“You Can’t Handle the Truth” – Dr. Gary Fettke Censored for Recommending Low Carb

Fettke

Sometimes the truth is hard to take. In the movie, A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise plays a military lawyer trying to find out the truth about a murder. He continues to press Jack Nicholson for the ‘truth’ until, exasperated Nicholson shouts one of his most enduring quotes ‘You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!’.

What Nicholson means is that there are many times in life where the truth is hard. We try to spare people’s feelings by covering up the truth. For example, families often ask that patients are not told of their diagnosis of cancer. We tell children that Grandpa has ‘gone away for a long time’ instead of the the truth that their beloved one has passed on.

Jack NicholsonWe do this all the time because ‘we can’t handle the truth’. There were many people willing to turn a blind eye to the Holocaust because they couldn’t handle the truth.

However, just as in the movie, only the truth will set us free. Only by understanding and accepting the truth can we hope to move past it. Too often, hiding the truth only hurts those who we hope to protect. Believing the lies, we cannot make rational decisions. In essence, we make the same argument that Jack Nicholson makes in the movie. Because you can’t handle the truth, Big Brother will forcibly hide it from you.

In science, the need for openness is well understood. Galileo, for example, was persecuted because of his beliefs. Using observations from his new telescope, he supported Copernicus’ idea that the earth revolved around the sun, rather than the universe revolving around the earth. In 1632, Galileo published his scientific observations, which unfortunately clashed with the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. He was tried in 1633 for heresy by the Roman Inquisition and found guilty. He would spend the remaining years of his life under house arrest instead of furthering mankind’s knowledge.

For this reason, science abhors censorship above all else. We may not always agree. We may not always be civil. However, each side certainly recognizes the right of the other to his/ her point of view. For example, I might not agree with Gwenyth Paltrow that vagina steaming is useful, but I don’t deny her the right to freedom of speech. Many times in health care, we hope that the medical authorities also recognize the need for discussion and dialogue. Unfortunately, too frequently, those in authority resort to bullying and silencing of critics by brute force rather than reason and intellect.

When Nina Teicholz published her controversial article in the BMJ, arguing that the US Dietary Guidelines were not scientific, her critics (Dr. Frank Hu from Harvard) responded, not by reasonable argument, but for a call for retraction. He was trying to stifle the conversation rather than face insubordination. In a bullying tone, Dr. Hu is, in essence, saying to the rest of the scientific community ‘You can’t handle the truth’. Dangerous. Very dangerous. We’re lucky he didn’t try to pull a Galileo and put Nina under house arrest. Rather than bravely try to face off in scientific discourse, the cowardly Dr. Hu called for censorship instead.

Gary Fettke

But unfortunately, the examples continue. The latest victim is my friend, Dr. Gary Fettke, an orthopaedic surgeon from Tasmania. A brain cancer survivor, he has lectured around the world about the importance of nutrition in chronic diseases such as cancer. I met him in Cape Town, South Africa where he impressed me, not so much with his boyish good looks (alright, not very much at all for this) but his deep understanding and passion for nutrition. As fellow doctors, I fully understand the critical importance of nutrition in metabolic disease.

Gary started the Nutrition for Life clinics to help guide patients along the path of proper nutrition. He was sick and tired of amputating diabetics limbs when the disease is so easily managed with proper nutrition. I had the exact same epiphany a few years ago. I was sick and tired of putting diabetics on dialysis when the entire debacle is preventable with a proper understanding of nutrition.

Just this past week, the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency delivered a gag order in a 14 page email. He has been ordered silenced. “In particular that he does not provide specific advice or recommendations on the subject of nutrition and how it relates to the management of diabetes or the treatment and/or prevention of cancer.”

NoFructose: Who is qualified to give nutritional advice?

So, Gary, a physician is not felt to be qualified to give health advice. So your hairdresser can give you diet advice, but a highly qualified physician cannot. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

What was this dastardly advice, so dangerous that the AHPRA felt compelled to issue the gag order? Well, Dr. Fettke feels that you should reduce intake of dietary carbohydrates, and eat plenty of healthy fats, but mainly to avoid processed and artificial foods to eat whole, unprocessed seasonal, local foods. OMG! What??? That’s totally ….. reasonable.

His notification was anonymous. It is unknown whether anybody was actually harmed by this, uh, pretty well accepted dietary advice. He also does not know which peers are judging him. He is not to communicate via social media. He is not to talk or lecture or speak to his patients about nutrition. His accusers cower behind the AHPRA, unwilling to make themselves known. All while trying to stifle conversation and yelling at the Australian public ‘You can’t handle the truth’!

This is even more bizarre because many guidelines have enshrined recommendations exactly as Gary espouses. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Dec 2015 NICE guidelines state:

‘Treatment and care should take into account individual needs and preferences. Patients should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with their healthcare professionals’
1.3.3 Encourage high‑fibre, low‑glycaemic‑index sources of carbohydrate in the diet
1.3.6 Individualise recommendations for carbohydrate and alcohol intake

Ahhh. Doctors should individualize recommendations and low-carbohydrate diets are reasonable. Patients should also make INFORMED decisions. Weird that NICE doesn’t say “Health authorities should censor doctors and dictate diets to patients and even prohibit diets used all over the world by institutions like Harvard University. Patients should not hear dissenting opinions because YOU CAN”T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” Weird, huh?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States recently submitted its 2015 guidelines to the US Department of Agriculture. The AND, representing the dieticians of the United States, supported the decision to remove cholesterol from the nutrient of concern list and further advised to remove saturated fat as well. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil and avocados and nuts, are almost universally acknowledged to be healthy. So, they don’t feel that the ‘Eat more Fat’ message is really all that controversial.

Dr. Osama Hamdy, the medical director of Harvard’s world famous Joslin Center for Diabetes obesity program, has called for a nutrition revolution using lower carbohydrate diets. He has been using them for over a decade.

In the end, what is sad is that the AHPRA opted for censorship rather than transparency. Playing the part of the Roman Inquisition,they have told the Australian people “We are Big Brother, and we will tell you what you will or will not eat. What’s more – you will like it and then thank us for it!”

We hope that Australia continues to be a part of the Free World, instead of a champion of censorship. Stop patronizing your people. Give them the freedom to listen to whomever they like. This is not Stalinist Russia. This is not Nazi Germany. We should listen to all the doctors, the ones who agree and the ones who don’t. Then give people the freedom to choose who they follow.


Dr. Jason Fung

Comment from Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt

It’s grotesque for a doctor to not to be allowed to give well-grounded diet advice to his patients. But if there’s any justice this should be temporary. In Sweden we had a high-profile case eight years ago, where a doctor (Dr. Dahlqvist) was investigated for similar advice. She was fully acquitted. I tell the story in this talk. But of course justice can sometimes be slow.

More

NoFructose: Who is qualified to give nutritional advice?

The Mercury: Support after silence edict on surgeon Gary Fettke’s diet crusade

Learn more

How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Videos about reversing diabetes using nutrition

  • Diet Doctor podcast #7 – Megan Ramos
  • My success story with Kenneth Russell
  • Understanding and treating type 2 diabetes – Dr. Jason Fung
  • How to reverse diabetes type 2

More >

Earlier with Dr. Jason Fung

Why the First Law of Thermodynamics Is Utterly Irrelevant

How to Fix Your Broken Metabolism by Doing the Exact Opposite

How NOT to Write a Diet Book

More with Dr. Fung

Dr. Fung has his own blog at intensivedietarymanagement.com. He is also active on Twitter.

His book The Obesity Code is available on Amazon.

The Obesity Code

16 comments

  1. Lauree
    The academic medical community has its head in the sand.
    Looking at the Australian dietary guidelines working committee, as on the website eatforhealth.gov.au, it is a bit difficult to see what is most current. In 2015 there were eleven on their committee, most seem to have academic positions, only one has a medical qualification, and one works in the food industry. None seem to be in current medical clinical practise, yet this is being used to sanction medical clinical practise. Submissions for the current guidelines seemed to have closed in 2012.
  2. Carol
    I would like to extend support to Dr Fetke and thank Dr Fung for his support. Shades of Dr Noakes so called trial. The Gallileo parallel is real. We will look back on this when LCHF is the normal dietary guideline and think "how could we have been so blind."
  3. joe
    Australia has become a Marxist dictatorship!
  4. Sean
    I live in Tasmania and believe me this has really got people's blood boiling here. I am so glad that Jason and Andreas have brought this to people's attention here. The sheer cheek of trying to silence a doctor (indeed threaten his right to practice) because he dares to question the rubbish that dietitians have been pushing for decades is just mind blowing. Here's a man who sees his patients lose legs to Type II diabetes and who knows that the standard treatment approach is just making things worse, yet he's the one in the firing line for offering a proven alternative, not the head-in-the sand fraternity that is stuck with group-think and ponderous orthodox conservatism. Dr Fetke should nail his thesis to the doors of the medical establishment and dare them to prove him wrong.
  5. David
    It actually makes perfect sense what the AHPRA has done as it is impossible for them to argue against the weight of evidence in favour of carbohydrate restriction, therefore they need to resort to naked coercion.

    I came across a quote a number of years by a sociologist to the effect that institutions very quickly become more concerned with maintaining their own reputation and power rather than furthering the aim for which they were originally founded.

  6. RT
    The AHPRA's action in censoring Dr. Fettke is absolutely disgusting and absolutely inexcusable. It is indeed reminiscent of the attempts to silence Tim Noakes (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) and Nina Teicholz (CSPI). The guardians of the failed status quo are getting desperate. Open debate is the mark of someone with the conviction of truth on their side. Silencing dissenting voices is the mark of the propagandist.
  7. Peter Strous
    Diabetes-2:
    1) eat carbs
    2) digested into glucose (blood sugar)
    3) blood sugar goes up
    4) in diabetes-2 insulin is deployed immediately to stop dangerous sugar levels from occurring
    5) the problem is that the cells have become insulin resistant.

    Now, we can keep the blood sugar levels under control by not eating carbs. That does not fix the problem however, it gets around the problem.
    Or we can cut out all fats. The insulin resistance disappears and the blood sugar levels come down because the normal regulation works again. Don't be mistaken, the fats are the true cause of diabetes-2

  8. gbl
    Well, I don't have DT2 but I sure get an insulin response mid-day. So that's from fat? D*%#! Plus, I have plateaued for almost 3 wks in spite of strict 30 carb or less, and daily exercise.
  9. gbl
    Then how do you account for the success stories here, from people who have lost amazing amounts of weight plus lowering their #s to normal?
    Reply: #10
  10. Apicius
    Gbl....try fasting. Some people can't get away with just eating 3 meals per day on LCHF. Fasting is the next step.
  11. gbl
    I do most days, 16/8. I'll have to try something different, longer fasts or, less fat maybe. Thanks.
    Reply: #12
  12. Apicius
    Gbl....yeah, I know it's not straight forward with some people. Wish we all were born with a users manual. I also had to experiment with longer sleep hours, and temperature in room while sleeping (cold room with heavy covers...gives me a deep sleep and I wake up feeling leaner...bizarre, but it works).
  13. Nick
    I am not sure I get this. He is not being censured for his opinion he is in trouble for the way he has acted on his opinion .he attempted to bully a hospital to change its policy. Many health professionals have differing opinions of evidence in nutrition you build your case and support quality research not run off on a crusade and partner with book sellers and celebrity chefs . I was aware of some of his work and the model of his practice much of it really good but seriously this is not about his low cab views it's about the way he's doing it.
  14. David Driscoll
    How ridiculous, Gary has played fast and loose with the facts, cherry picking the science that suits his stand and ignoring (or trying to dismiss) that research which doesn't.

    To see him on the 7-30 report now claiming to just be recommending a healthy diet with generic nutrition advice was just poor reporting.

    From his website "
    Fructose and Polyunsaturated Oils

    The consumption of Sugar and Polyunsaturated Seed Oils combine in our diet to create inflammation in every blood vessel wall and in every tissue in every organ of the body. The addition of refined carbohydrates including bread, white rice and pasta only aggravates the damage process.

    Fructose (50% of Sugar), Polyunsaturated Oils and Refined Carbohydrates look to be the major contributors to most of our modern conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer and a raft of other conditions."

    That's way beyond recommending 'cutting sugar, lots of vegetables, pasture fed meat, the right amount of oil'.

    Gary doesn't like having his pseudo-scientific bluff called and gets quite upset (and petty) when it is!

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140223173504/http://davidgillespiesbigf...

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140110115013/http://davidgillespiesbigf...

    http://web.archive.org/web/20140110104554/http://davidgillespiesbigfa...

  15. Carroll
    Dr. Fettke ... I am a fan. There is NO known carbohydrate deficiency disease, whereas this is not true of proteins and fats. Lipoproteins (these carry TR and Cholesterol) are the fat transport system for the body, and our bodies burn fats in the form of triglycerides (TR). Carbs interfere with this mechanism because Insulin is a "Weak" hormone and can barely regulate the 1 tsp of glucose we have dissolved in our blood. It primary function is to regulate growth.

    High carbs damage this pathway ... Carbohydrates are Non-essential, we can make all we need from proteins and fats, hence there is no need for carbs. Most elite athletes are switching over to Ketones as the preferred fuel, since carb-loading has been debunked, if for nothing else, based on storage capability of the animal body.

    70 Going On 100

  16. Jake Meldrum-Stewart
    After three months on a low carb diet (c. 60 gm total carbs/day) my HbA1c fell from 8.5%. to 6% (69 to 42 IFCC). As as T2 diabetic that really matters (Jake. PhD physiology).

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