Who is Professor Tim Noakes and what is the “Tim Noakes Diet”?
Tim Noakes is a globally acclaimed sports and nutrition professor who specialises in understanding the way the human body functions while performing vigorous activity; such as playing a sport. However, he has great knowledge about nutrition and health for people who aren’t physically active as well.
He has written many books on how we have been led astray by big media, society and those who are supposed to have our best interests at heart but sadly do not. Tim himself is a runner who has written comprehensive books focusing on the sport (Lore of Running).
Controversy surrounding Tim Noakes diet…
Throughout the past couple of years Tim has had no shortage of controversy surrounding him. It appears as though he has always “gone against the grain” and as a result has had many people question his scientific methods.
The reality however, is that if and when he goes against the common, widely “accepted” knowledge when it comes to nutrition, he does so because he honestly believes there is room to correct errors and further understanding.
For example, it is stated that in the Lore of Running that an athlete should use carbo-loading as a method of enhancing running performance. Recently, he went back on this fact during the period where he was re-evaluating what makes up a healthy human diet by saying that people should still read the book, just that they should tear out the sections on nutrition. He has since promoted a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates, which is basically the paleo diet.
Tim Noakes’s personality isn’t one of someone who challenges common beliefs just because he can, he is a humble man who is self described as being shy and introverted, who ultimately wants to search for how optimum health can be achieved. His research is bold, substantiated and accurate.
Something which can’t be said for almost all of the “research” performed before advising the world that the Western diet of processed foods such as breads and pastas was a healthy one.
He has particular interest in the way in which people metabolise carbohydrates where it has been discovered that those people who are less effective at dealing with carbs in their diet are more common than many people believe.
Metabolic syndrome, diabetes and insulin resistance are all agitated and brought on by the consumption of carbohydrates, and can be controlled and in some cases reversed by reducing the consumption of carbohydrates. Noakes himself is diabetic, and so has to cut carbohydrate consumption down to 25 grams or else his insulin levels become unstable and he puts on body fat. He is diabetic because he ate too many carbohydrates for too long as an athlete. Perhaps if he was able to get word of the “Tim Noakes diet” out sooner he could have even saved himself!
Tim Noakes and I
I recently had the opportunity to meet and chat to Tim in person. He’s a great guy, and was interested in how I had managed to beat my oral allergy syndrome by eating according to a paleo, high fat, low carbohydrate diet. The root cause of my OAS, I believe, was the inflammation in my digestive system brought on by the consumption of grains and grain based foods containing gluten.
Tim’s speech was great, and there was a great rapport established between him and the audience. I really enjoyed the evening and I’d love to meet and chat to Tim some more about high fat eating and the paleo movement in depth. He is a very inspiring man!
If you are interested in the paleo diet and want to learn more about how you can action its principles in your life then you should really signup below for the free 7 Steps To Paleo ebook. In it, you’ll learn which foods should not be eaten and which foods should, as well as other tips and links to articles which will help you in your high-fat “tim noakes diet” transformation.
Here’s a great debate between Tim and Lionel Opie on the “Tim Noakes diet” guidelines:
How I can help you
I’ve written an ebook called “How To Paleo: Lose Weight, Gain Muscle and Avoid Doctors”, which aims to provide you with all the information you need to understand just why the foods you’ve been eating for so long as so bad for you. The ebook is in simple language so it can be read by anyone and is clear on what you need to change in your diet to see great improvements. What I love about Paleo is that it is simple, straightforward and has proven results for many different “types” of people. If you are overweight and are looking for an easy way of regaining health through weight loss and improving overall well being the Paleo way of eating is perfect for you. On the opposite side of the scale, so to speak, are very lean people wanting to pick up some healthy weight, again, a Paleo style diet will work very well for you here.
Does Paleo work for weight loss?
It most certainly does, click the button below to read some testimonials I’ve received.
Paleo is a great way of eating for everyone because it doesn’t require any high maintenance tasks such as calorie counting, food portion control or time-based eating. The principles are simple and easy to follow because you are eating foods which your body knows what to do with all the time, which is far superior to “crash” and “fad” diets that have time periods of effectiveness associated with them. Paleo is a lifestyle decision, and once you see how simple it is to build and maintain a healthy eating lifestyle everything will make sense and the mistakes you have made in your diet previously will be obvious.
The “Tim Noakes Diet” In A Nutshell
- Limit the amounts of high carbohydrate foods including: sweet potatoes, butternut, pumpkin, fruit and carrots
- Never eat: baked goods and grain based foods, breads, high fructose fruits, all seed oils, fast food, processed food, preservatives, agave products, artificial products etc.
- Eat lots of: nuts and seeds (excluding peanuts and cashews), grass fed/free range animal products, green vegetables, omega 3 fat sources, fish, coconut oil, olive oil etc.
While the above list isn’t comprehensive, it does indicate a trend for you to follow when it comes to working out how the Noakes diet fits together. It’s important to realise that most guidelines aren’t concrete and can be adapted to your specific lifestyle. It’s better to always experiment with your diet then it is to just follow suite blindly. This isn’t true for everything however as agave products are technically natural, and while they are high in fructose, they can be consumed in moderation in my opinion. Sugar shouldn’t make up a big part of your diet, and you should be on the lookout for foods which contain it and limit the amounts you eat.
Arguments against the Noakes diet:
The now infamous “Stellenbosch study” is probably the most “comprehensive” study of the diet Tim Noakes was pushing people to try. Claims include that the diet can harm and even kill people who try it. You can read the story by clicking here. Further to this, academics from the University of Cape Town submitted a letter to a major newspaper claiming that he was outrageous, promoted unproven claims and didn’t tell the whole story about disease prevention.
Professor Noakes has argued that the study didn’t take into account all the factors of the Noakes diet, including that their studies hadn’t accounted for just how low a low-carb diet the Noakes plan really is. Researchers contributing to the paper studied the effects of a diet of around 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, when in fact the Noakes diet promotes a diet of 60 grams or less. These are big differences, and ultimately would affect a study and its outcome immensely.
Other scientists such as Lionel Opie, Dr Marjanne Senekal, Prof Wim de Villiers and Prof Bongani Mayosi have slated Professor Tim Noakes as practising irresponsible science and that he is evidence deficient in his claims.
I think that even with all the negative controversy around Tim’s “radical” shift in perspective and advice in how to eat for health there is still much to be said for his diet.
For one, the Noakes diet, Banting and in fact Paleo are for most part synonymous. Read how banting and Paleo compare here
However, there are some differences between eating the Noakes way and Paleo. Paleo focuses on nutrient density above all else, and while it is a naturally low carbohydrate, high fat diet “as the chips fall”, it isn’t actually a low carb nor high fat diet, but better regarded as a diet and lifestyle focused on optimum nutrition. Yes, low carbohydrate eating has dramatic effects and vast improvement potential for pretty much everyone who eats it, but it isn’t as ruthless as the Noakes eating plan.
To me, (and to many people it seems) this makes diets like Paleo longer lasting and more “real world”. Yes, that’s quite a statement to make, but think about who was “here” first. Paleo has been around for decades now, and while the Noakes diet and Banting are very similar in that they promote anti-inflammatory food consumption, the removal of high carb foods and the eating of fat, their research is still quite small in number when compared to all that has been done in the name of Paleo.
I have received quite a few emails now from people asking for diet advice after trying “the Noakes diet” and there are some patterns I have noticed emerging.
- Dairy. Tim advises that people can eat as much high fat dairy as they like, or at least that is how people interpret his teachings. I honestly don’t recommend eating lots of dairy due to it’s massive insulinogenic effects. If weight loss is key, dairy shouldn’t be part of your diet in any large amounts.
- People just don’t trust him. This one has been quite surprising to me as if ever there was someone who has been out in the open and attempting to teach people that common high carbohydrate, grain stuffed diets are bad for health it would be Tim Noakes. Yes, he may have had his fair share of criticism (he always has), but that doesn’t mean his motives aren’t to help people or to get rich. It seems strange that people assume that because his book “The Real Meal Revolution” is doing very, very well that it immediately makes him less credible or out to get their money. Some recipes in the book don’t work as intended, I must admit, and that could be due to it being put together in six short weeks, but I 100% stand behind the “fight” Tim Noakes has brought to the world.
If there was ever a time to consider “alternative” eating methodologies such as Paleo, Banting or the Noakes diet, now is the time. Never before has there been such a forum to test, research and receive feedback for how things work thanks to the Internet and the connectedness it provides people. Just a look at all the testimonials Tim has received speak loads more than doctor’s attempts at nuking his revolution, at least to me they do. At the end of the day the proof is in the pudding, and being at the cutting edge of dietary research has responsibilities, sure, but if people are consistently getting healthier and healthier then it seems everything is looking pretty positive.
What are your thoughts?