Prof Tim Noakes’ shifting eating advice
Early in his career, Noakes promoted the use of carbohydrates, but recently changed his stance, and is now warning against it. Here is a look at how his eatig philosophy evolved from a high-carb, low-fat diet, to a low-carb diet, high protein and eventually to a high fat diet.
- In 1986, in his first book, The Lore of Running, Prof Tim Noakes dedicates a whole chapter to the importance of carbohydrates, promoting its benefits to runners and other athletes.
- In 2011, Noakes announces in an article that he has had a change of heart after losing 20kg by cutting refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, etc) from his diet and replacing it with meat and fish, indicating a high protein instead of a high fat diet. He particularly notes that he still eats fruit and vegetables.
- By 2012, in addition to cutting out refined carbohydrates, Noakes has also cut bananas and potatoes from his diet and is allowing himself between 50 and 75g of carbohydrates a day. There is no indication of a restriction of protein.
- Today, he only allows himself 50g or less of carbohydrates. The “Tim Noakes Diet” is known as a low-carb, high-fat diet and also has restrictions on protein intake. He advises cutting out most fruit because of their high sugar content, most starchy vegetables (eg butternut) and all legumes (eg. lentils, beans.)
But dieticians warn that you will be depriving your body of important nutrients if you cut fruit, vegetables and whole grains from your diet.
Fruit and vegetables are important sources of fibre, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. It also contains important phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
“Fruit and vegetables are the only food which collectively have been consistently associated with risk reduction in several diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and age-related muscular degeneration,” said Maryke van Zyl, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa.