South African Sports Scientist Inverts US Food Pyramid

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Posted in category Ancestral Health

A great conversion is taking place on South Africa. Professor Tim Noakes, an influential sports performance scientist, author, and long-time carb loader, has gone primal. Here’s a quote from an article in the Times Live.

Sports science expert Professor Tim Noakes has caused a stir in health circles by refuting his own nutritional advice, widely espoused as athletics gospel.

In an about-turn, Noakes is blaming food containing carbohydrates for the rise in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Noakes, who is the Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town, writes this in an article titled “Against the Grains”:

It has taken me 61 years to suspect that bread and cereals – the biblical staff of life – as well as rice, pasta and refined carbohydrates may not be healthy for me personally as I had always believed.

My attention to this possibility was piqued by the release of the most recent 2010 US Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines promote the concept of the Food Pyramid built on 6-11 daily servings of bread, cereals, rice and pasta. Although Americans now follow these guidelines more closely than ever, obesity has become the single greatest medical problem in the US. Thus the question: is this epidemic linked in some way to this increased carbohydrate intake? I decided to investigate.

Chris Becker, a South African reader, pointed me toward researching Dr. Noakes and his shift from the carb-loading paradigm to a fat-based, low-carb paradigm. Here is the letter I received from Chris:

Here’s an update on the paradigm shift to paleo/primal nutrition from South Africa.

Dr Tim Noakes is the co-founder of the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town, South Africa, and is author of the book “Lore of Running,” amongst others. He is highly respected around this neck of the woods by both the medical establishment, nutritional ‘experts’, and the public alike. After reading Gary Taubes books, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It,” he has changed his mind regarding nutrition. Before, he was a big proponent of carbo-loading before marathons. Now, he says the section on nutrition in his book will be re-written, and if you own the book, you should rip that section out.

He writes in a Discovery Health newsletter – one of SA’s biggest private medical insurance firms – that after his own investigation and thereafter “rigorously avoiding all bread, cereals, rice, pasta and refined carbohydrates and replacing that nutritional deficit with healthy meats, fish, fruit, vegetables and fats, including nuts…Five months later, I am at my lightest weight in 20 years and I am running faster than I have in 20 years. For the first time since I ran heroic weekly mileages in training have I learned exactly how to maintain an ideal body weight without any sense of privation. And with only as much exercise as I want to do. Even my friends are impressed. They agree that not even the most expensive cosmetic surgery could have produced such a remarkable change.” The problem he cites, and even takes aim at the “very large industries, including the soft-drink, sugar and confectionary industries” who “do not want us to know this.” The rest of the article is basically Dr Tim Noakes reading from Mark Sisson’s playbook.

It’s kind of like Paul Krugman going Austrian. Okay… maybe not quite… but nevertheless exciting stuff happening down here! Keep up the great work at LRC, the word is getting out!

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2 Responses to South African Sports Scientist Inverts US Food Pyramid

  1. deborah says:

    February 12th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    That’s bc carbs feed the fungus in our body, continually making us hungry and over eat.  Everyone needs and anti fungal diet and they might feel better and lose weight.

  2. Jay-Sporto-Boots says:

    February 13th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    The paleo style diet definitely works well for some people, however is there any way of finding out more in terms of the potential long term health aspects?! The normal ‘food plate’ was designed with the government in mind, was there anything ‘behind’ it in the first place?!

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