The Banting Diet – AKA “The 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).
Compare the Tim Noakes diet and the Paleo diet here.
Controversy surrounding the 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. The Tim Noakes diet is not some under-researched diet fad.
For example, counter to much of what is proposed for people when the start to follow the Tim Noakes diet, the Lore of Running recommends 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, though he has now been associated with his own brand of the “Tim Noakes diet” and the Banting 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, and I have no doubt that the now colloquial Tim Noakes Diet is going to make the world a healthier place.
If you are interested in learning about how the Paleo diet works 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?
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: Wheat based 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 on what you can and can not eat when following the Tim Noakes diet 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 Tim Noakes Diet:
The now infamous “Stellenbosch study” is probably the most “comprehensive” study of the Tim Noakes diet 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 Tim 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 Tim 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 on the efficacy of the Banting and Tim Noakes diets, respectively.
So where does this leave you, the reader?
Where do you turn to when there doesn’t seem to be much of a clear winning argument as to whether or not the Tim Noakes diet will work for you?
Well, I can only offer my opinion based on extensive nutritional experiments and lots and lots of self-study into the world of nutrition and dieting.
My take on the Tim Noakes Diet:
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 Tim 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 Tim Noakes Diet way and the Paleo diet way. 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 Tim Noakes diet 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.
Tim advises that people following the Tim Noakes Diet 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 or the Tim Noakes diet…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 Tim 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 on Tim Noakes and his “Tim Noakes diet”?
What is the difference between the Banting diet and Paleo?
You have no doubts heard about “Banting” and the banting diet from various articles online.
The Banting Diet – Where it comes from
Banting and the banting diet refers to the diet protocol by William Banting A formerly obese English undertaker who in order to lose weight cut back on refined, easy to digest carbohydrates.
He learned this way of eating from a physician by the name of Dr. William Harvey. Harvey however was using the then unnamed banting diet in the context of managing diabetes rather than specifically trying to reduce weight gain and/or accelerate weight loss.
These are common themes across all the low carbohydrate eating spheres and the Paleo diet is in fact referenced on Wikipedia’s page for William Banting.
The basic guidelines of the banting diet is to remove foods which are typically high in carbohydrates from your day-to-day diet for a period. These foods include potatoes, bread, pasta and anything that has sugar on it. William Banting also speaks about the efficacy of the banting diet based on his own experience as well as that of his physician Dr. Harvey. There is some reference to the diet working mainly on superfluous fat on the body and not on all fat in the body. We now know that low carbohydrate diets effect the way all fat is managed in the body and I suspect that the additional removal of some troublesome foods could be responsible for this.
Banting in a nutshell:
- Cut out refined sugars
- Soda-style drinks
- Almost anything that comes in a box
- Kid’s breakfast cereals – including All Bran, Corn Flakes and Rice Crispy Krispies etc
- Eat more fat
- Tim Noakes recommends to radically increase your fat intake, something I recommend too, but perhaps not so aggressively. Start with chicken eggs, they are the easiest way of boosting fat intake, along with coconut oil, butter and olive oil.
- Eat less carbohydrates, period
- Carbohydrates make you fat, you must know this by now? I mean, Banting and the Banting diet aren’t “new” any more. Start with the obvious culprits like breads, chips, sugar, and if you are overweight, fruit, too.
- Boost protein intake
- Particularly in the morning. If you are wanting to start the Banting (and Paleo for that matter) diet, eat more protein. Start with 30 grams within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. Shoot for around 2-4 chicken eggs. We’ve got a pretty great recipe for this in our recipe book… learn more by clicking here.
- Start. Yes, many people say they are going to start, but you reall must start to see any improvements.
An Intro To Paleo
It is no secret that there are definite similarities between the Banting diet and the Paleo diet. The difference is that Paleo is much more evolved and has the fortune of scientific studies to back it up. Paleo/HFLC/Noakes/Banting diets all promote a greater amount of nutrient density in food selection, and I think this is an important point to focus on. It doesn’t take much to realise that a slice of bread has much less nutrients in it than say a chicken’s egg, and it is this sort of thinking that needs to take place in order to understand that it’s not only what foods you aren’t eating that count, it’s what foods you are eating count, too.
William Banting and the Banting diet certainly was ahead of his time in “discovering” that sugar and carbohydrate dense foods promote weight gain and the theme was only picked up again decades later. It is amazing how one man could have made such an impact on the world, and it is equally amazing just how the wool was pulled over our eyes for so much time with regards to the dangers of carbohydrates. Paleo also differs from the Banting diet (and many other diets in fact) as it’s food consumption limitations extend further than only carbohydrate dense foods. Grains are cautioned against because many of them contain gluten which poses issues for the digestive system. Legumes are another offender and are advised to be removed from the diet due to them containing lectins (also agitate the intestines).
At the end of the day it would make sense to go with the diet that has more modern knowledge of the way our bodies operate and process foods and nutrients. William Banting certainly discovered a great way to eat, especially if weight loss was priority number one. However, like the Wright Brothers and their first aeroplane, they invented something for others to take and fine tune, re-engineer and ultimately make better, and that is what Paleo is to healthy eating.
What is the real difference from the Banting diet?
It might appear that from the outside that Paleo and the Banting diet are the same thing. They are similar in core principles, but there are differences which can be noted and used to separate the two.
A core lesson that Paleo teaches is that it is focused on high nutrient intake above high fat, carbohydrate or protein intake.
This simply means that you should focus on eating the highest quality foods available whenever possible. This doesn’t automatically mean that following a Paleo diet is necessarily low carbohydrate, high fat or high protein, even though much of the foods that are Paleo “Okay” are in fact low carbohydrate.
This differs from the banting diet and the “Tim Noakes Diet” because they promote a hardcore low carbohydrate intake. The reality is that human bodies generally function better on low carb foods, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus when building what I consider a healthy diet.
Dairy is also turning out to be a massive difference between the Paleo diet and the Banting diet. Paleo doesn’t recommend that dairy makes up part of your diet because it is incredibly insulinogenic (boosts insulin secretion), and this is not good for weight loss. Remember, milk is designed to be consumed by baby animals that have growing bodies.
Humans don’t keep drinking human breast milk when they are adults, so why should we consume animal milk when we are adults. Do you see why this might be a problem?
Where Paleo Beats The Banting Diet…
I think that Paleo will win the test of time, so to speak. Paleo has been around for a long time in one way or another, and looking at Paleo dieting as an evolution of the banting diet is a good way of framing how they relate to one another. Banting in its purest form is a relatively older way of approaching eating for health, and was largely based on assumptions at the time. Paleo however is based on scientific evidence that eating like our ancestors did is generally best for optimal human health.
It is important to understand that nutrition research is constantly in flux and is a dynamic area of understanding. That’s not saying that nutritionists, scientists and researchers will turn around tomorrow and say that Paleo is unhealthy, I in fact believe the opposite will happen, but we must respect that new research will produce new understanding and with new understanding we get a better picture on how to eat for health, energy and longevity.
Eating Paleo starts with making sure that you are only eating foods that are nutrient dense, easy to digest and that promote a state of anti-inflammation in the body. This is the core focus of Paleo recommended foods and if you make it part of your lifestyle you will see results because the body knows how to be healthy, we’ve just got to send it the right signals.