Healthy living: The Tim Noakes Diet

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Remember high-carb diets? Well, forget them. Forget pasta. Forget grains. Forget fruit. Forget carbo-loading. Forget meat-free Mondays. Eat meat. Eat fish. But most importantly, eat fat.

Tim Noakes is a Professor who’s sitting in his office at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. He discovered he was pre-diabetic, he suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, and he had gastric reflux. He was plagued by headaches and he had sleep apnea.

Then he came across a diet from an unlikely source, he has been on the diet for 14 months. After a month, his sleep apnea disappeared. The other afflictions followed. His headaches vanished. No more gastric reflux, no more spastic colon. Even his eyesight improved. What is this magic diet that has everyone talking?

First, let’s take a look at what it means to be pre-diabetic:

A pre-diabetic state is a condition of insulin resistance where the pancreas does produce insulin, but the body cells are resistant to this insulin and the insulin can’t transport blood glucose efficiently across the cell membrane to be used for energy purposes. Instead, blood glucose accumulates and the levels in the blood rise causing hyperglycemia, which can lead to deposition of body fat, particularly in the abdominal area, among other metabolic derangements.

What is this diet all about?

The Tim Noakes diet is also known as the high fat, moderate protein, no carbs diet. There are no meal times. No portion sizes. No kilojoule restriction. You let your body tell you how much to eat. The only thing you count is how many grams of sugar or carbohydrates you eat. It is not a short term diet; it is a lifestyle change, changing your attitude towards foods, drinks and exercise.

So what’s on the menu?

You should be stocking up on fish and chicken. You can snack on macadamia nuts, almonds and Brazilian nuts. Use full cream dairy and eat leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Tim isn’t a fan of fruit because it is high in carbs and fructose, if you decide to exclude fruit from your diet then you need to replace it with more vegetables to make up for it.

Which fats are the good ones?

There are good and bad types of fat. Your two good guys are the monounsaturated, like olive oil and avocados and the polyunsaturated, like canola seed oil, flaxseed oil and nuts. The bad guys are the saturated and the trans-fats.

The world is getting fatter, but not because of the Tim Noakes diet, it is because people are eating in excess and are inactive. The foods that are taken in excess are usually unhealthy and consist of whole-grain carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean proteins and unsaturated fats. Healthy eating combined with exercise can reduce the risk of developing the condition Noakes refers to as carb intolerance.

This eating plan is certainly revolutionary and it goes against the grain of what doctors previously thought to be true. Having said that, Noakes is a well-respected scientist and wouldn’t recommend something that hasn’t been thoroughly researched. His research methods have always been detailed and accurate and of high international standard.

Each individual needs to consider their unique medical condition and requirements before starting on the Tim Noakes diet.

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