Gari and beans (gob3): potbelly and belly fat wahala


In recent times, there has been huge public interest in articles frequently published by Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu on natural remedies and local delicacies. But one that recently started public debate is on gob3.

As trained Medical Journalists, we read the publication by Nana Kofi Owusu which was recently published by the Daily Graphic to address the recent viral and educative masterpiece by the renowned Naturopathic professor and medical science writer, Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, the President of Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine and Technology. We must say that Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu has created a huge revolution in the medical journalism and science writing space in recent times in the Ghanaian community.

Arguably, he is one of the best and most prolific medical science writers in recent times. Additionally, he has created a huge readership and followership and interest in our local delicacies and natural remedies which have been neglected for so long. One notably unique thing one will observe is that Prof. Nyarkotey Obu’s articles are based on solid scientific evidence. When you read his article, he declares a conflict of interest, procedures and disclaimers.

For instance, he writes: “Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups.  My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies”.

Hence, when one wants to challenge his articles based on solid references, there is the need to also back your rebuttal with solid references. His recent article has created a huge interest in gob3, a local delicacy enjoyed by many people in Ghana.

His article, published a few weeks ago, stated that: “Gob3 lowers the risk of belly fat and obesity” which eventually gain the attention of most citizens since it’s less expensive, satisfying and the favourite for some people, and has led to one response by a dietician who is also a lecturer at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, trying to debunk some of Nyarkotey’s assertion.

Nana Kofi Owusu, in an article published in the Daily Graphic, made it clear that: “The low carbohydrate content and high fibre content of beans make it a good food for weight loss” which is in support of what was published by Prof. Nyarkotey, but the dietician again added that “if gari and beans are eaten the way it is usually done, it will rather lead to weight gain and consequent increase in potbelly since the excess calories will be stored in the liver and abdomen as fat. He could not justify this assertion as it is based on his personal opinion which depicts a scientific approach.

Also, the amalgamation of ingredients plays important role in effective healing and holistic health instead of using a single ingredient, which he painted a picture that it is not. The Dietician, being a lecturer, would have done good work for the public by supporting his claims and rebuttal in his article with solid scientific references which he failed to do so.

As we said, Nyarkotey has created a huge recognition for himself in the science writing space and has convinced many people with his solid science writing with scientific evidence, hence, Nana Owusu, trying to do justice should have come with sound evidence.

Additionally, there are so many contradictory statements in his article, as a Medical Journalist, I think there’s a difference between those two topics.  Belly fat as mentioned by Prof. Obu is different in meaning from potbelly mentioned by the dietician. Belly fat, in simple terms, means excess fats deposited in the abdominal region of the human body while potbelly is the nature of one’s belly that is a round, fat stomach that sticks out. Not everybody with a protruding belly has excess fat deposited in there. Besides, that might be the natural body stature of some people. Based on this, we think the Dietician’s reply does not concur with that which was published by Prof. Obu on Gari and beans.

Additionally, Prof. used the expression: ‘risk’, which is not definite; and I think Nana Owusu rushed in countering this article. Moreover, in writing a science article, there’s need for references and evidence-based facts. Prof. Obu stated several references including the phytochemicals present in those food items (gari, beans, palm oil, and plantain) to support his points. Additionally, being a registered dietician doesn’t mean you are a custodian of knowledge on nutrition and you cannot provide the wrong nutritional doctrine.

Also, he added an egg to his gob3 while Prof. Nyarkotey’s article excluded the egg. The egg is optional in gob3, this also means that he rushed to argue with Prof. Nyarkotey. Additionally, he added Zomi – Prof. Nyarakotey was clear on this. His article used palm oil and not Zomi.  Besides, maybe, he should educate us on the difference between Zomi and palm oil. We are confused between the two. As reasonable people, we know Zomi is the dark aspect of palm oil and we stand to be corrected.

In his conclusion, the dietician painted a picture that only registered dieticians know about nutrition. We suggest he reads more about naturopathic medicine and the modalities used by these naturopaths as they are grounded in nutrition. Medical nutrition is a core component of naturopathy, and dieting is one of the major teachings in modern naturopathy.

Anyways, we must say that we are enjoying the academic battle in nutrition that Prof. Nyarkotey Obu has created in our local delicacies and natural remedies in Ghana. Way back, there was the notion that natural medicine practitioners were unlearned people; we are happy we have someone like Prof. Nyarkotey Obu who has demonstrated his academic prowess and test of time in the field of Naturopathic and Natural medicines in Ghana and Africa.

It is interesting that in the modern era, evidence-based medicine is what is being propagated by mainstream and allied health practitioners. So, one would expect that the dietician’s article should have sound evidence for us to analyse.

However, he failed to convince us with solid evidence, choosing the path of emotional medical practice and pure rhetoric. He should come again with science to support Zomi and all his claims as we are in an era of evidence-based medicine and not emotional-based medicine.  We should do away with academic arrogance. Besides, he who alleges must prove beyond reasonable doubts.

>>>The writers are trained Medical Journalists

Leave a Reply