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Tim Noakes found not guilty of misconduct

Professor Tim Noakes was taken to task for advising a mother to wean her baby on a low carb, high-fat diet.

FILE: The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is investigating a complaint against the Banting diet advocate, Tim Noakes, after he advised a mother via Twitter, to wean her baby onto a low carb/high fat diet. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Professor Tim Noakes has been found not guilty by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on a charge of unprofessional conduct.

Noakes came under scrutiny in 2014 when he advised a woman on Twitter to wean her baby onto a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

But the council has found Noakes was not guilty of negligence or providing advice without sound information.

Council chairperson Advocate Joan Adams: "Professor Noakes, on the charge of unprofessional conduct, the majority of the committee found you not guilty."

Adams says the council found that his advice was not dangerous.

"On the facts, this committee finds that no actual or potential harm was proven or that any information provided on Twitter by the respondent, whether unsolicited or not, was dangerous or life threatening."

Noakes has welcomed the finding.

"We never had any doubt because we science is always on our side. But we didn't know quite how the unprofessional conduct story would go. And Judge Adams gave 10 rulings and all were in our favour, so we got a 100% result."

The council says scientist Noakes is not an expert on infant nutrition.

Advocate Adams says the majority of the conduct committee found that the complainant could not prove that Noakes acted in the capacity of a doctor.

Adams says it was also not proven that he suggested the mother cease breastfeeding, and put her baby on a low-carb high-fat diet.

He indicated they've found no evidence to prove that he was discouraging breastfeeding.

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