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6 things we learned from Tim Noakes about the LCHF diet

After listening to Tim Noakes speak, we came away with 6 interesting questions answered about the controversial Banting diet.

14 Aug 2014
tim noakes,low carb, banting

Cape Town - 12 August 2014,

Food24 attended a talk by Professor Tim Noakes on Tuesday evening in Cape Town. And as much as his #LCHF Banting diet has been discussed to-and-fro, both at the dinner table and online - we came away from the talk knowing more about the basics of this eating lifestyle.

We've transcribed Tim's talk and Q&A session between Tim and an assembled group of media and invitees, and tried to keep it to the basics:

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. The lack of insulin causes a form of diabetes.

Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition where the cells become resistant to insulin and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to hyperglycemia.

It’s estimated that up to 50% of South Africans are pre-diabetic.

Take this quiz on Health24 to find out more about your own insulin resistance.

What happens when you are insulin resistant?

If you are insulin resistant and eat a high carbohydrate diet (in my experience as an insulin resistant person) you put on weight, you get lethargic, you fall asleep at lunch time, and you can become more aggressive and arrogant and fight with people.

Why is South Africa getting fat?

The industry doesn’t want you to believe that it’s because we eat too much carbohydrate. Industry wants you to believe the patient is the problem. The problem is that processed carbohydrates are so readily available. Insulin resistance is widespread. If you have it and eat a high carbohydrate diet, you have to be careful.

What is the best diet for healthy people who are not clinically obese?

The best diet for non-insulin resistant people is a diet with no processed food. The appestat is the region of the hypothalamus of the brain which is believed to control a person's appetite for food. Processed food destroys the appestat. You need to re-program your appestat to not depend on processed food.

What about vegetarianism and veganism?

If you are insulin resistant and eat only a vegan or vegetarian diet with a lot of high carbohydrate vegetables, it could be a problem. In Tim's view, a vegetarian diet is very good but cheating may be necessary, as he believes we need a certain amount of animal fat in our diets. However he fully supports the ethical reasons for vegetarianism and veganism.

What is wrong with carbohydrates?

Of the nutrients; protein, carbohydrate, and fat, the one that is unnecessary for human existence is carbohydrate; there is no known carbohydrate deficiency disease in humans.

In 1977, an error was made; we took food we don’t need and made it a basis for every meal. On present guidelines, we’re taught to make starchy food the basis for every meal and to cut out the fat.

When we eat carbohydrates, we either burn it as fuel or store it as fat. But, the more insulin resistant you are, the more fat you store.

We don’t build muscles, brains, or bones from carbohydrates, but  from fat and protein; therefore you are not doing your children any favours by filling them up with carbohydrates.

We are taught to eat a balanced diet, but what is balanced if the traditional food pyramid suggests 60% carbohydrates?

Why don’t all mammals eat the same food?

Giraffes eat mainly Acacia plants. What would happen if a giraffe ate a ‘balanced diet’? They have co-evolved with bacteria in their gut which take the Acacia plant, which has little nutrient value; and turn it into the nutrients that giraffes need.

We have ten trillion bacteria in our body and a problem we have is that we don’t know what is going on in our guts. So how do we as humans know what is meant by a 'balanced diet' for us?

Do you eat a low carb high fat diet? Have a look at our carb conscious recipe section for meal ideas.

Read more articles about the Tim Noakes Banting 'revolution':

Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) diet and what is 'banting'?

Tim Noakes anti-banting twitter takeover

Banting: study shows Tim Noakes' low carb eating plan no better than a balanced diet

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