Learning from his own experience
Dr. Gary Fettke Is an amazing character I was delighted to meet, when I attended the Low Carb Summit at Cape Town in February 2015 (1). He is an orthopaedic surgeon and an ardent advocate of preventive medicine because this improves the success rate of surgery and can sometimes avoid the need for it altogether.
His approach has been largely shaped by his own personal experience. Sixteen years ago, he had his own encounter with cancer. He was having vision problems, and was diagnosed with a tumour at the base of his brain. Extensive surgery was followed with radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
As Gary describes it, he did as his medical colleagues told him, and submitted to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy but there was never any mention of his nutrition.
He realises now that at the time, he was feeding his tumour with a feast of sugar and kept encouraging its growth with insulin because of his habitual diet. He had no concept of nutritional ketosis or of the potential benefits of skipping a meal or fasting.
Some years later, he discovered the work of Otto Warburg who had postulated that cancer cells can only survive if they have a constant supply of sugar. As a result he decided that if he changed to a low carb high fat diet (LCHF), this would starve the cancer. Consequently he lost weight, lowered inflammation and achieved a perfect lipid profile. Fettke is convinced he has taken control and that he is no longer the victim of his cancer. If the tumour is still there, it is having a hard time staying alive.
His advice can be summarised as follows:
“If you have cancer, you definitely want to avoid sugar and carbohydrates. The right amount of healthy fat needs to be increased in your fat intake. Eat real food that is local and seasonal. Combine this with conventional cancer treatments and we have a new way to treat and theoretically prevent cancer.”
On top of all this, he first became aware of arthritis in his hips in 2002, when he experienced pain and stiffness confirmed on X-rays. He has pushed on for 12 years as he recommends to his own patients. The LCHF diet enabled him to lose 25 kg in weight to ease the load on his hip and help make the joint last longer. Eventually, he agreed to have a hip replacement and shortly afterwards was able to walk his daughter down the aisle on the day of her wedding.
His story has many parallels with that of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, who was treated conventionally for brain tumour. Servan-Schreiber discovered that that his medical colleagues had no knowledge or even interest in treating his condition by altering the diet. This is further confirmation that there is much valuable knowledge that is not being made available to those who suffer from cancer and various other diseases.
He has used his knowledge and experience to help his patients.
Banned from giving advice on nutrition
So I was surprised and alarmed to learn that Gary has hit big trouble with his regulatory body in Australia. This is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which has taken the extraordinary action of banning him from giving nutrition advice to his patients. You can see more details about this in the blog by Marika Sboros (2).
Gary is not the first and is unlikely to be the last person that has upset the “powers that be” for advocating a diet, which is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats. The benefits of such a diet are now unquestionable. Just consider all those individuals who have been able to recover from type 2 diabetes (T2D) as well as those who like Gary have successfully overcome cancer by switching to an LCHF diet.
This is war
Although this issue is usually presented as argument about science, the reality is that it is about power, territory and control. If the medical profession as a whole is genuinely interested in improving the health of patients, we have to ask why so many members simply refuse to accept at face value the many reports of those who have successfully tackled T2D and other diseases by using an LCHF diet.
At one level there are the financial vested interests. If people can reduce the risks of various diseases and possibly even achieve a complete cure by changing their diet, then of course this means that the need for and justification of drug usage is diminished. If the use of diet is encouraged and allowed to expand then this is very bad news for the pharmaceutical industry.
Most people can follow the logic of this argument but I believe that there is much more to it. In particular, there are the reputations of the “great and the good” in the medical and healthcare professions. By and large, these people have reached their positions by working within the established parameters. They may well have played a major part in the relevant research. The fact is that they regard an attack on the views that they hold as a criticism of them personally and even on their role in society. So their natural reaction is that they feel obliged to defend themselves. The unfortunate reality is that invariably they are absolutely unscrupulous and ruthless in the way they do so. While the complainant about Gary has not been identified the AHPRA has apparently been only to keen to use this opportunity to make life very difficult.
It is important to understand that this and other examples such as the “professional misconduct charge” levelled against Professor Tim Noakes in South Africa is not just about the individuals. It is designed to send out a message to everyone in the professions that they must stick to the official line. This is reminiscent of the execution of Admiral Byng in 1757, which was satirised by a Voltaire in a novel by a witness who was told that:
“in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others”(3).
I have talked to people who work in the healthcare professions and believe me it is definitely true. Although many understand that LCHF will be beneficial for their patients, they have to be extremely careful in the advice they offer. They are only too well aware that if they do not follow the official line, they may be in trouble and it is certainly not a smart career move.
The best hope is transparency and the more these actions can be exposed the better Ultimately, they will be seen to be totally unacceptable. It is therefore imperative to keep up the pressure until eventually we get there. With respect to Gary, although he has been silenced, the APHRA no jurisdiction over his wife Belinda, who continues to speak on his behalf and the NO FRUCTOSE website is still up and running (4).