I get the feeling Tim Noakes is starting to go off the reservation

"He sticks to what's published in the scientific literature, and there's a whole bunch of information that is suppressed. Why? Because industry controls it."

Noakes’s guru is US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz.

“If you haven’t read her book The Big Fat Surprise, you’re clueless”, he says.

“We are being totally manipulated and controlled - by industry, by governments, by the pharmaceutical industry - to believe a particular way. And that is why I am criticised. Not because what I’m saying is not healthy, but because it threatens massive industries.”

The food industry has decided that its job is to make profits, not agonise over health. If its addictive processed foods cause obesity and diabetes, so be it.

His critics in the medical profession are in effect paid by the pharmaceutical industry to perpetuate the myth that designer drugs are the answer to the resultant problems. Thus, for example, they promote the use of statins, “the most ineffective medicine ever developed”.

Lucky for me, I’m old enough not to give a damn about my weight anymore. :slight_smile:

As far as I can tell, humans are omnivores and you can eat whatever the hell you like.

His current fervour over this ticks all the signs of quacks boxes for me. Perhaps he is right, but right now I’m not convinced by the evidence he uses. He is a doctor speaking about something that is not his area of expertise, and nearly all dieticians and cardiologists and endocrinologists seem to be saying he is incorrect. He also bases some of what he says on his own experiences rather than on objective research. I know quite a few people who follow this diet and are losing weight and are happy, I also know a few who have achieved nothing except higher cholesterol. I feel like I"m the only person who doesn’t eat this way (though I’m carrying a bit of extra weight, so, perhaps I should, because my current diet of mostly chocolate isn’t working for me), but my spidey senses are tingling over this diet and I’m automatically wary of anything that suggests entire food groups be left out. Another thing that concerns me is that he seems to follow the same romanticised paleo notion that our forebears didn’t eat carbs - but I’ve recently read an article (I think it was on IFLS though) that says that remains with teeth plaque were recently discovered that show that carbs were eaten by the paleolithic people, soooo…

sometimes Noakes talks shit. Some years ago he was touting jogging and said something like “for every (insert here) miles you run you live (insert here) years longer…” no evidence to back this up. Somehow though I tend to agree with his latest diet fad. I listened to some experts talk on this over the radio (that thing in your car!) and it seems that some people will indeed lose weight on it while others won’t. The key is to have your system tested for the manner in which it processes fat and carbs…not everybody does it the same way.

The trouble with such claims is that they usually take years, even decades to evaluate properly. This is a gremlin that bedevils most of epidemiology. The only certainty here is that in the long run we’ll learn something new about human physiology, perhaps even something surprising.

Still, if nothing else, someone at least sees the punny side of Noakes’ nutritional about-face.


Me three. Heard a nutritional expert talk on the matter some time ago and his main point throughout was “everything in moderation”. Most of the different foods we eat contain something we don’t get anywhere else. To his great chagrin many “listeners” kept phoning in and kept asking (over and over and over…) “But I heard I should cut out X”, and every time he came back with “But X contains critical substance Y, and you need it to for Z”.

At the end I was convinced that the guy knew exactly what he was on about, and that it was a bad idea to exclude any foods from my diet. Omnivore it is then.

I’ve even taken to eating the odd chicken liver every now and then, even though I absolutely despise the taste.

Have you wok fried 'em whole in a smidgen of lard along with a chopped onion and a few drops of peri peri? Salt2Taste, and enjoy with a generous slice of sourdough wholewheat dripping butter. And don’t forget the brewski. As a delicious side to beer, chicken liver comes second only to Limburger on rye.

We supposedly live longer these days than ever before. If our culinary habits were indeed so devastating, the numbers would have told a different story.


Chicken liver is nice with garlic, I made it for my children when they were babies and first starting on solids. They’re horrified at the thought now. Yeah, I have omnivore teeth, so I use that as a bit if a hint about the general composition of my food.

That’s the advice I also follow.

Many people equate being on a diet to losing weight, totally disregarding other detrimental health consequences; in Noakes’s case cholesterol. In my opinion, there is often too much emphasis placed on what one should not eat. Then again, I am not a nutritionist.

Which is probably for the best. I am every bit as skeptical about the nutrition experts as I am about Noakes. A great deal of nutrition research consists of naive correlation studies that tell us nothing whatever (and are often the reason why clowns like Dr. Oz spout things like “Please eat 100 grams of broccoli per day - it will protect your pancreas against cancer and your brain against dementia.”)

Virtually all of it is complete and utter horse manure, and probably one of the unintended consequences of public funding for science research - it can lead to a publish-or-perish world in which quantity begins to take precedence over quality.

Gandhi lived a long and healthy life as vegetarian. Further north, Inuit live long and healthy lives on seal blubber. This tells me the obvious: humans are omnivores. You can eat whatever the hell you like. This whole global paranoia over what we eat is just one more in a long series of fads, and as is very often the case with such fads, highly popular with naive Luddites who want to live “closer to nature,” which means buying imported organic food at Woollies and removing a patch of Fynbos to make room for a cabin with an ocean view.

I’ve been on a low-carb (note that that is not no-carb) diet for a year now. Not the Noakes diet, but a modified form of the Atkins diet. I’ve lost 18kg, liver enzymes are down, cholesterol is down. I used to suffer horrendous heartburn and ate Rennies like tic-tacs, but I haven’t bought Rennies since I started the diet. This may be more information than you need or want, but my turds went from type 1 or 2 on the Bristol scale to type 3 or 4 due to eating more vegetables. But this is an anecdote. There are plenty of studies out there in peer-reviewed journals if anyone wants to look at them; just go to Google scholar and search for articles on low-carb diets.

If you aren’t overweight, the chances are that you don’t suffer from insulin resistance, so eat whatever you like; if you are, you should listen to your body and do whatever works best for you.

Are you not maybe just eating a bit less, knowing that you are on a diet? Maybe it is like people getting better fuel consumption by adding a useless magnet onto the fuel line. Knowing it is there they subconsciously change their driving style.

Yes, that’s how it works. When you eat carbs your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas releases insulin which causes the excess glucose to be deposited as fat, your blood sugar nosedives and you feel hungry again. Eating a low-carb diet keeps your blood sugar more or less even, eliminating the hunger and cravings caused by high-carbs and sugar diets. Because you’re less hungry you eat less.

I think if there is one thing that Noakes is right there is way to much sugar in our daily diets,
and being mindful of how much is there, is helpful.
I know my biggest problem is the sugars in my beer and cool drinks.

Beer doesn’t have much sugar in it The yeast converts the sugars into alcohol and CO2: only the complex sugars(Dextrins) are left depending on the original gravity and attenuation of the gravity: Cokes etc are very high in sugar content and more harmful than beer as far as sugar is concerned. But again moderation is key!

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has confirmed to Health24 that Professor Tim Noakes, who maintains that a diet high in fat is actually far healthier than we’ve all been led to believe, will be facing a two-day hearing.

HPCSA communications manager Priscilla Sekhonyana told Health24 the complaint relates to unprofessional conduct.

“A hearing will be taking place on 4 and 5 June 2015.”

This intervention appears to be off to a very bad start, as is evidenced by the overwhelming support for Noakes in the comments.

(1) It should have been made clear that the hearing is not about the effectiveness of his diet as a means of weight loss, but about the fact that he has consulted in a profession for which he is neither qualified nor registered.

(2) Noakes’s supporters are having a field day due to Claire Julsing-Strydom stating on her website that she consults for Kellogg’s.

(3) The Association for Dietetics in South Africa, whom she presumably represents, conceals their sponsorships.

All the makings are there for a huge public relations failure and conspiracy theories running amok.

I am watching the whole Noakes versus the world thing like it’s a fun movie. I’d have been munching popcorn, but apparently it’s bad for me. :slight_smile:

Regardless of how much of a quack Noakes is… This is all double standards: How many quacks with NO qualification go about peddling cancer remedies and HIV cures with nary a whimper from any council anywhere, but a medical professional (hey, at least he’s not an engineer) suggest a diet and everyone loses their minds.

YES: he should not do what he’s doing, but ffs if you can act on him go ahead and act on the other snake-oil salespeople of SA.

EDIT: I, BM, understand fully the only reason anyone can take action vs Noakes is because he’s registered with a council in the first place.

You should switch to salami.

Impossible. You can’t pop salami. :confused: