Q&A: Food on trial


It’s often said, though, that there are people who do very well with carbohydrates. We are not all the same, and it’s best to discover what works for each one of us. Having said that, guidelines are issued from the authorities, of course, and some kind of general advice can be useful, if just to use on a trial basis.

The problem, though, as I’m sure you’re aware, is that this has been contradictory. What general guidelines are we to follow – even when we do that in a way that’s sustainable and doesn’t feel prohibitive? As you probably know, our official nutritional advice has changed its shape from a triangular pyramid to a circular plate, but it’s still mostly carbs.

But the tide might be beginning to turn. As one example, a legal case in South Africa came to an end recently that had put nutritional advice on trial in a court of law, probably for the first time ever. It’s an interesting story, and could end up having a wider impact.

It all began in 2014 when a well-known professor at the University of Cape Town, Dr Tim Noakes, posted a Tweet advising a mother to wean her baby onto LCHF food. He was charged with professional misconduct, and steps were taken to revoke his medical license on the grounds that there was no scientific evidence for this recommendation.

This is how LCHF advice came to be put on trial. Over the course of a year, the scientific evidence was presented in detail, by Dr Noakes and expert witnesses including Dr Zoe Harcombe and Nina Teicholz.

The verdict, delivered in April 2017, was “not guilty”.

This will cause all those in the fields of health and nutrition, at least in South Africa and maybe beyond, to reconsider. This verdict surely suggests it’s time for a review of the official dietary guidelines, and the way nutrition is taught in universities and colleges.


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  1. Amanda

    Thank you for another insightful article. As someone who still struggles not only with eating too much, but also with what on earth to eat, this is useful information. LCHF is something I feel good eating and your post has helped me to realise that it’s probably because it’s right for me. Now I can start to see it as something positive and tailored to my individual needs, not a rule to follow.

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