Tim Noakes is a South African professor and is the Discovery Health Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town. He has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons, and is the author of the books Lore of Running, Challenging Beliefs, Waterlogged and Real Meal Revolution. He is a lifelong athlete and is rated an A1-scientist by the National Research Foundation. His research challenges scientific dogma.
Change Your Diet | Eat fat. I eat 70% fat in my diet.
I’m Very Hopeful That We’re Going To Have Governments | Acknowledge that the dietary guidelines are completely wrong, and change them. But I want the whole world to change, because it’s the only thing that’s going to save the health of the future generations – is changing our diets. And if we continue like this, we’re just going to get sicker.
The Medical Consequences Of The Bad Science Of Nutrition Are Profound | They threaten the financial security of the western world. Diabetes is so expensive to treat that it’s going to cause the failure of the United States in ten years’ time. Unless they address the diabetes issue, they can’t address the fiscal cliff. And they can’t address the diabetes issue unless they address industry, the processed food industry and on and on.
The Cholesterol Myth Has Hurt So Many People | Because a) it drives the bad diet that we’re eating and b) all these people are taking statins and harming their health, and believing it’s going to make them healthier. You can’t do it with a pill like that.
Carbohydrates Only Produces Energy And Fat | It can’t produce muscle. You cannot build muscle. You can only prevent muscle loss by taking carbohydrates. You have to have protein which is the driver for muscle growth. And the more carbohydrates you have in the diet the more nutritionally imbalanced the diet is, because the grains just don’t have any nutrients in them.
Banting In South Africa | There are similar people and movements around the world, but I don’t think it’s had such traction as it has in South Africa.
The Central Governor | I knew there must be a controller which is monitoring our system and saying ok, calm down. And so then I came up with that theory in 1996. And it was repudiated immediately. But now people say, oh Dr Noakes, it’s true about the brain, we always knew the brain regulates exercise performance. But if you go back to 1996, not one person said the brain regulates exercise performance.
In 2002 I wrote the lore of running | It introduces the Central Governor law to the general public. It was criticised heavily, but people wouldn’t criticise it now. Then I wrote Waterlogged, the book on Gatorade and over-drinking and that was the most influential book because I understood how industry gets scientists to drive that false information.
Industry Is So Powerful | That’s the problem. How government takes on industry I don’t know, but they have to do it. They’ll continue to give this wishy-washy advice, and blame us for being sick, but it’s not our fault.
You Have To Have An Extraordinary Goal | Beyond extraordinary. I honestly believe that the Real Meal revolution can change not just South Africa but the whole world. Cause there’s something about it, there’s a magic in that book that we never understood. So we’re going to release it in England and Australia next. And maybe we can convert those countries.
On Insulin Reistance | There was a paper published recently showing the genetic abnormalities in insulin resistance (insulin resistance is a disease which my profession doesn’t even acknowledge and which is a key driver of the whole obesity epidemic).
And there’s a whole array of different abnormalities which can lead to diabetes. So when I debate the experts they say no,
you got diabetes cause you got fat and you didn’t exercise. That isnt true. My family history and this high carbohydrate diet is what caused the problem.
Lewis Pugh Said | There are ten per cent of the population who will adapt very quickly. then there’s fifty per cent who will never change, which means you’re fighting for the remaining 40% who will eventually change with time. When you then get fifty per cent change, you’re ok. So we’re now targeting the people who will change but they just take a bit of time to change.
I Am Excited About | The fact that we’re going to change the eating behaviours of the majority of South Africans. And eventually get it to the poor people as well. And change the food distribution so that they get decent food. The next book that we’re writing is one for children, and then it’s living on R30 a day. Eating, Banting on R30 a day.
Researching The Banting Diet | The reality is that all the studies have already been done. It’s in the literature and we’re not going to change anything that’s not already in the literature. But the fact that we’re doing it and we can publicise it, and people say oh well, there is research from South Africa, that’s what will make a difference.
All The Money I’ve Made From My Books | I invest it in a fund whcih fund’s one of my staff here. If I had all the money in the world I would just fund research and researchers. Half a million Rand a year. That what I get from all books I’ve sold. I’m hoping we’ll be able to put a million or two a year into research, if we can raise that amount of money.
The Value Of The Banting Diet Is Proven In My Opinion | There are no long-term studies but there will never be, because long-term studies in nutrition are impossible to do. You can’t change people’s diets and restrict their diets in this way for forty years. So I get criticised but there are also no long-term studies supporting the low-fat diet, and all the ones that are done show that there’s either no benefit or you get worse on a low-fat diet.
Every Day People Write To Me | To say thank you for saving me from x, y and z. And then we’re told it was just an anecdote. But in fact, it’s a perfect experiment because the best experiments are the ones done out of the laboratory.
In the laboratory you don’t have intrinsic motivation, so all the clinical trials are done on people who are not motivated. Why would I want to eat a Banting diet? It’s more expensive, it’s more difficult, it’s inconvenient, I have to search for the foods, and so on. So they always slip back to the traditional diets and then they say, oh you see the diet doesn’t work. But if you keep people on the diets for a long time the benefits are huge.
The First Question We’re Tackling Is | Where do you get your glucose from if you’re eating no glucose? So to do that we have to measure the glucose production by liver.
Fortuntley, when we started two years ago, I had the inkling that the liver glucose production is the key problem in diabetes. I just knew it and now it’s shown. A year later. Someone, published a definitive paper showing that liver glucose production is the first abnormality in diabetes.
I suspect it’s present very early on. In other words you could detect this long before anyone suspects that they have diabetes. We’ve set up a system where we can measure the glucose production of the liver and we’re comparing people highly adapted to this diet and other athletes eating high-carbohydrate diets and comparing them during exercise. And seeing how’s their metabolism different.
Why’s it important? Because we’re always told by the nutritionists that you have to eat glucose to provide glucose to the brain. Well here we have people clearly not, and their liver is producing plenty of glucose.
So you don’t need to take any glucose which means that you have to eat glucose to produce glucose is rubbish. But unfortunately once you’re sick, your liver just pours out glucose and if you could control that you’d be fine.
And then if I go to the dieticians and they say you must eat carbohydrates, which just makes the liver pour out more glucose.
I Also Want To Look At Fat Athletes | Who are doing it all right, but they’re fat, because they’re insulin-resistant and they’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet. That’s a lovely way to identify insulin resistance.
The theory would be that a hundred per cent of them are insulin-resistant. And they’re eating high-carbohydrate diets. So then we’ve got a population that’s insulin-resistant, and then you can start studying an insulin-resistant population, because many thin people are insulin-resistant but you’d have to test a whole bunch of people to find the group that’s insulin-resistant. Here, we think we’ll find them immediately.
Then we’ll know a) what’s the prevalence of insulin resistance in a population that is physically active and then we’ll put some of them on a high-fat diet and some on a high-carbohydrate diet and see what the outcome is. The prediction is that on the high carbohydrate diet they’ll just continue to do badly. On a high-fat diet they’ll do brilliantly.
It’s Not That This Hasn’t Been Done | Insulin resistance and what it means and how metabolism is abnormal is fully described in the literature but it’s completely ignored. Because it just doesn’t fit the model. It’s astonishing. A chap called Raven in the 1960’s, started studying high-carb, high-fat diets and he immediately sees this massive difference. People get worse on the high-carbohydrate diet and better on the high-fat diet. And of course he can’t explain it. But he spends his life trying to figure it out…and now we can explain it. They don’t teach it at UCT Medical School. Not even the divertologists