Did AHPRA make an example of Dr Fettke?
Prior to AHPRA’s ruling, a 2013 Senate Inquiry highlighted the failings of AHPRA’s complaints-handling in order to guarantee public safety.
As a result of this investigation, there was a call for a more strict handling of complaints against practitioners by AHPRA.
This could have motivated relentless pursuing of legal action against Dr Fettke for giving out unsolicited nutrition advice in favour of low carb.
Gary Fettke: punished for speaking the truth
The dietary evidence points to a low carb diet as the only non drug-mediated way that people with diabetes can truly control insulin and stabilise their blood sugar levels.
For the majority of scientists interested in nutrition, if a new evidence-based approach provides better outcomes, then this evidence should be more explicitly reflected in patient care.
Sadly, with low carb, this is often not the case, for many regulatory bodies think that it is not within a doctor’s remit to advise patients about this diet.
Yet, Fettke’s patients have greatly benefited from his advice, and the diet reportedly caused no harm to any of them.
But, AHPRA considers that Gary is not an expert in the field of nutrition or diabetes, and therefore has no authority to give such advice.
The AHPRA has completely overlooked the fact that a great deal of Fettke’s patients suffered from weight-related joint issues and/or diabetes.
Fettke was therefore immersed in the scientific literature about diabetes and nutrition research for years.
Promoting high fat, low carb comes at a cost
The mere act of informing patients about low carb and recommending it to them on a voluntary basis can trigger serious consequences for doctors these days.
Meanwhile, patients are being given the wrong information and led to believe that there is nothing they can do besides treatment to help reverse their type 2 diabetes.
The current recommendation, of eating less and moving more, that patients receive has not been proven as effective as reducing carbohydrate intake in a growing number of studies.
In the UK, GPs tend not to give weight loss advice, because they know that standard recommendations don’t work, and, that if they push something like low carbing instead, they will be condemned for rebutting the official eat-well guidelines in use.
Doctors have to follow national guidelines, or they run the risk of receiving complaints for not maintaining standard of care.
The natural consequence of this idiotic ruling, is that NO doctor is capable of talking about dietary issues with patients. How does that affect GPs having to deal with diabetics, and people with heart disease? Clearly, they cannot breathe a word.
Ah, the Law of Unintended Consequences. Surely AHPRA must see that there is a class action lawsuit to forbid all doctors and other professionals from discussing dietary advice with patients. If AHPRA is being consistent (and ignorant) they should immediately demand this- or, are they being driven by special interest groups and thus being vindictive? There are NO other possibilities. They are certainly known for being both.
The issue here is who or what is an expert? Gary Fettke was using very well-reasoned and scientifically studied data on LCHF diets, of which Pete Evan’s Paleo diet is a part: for simplicity, LCHF diet = Paleo + Dairy.
In Australia, it takes little to be an expert- you usually just have to announce yourself: usually an academic position, or a head of an organization will do and presto! you are an expert. I have listened to way too many radio and TV interviews with these ‘experts’ and in most cases I want to explode. Their ignorance and their arrogance are simply stultifying, as they so often make comments about a current controversy without having any clue about the science or otherwise about the content about which they are pontificating. Listen to the childish slop uttered by an expert, lifted from an earlier blog I did.
Researchers at the University of Sydney announced that: Paleo diet leads to ‘shorter lifespan’.
“The Paleo people will be screaming and howling and they have a personal and professional interest in doing it,” says Professor Stephen Simpson the academic director of Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre.
“One of the best ways to combat the lure of fad diets is to provide hard, experimental evidence,” he says.
He should take his own advice. Not only was his comment above, less than academically articulate but it is dead wrong. He has not used one bit of solid scientific evidence to back up this outrageous claim. Instead he quotes data obtained from mice that were fed a diet that they normally don’t eat, got sick and died earlier than anticipated. Just the sort of dietary advice adjusted for humans that he and the other non-expert dietary pundits have been telling us to eat for the last 30 years with the obvious catastrophic health issues that have resulted. Instead, the diet we evolved on for over 2.5 million years is described as a fad while something that has been in effect for 30 odd years is ‘normal.’ It doesn’t get much sillier except that you cannot take mice data and extrapolate it to humans as was done here. We have different physiologies. Really? Yes, silly and sillier…
Paleo, low carb high fat is NOT what mice eat and this invalidates the study.
You have to shake your head when a supposedly educated man, and who one would assume has some degree of professorial decorum comes out with stuff like this, “The Paleo people will be screaming and howling”—well, excuse me, but isn’t that Drs Simpson and Gannon?
In a Machiavellian twist on things, OZ’s own CSIRO has come out in support of the LCHF diet for Type 2 Diabetics. I am not sure how AHPRA can take their license away, but I imagine they are working on it. Meanwhile all healthcare practitioners in Australia, except dieticians (and the CSIRO), are putting their licenses on the line every day they mention the words sugar or fat…
This is part of the summary of the CSIRO paper:
“The most amazing benefit of the low carbohydrate diet was the reduction in the patient’s medication levels, which was more than double the amount than the volunteers following the lifestyle program with the high-carbohydrate diet plan.
“Some of the participants managed to cease their medications altogether, and many described the study as life changing”.
Er, but, isn’t that what Pete Evans said? Seriously, Dr Gannon, arm yourself with the info before you speak.
Now WTF is AHPRA going to do with THAT information? As you can see, inconsistency and hypocrisy are nationally embedded traits in our governing bodies. So how can the doctors and the public ever get things straight?