extreme opinions on issues of important public concern."They say "the suggestion that physical activity cannot cause weight loss" is not based on current science and suggest some reading homework for Noakes.Another response, by National Health Service manager Robert Mason, suggests the message that exercise does not make people lose weight could discourage obese people from exercising.Noakes told The Times yesterday: "We never said in the article that people should not exercise. Are they unable to read?"He and Malhotra said they were "ecstatic" about the criticisms and were working on a detailed rebuttal, which is expected to be published in two months."Then our critics will really have something to complain about."

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