South African Professor Endorses Low Carb

The low carb, high protein debate has really kicked off in South Africa recently. One of our most famous sports scientists, marathon runner and professor was recently diagnosed with Type 2. He had previously written a book that has become a textbook on long distance running and had endorsed carbo-loading. Since becoming T2 he's turned completely around and is pushing low carb.

This was a response from a South African satirical news site:
Noakes Diet Slammed by Cows!

Great find, thanks for posting it. Although, I think it's low carb, high fat and not high protein that Noakes is supporting. Some interesting notes from the article:

Since his embrace of the Palaeolithic diet, tensions have risen between Noakes and members of the medical establishment whom he refers to as "pill pushers". But both sides agree that ingesting a significant load of refined simple carbohydrates, which are rapidly digested and absorbed, causes a spike in insulin that drives glucose into the muscles and liver and converts the excess blood sugar to fat.

Insulin evolved to deal with complex carbohydrates, which are digested at a slower rate than refined sugars, and so have a long half-life. What this all means is that after your sports drink and pastry have been packed away on your hips or in your gut, insulin hangs around long enough to drive your blood sugar down and cause hunger. Eating more refined carbohydrates in response to that hunger results in a vicious cycle that can lead to obesity and – in the genetically susceptible – insulin resistance and type two diabetes. Because protein slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, endocrinologists and dieticians recommend sticking to complex carbohydrates and always combining them with protein.

Noakes has postulated that because most people who suffer heart attacks do not have elevated cholesterol levels, cholesterol does not cause heart attacks.

"If cholesterol is not markedly elevated it is not a sole predictor of heart disease, but it is part of the risk calculation," said Dr Dirk Blom, an academic at UCT's lipid clinic who admits that most people who suffer heart attacks do have normal cholesterol.

I think the "high fat" idea comes from the journalist, not Noakes. Here is an article which Noakes wrote which makes it clear he is following the Banting/Atkins/Taubes eating plan.,73175.asp

I really like the way Noakes explains things. I think one of the reasons this is so controversial in South Africa at the moment is because everyone know he is a superfit and healthy marathon runner, and now he has T2 and this flies in the face of a lot of what you see about T2 in the media.

Another article:

In case you're wondering what his qualifications are, here's a list:
Written by Professor Timothy Noakes OMS, MBChB, MD, DSc, PhD (hc), FACSM, FFSEM (UK).
Discovery Health Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

The link to the satirical site did not work. Here is a corrected link. Very funny!

The sweetlife link didnt work, here's the corrected link Another well written article, thanks.

Megan, thanks for the link to this well written article. I particularly like the explanation of why so much diet research is of poor quality, which in turn leads to conflicting claims as to what is good to eat and what is not. It's refreshing when someone with a good reputation in a field decides they were wrong and publicly corrects themselves.