Banting for the poor
The Banting diet might be controversial, but it is turning many South Africans into losers and now Professor Tim Noakes is targeting disadvantaged communities. This week he started four programmes to teach poor communities to follow the low-carb, high-fat diet.In about July they shrank waistlines in Ocean View so dramatically among a group of 40 residents that the demand, said Noakes, for similar interventions had gone "ballistic".story_article_left1Noakes said he must be the "luckiest" doctor in South Africa because he is swamped with messages from people thanking him for saving their lives. "I don't care what the science says, when you get feedback every day saying 'Thank you, Dr Noakes, I've lost 20, 30, 40 up to 100kg' in your mailbox, you have to say something has changed. If science can't prove it then science is the problem."But next month Noakes will be facing a panel of experts at the Health Professions Council of South Africa.The Association for Dietetics in South Africa lodged a complaint of unprofessional conduct against him after he advised a mother to put her child on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The association's president Maryke Gallagher said restrictive diets for infants should be followed only in specific medical conditions and under strict medical supervision."Exclusion of certain foods and food groups from the diet, as is recommended in low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet regimes, increases the risk for nutrient deficiencies. This is a serious concern in infants and young children as such deficiencies could compromise growth, cognitive development and health in general," Gallagher said.