Tim Noakes: Fat Myths, Reversing Diabetes & The Real Meal Revolution | 180 Nutrition

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Tim Noakes: Fat Myths, Reversing Diabetes & The Real Meal Revolution

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week welcome to the show Tim Noakes.  Prof Noakes was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1949. As a youngster, he had a keen interest in sport and attended Diocesan College in Cape Town. Following this, he studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and obtained an MBChB degree in 1974, an MD in 1981 and a DSc (Med) in Exercise Science in 2002.

In the early 90s, Noakes teamed up with Morné du Plessis to drive the founding of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). The Institute was built to provide a facility that would primarily fund research in sports performance. The application of this research would provide sports personnel of all disciplines with the means to improve. Noakes and du Plessis also wanted to use it as a platform to build public interest in the country’s top sports people and build state pride.

Prof Noakes has published more than 750 scientific books and articles. He has been cited more than 16 000 times in scientific literature, has an H-index of 71 and has been rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa for a second 5-year term. He has won numerous awards over the years and made himself available on many editorial boards.

He has a passion for running and is still active, running half marathons when he can. He is a devoted husband, father and grandfather and now, in his retirement, is enjoying spending more time with his family.

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Questions we ask in this episode:

  • You’ve been a huge voice in making changes within the dietary guidelines over the last few years, how has the response been?
  • Can you tell us about the ‘Ocean View Project” and the results you have seen so far.
  • What results have you seen in reversing diabetes?
  • You’ve written a book called ‘Waterlogged’. Can you explain the concept behind this book and overhydration
  • On the topic of longevity should we favour a specific type of exercise?
  • And much much more.

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Full Transcript

Guy

[00:01:00] Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition. Welcome to another stellar episode of the Health Sessions, of course, where we are connected with leading global health and wellness experts to share the best and the latest science and thinking, empowering us all to turn our health and lives around. This week we welcome back to the show the one and only, awesome, Mr. Professor Tim Noakes from South Africa. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Tim’s work, he has published more than 750 scientific books and articles. He’s been cited more than 16,000 times in scientific literature. He has a H-index of 71 and has been rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa for a second five year term. Amazing. He has won numerous awards over the years, and made himself available for many editorial boards, and of course, has a very famous book. The Law of Running is considered the bible of the running sport itself. It was just a privilege to get Tim back on the show today and pick his brains on what he’s been up to over the last few years.

[00:01:30] Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Tim more recently … Well, I say more recently, a few year ago, which we get into today, he kind of flipped his way of thinking around fueling for sport where he had been for 33 years promoting the low-fat, the carb loading, endurance sport diet for athletes. Then had a complete turn around and came out with that, which is a huge deal. We get into that today, and over the five years since, I think, this has happened what he’s been up to and his fights against type II diabetes as well in South Africa. We get into sports recovery, sports hydration from his famous book, Water Logged, as well.

[00:02:00] It’s all in there and you are going to love it. If you do love the show guys, just share it with people that you think are going to benefit from this kind of information because we’re getting more and more people listening to our podcast. We’re getting more and more emails and from people that are just having these epiphanies around their health, and it’s definitely helping everyone, including ourselves as well. Help spread the love, share the word, and get this information out there with people, because it does change people’s lives.

Anyway guys, let’s go over to Tim. Hit me up on Instagram stories if you enjoy the episode. Oh, I’ve also started my own little Instagram channel as well, which is Guy H. Lawrence, which you can follow me on there as well, outside of 180 Nutrition. Awesome guys. Let’s go over to Tim Noakes. Enjoy.

Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke as always. Hello Stu.

Stu

Hello, mate.

Guy

Our fantastic guest today is Mr. Tim Noakes. Tim, welcome back to the podcast.

Tim

Thanks very much Guy, lovely to be back with you.

Guy

It’s phenomenal, mate. I can’t believe it’s been over three years since you last come on, and I have no doubt a lot has happened since then that we can get into today.

Tim

Yeah.

Guy

Tim, there’s a question that we ask everyone on the show at the moment and that is, if a complete stranger stopped you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?

Tim

At present I’m retired, so I do what I want to do. Essentially, I’m finishing up a five-year trial against me on the basis that I gave information on Twitter, which was considered unconventional. What we did was, we put the low-fat diet on trial. We said, “Okay, if you’re going to try me for this nonsense, let’s see whether there’s any evidence that the low-fat diet is healthy.” So we put it on trial, and the trial ended on April the 21st and I won 10-0.

Guy

Oh wow.

Tim

I won 10 rulings against zero. That has taken five years, and I’ve spent the last year or two writing a book about it, co-authored with an investigative journalist in South Africa, so I’m just finishing that up. At the moment I’m retired, but I’m writing books and I am getting around to revising Law of Running because it also needs a bit of help. It’s a little bit dated on certain topics.

Guy

A bit of update. That’s incredible.

Tim

[crosstalk 00:04:02] spending his time reading. I mean, I just get more information today than I’ve ever had. The beauty today is that via the internet you can access so much information, so easily. It’s astonishing compared to even five years ago.

Guy

Wow.

Tim

If you’re someone like myself who loves information, it just opens up a whole new world. I don’t go to the library. You don’t have to go to the library. Your library is of course the internet.

Stu

Absolutely, yeah.

Guy

Yeah, 100%. Just curious, just to fill in for our listeners just in case they’re not familiar with your work before, Tim. Could you give us a snapshot, because you just did that five year study, so what compelled you to do that in the first place? Could you mind just filling in a little bit about the background?

Tim

[00:05:30] You mean more recently? Well, I promoted the high carbohydrate diet for 33 years and I’ve followed the diet myself. Then I discovered that I was getting unhealthy, my running was dreadful, I was putting on weight. I subsequently discovered I was type 2 diabetic, which of course didn’t help. Then I started reading, and I realized that there’s this whole body of information that is hidden from us. That the low carbohydrate diet, in fact, there’ve been a huge amount of studies showing its benefits, and they’re completely hidden from our profession. I was ignorant of it, so I read the book by Westman, that’s called The New Atkins for the New You, and it completely changed my life. Within two hours, I realized, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got it all wrong for 33 years. I’ll have to change.”

Of course, I experimented, and so that’s now been six years and we’re actively researching it now. We’re looking at type 2 diabetes, treating it with this diet, seeing what happens, studying the metabolic effects of a low carbohydrate diet. So it’s been really exciting. I continue to be involved in research, raising funds for research, but the focus has shifted from running specifically to nutrition, and particularly the benefits of high fat diets.

Guy

Yeah, incredible. Why … Sorry, I know Stu is going to ask a question, but last question. Why does it take a study five years, like to … Because it’s quite a length of time.

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Tim

[00:06:30] Oh. Listen, this is going to take the rest of the of our lives because the … What I’ve learned from my trial, and the fact that my university repudiated me … So, what I learned was in five years that, you know, my university completely repudiated me in a way that was astonishing. Because here I’d spent 35 years building up this department at the university and then just because I changed my mind they decided to kick me out to the wolves, and it’s been an astonishing experience. And that’s what the book’s all about.

[00:07:00] But I learned that to change ideas, which are so ingrained, and, which have so much commercial impact that it’s going to take many, many years. It’s going to take 10 or 15 years ’cause this is a real revolution, and revolution is not something that can happen incrementally.

People are not [inaudible 00:07:02] say, “Oh yes, you know, I think you can. This is sort of a little bit right.” Because what we’re doing is so wrong that we have to completely throw it all out and start again, and the industry and egos and careers are both on the old ideas, so they’re not going to let it go.

Guy

Yeah.

Tim

And the only thing that [inaudible 00:07:16] is individuals taking it forward, that’s what we have to do.

Stu

Yes.

Tim

We have to get the people to take it forward.

Stu

And how do you think the public have responded? I mean, obviously we are so ingrained into this low fat message and our supermarket shelves are littered with that message as well. But I can see that there is a shift, there’s a tide that’s turned and we’re all starting to become a little bit more aware in the advent of Primal, Paleo clean eating; things like that.

But what response have you seen from the public?

Tim

[00:08:00] Well, you know, in [inaudible 00:07:54] Cape Town the word “banting” was … No one knew what banting meant. Banting, office, was the London undertaker who did the diet for the first time in 1862 and wrote about it. So now that word has become part of … In fact, it’s part of the Afrikaans dictionary in south Africa now. Banting is part of the … It’s got into the dictionary which … Of course, it’s always been in the British dictionary but it’s in the Afrikaans dictionary in Africa.
[00:08:30] My point is that today there’s a Facebook group in Cape Town called the Seven Day Banting Meal Plan. It gets 2,000 new members every day. Did you hear?

Stu

Wow.

Tim

Two thousand new members. It’s got …

Stu

My word.

Tim

… 670,000 members.

Stu

Crikey.

Tim

And 80% of them are not looking like myself, white, middle class, et cetera.

Stu

Yeah.

Tim

It’s got right through to the whole community in South Africa. Across all the racial groups and across all social classes.

Guy

That’s amazing.

Tim

[00:09:00] And it’s really exciting. So we estimate there are a couple of million people in South Africa who are now following this diet. And that means a considerable percentage of people are doing it. It just grows every day. Because why? Because people are obese, they’ve seen them, they suddenly lose weight. People say, “What did you do?” “Easy, I just started eating this lovely food.” And then that just goes on and on and on.

Guy

Wow. A

Stu

Fantastic.

Guy

And how [crosstalk 00:09:19] responded to that? Is is still controversial? Because I think you [crosstalk 00:09:24]

Tim

[00:09:30] Yeah, you see, what you have to understand and I didn’t understand it. The government industry and academia are tied together. They’re a community.

Stu

Yeah.

Tim

And government is as corrupt as industry is, and academics are influenced by both.

Guy

Got it.

Tim

And they’re all tied together, and you can’t break that chain. So government’s … I’ve just tweeted the paper this morning. Increased rates of diabetes across Africa. So clearly, whatever we’re doing isn’t working.

Stu

Yeah.

Tim

[00:10:00] It’s a tsunami, it’s going to destroy medical care in Africa. We can’t afford it. We know how to prevent it, but no one does anything. And that’s because of this government, industry, academic … They’re just going to collude and keep saying … So, what was the end of the article? It said, “Oh, we must just keep on monitoring.” Well, actually monitoring isn’t going to reverse the disease.

Stu

No.

Guy

Wow.

Tim

So we’re fighting … And academics don’t understand that they sold their souls to industry. That’s what they don’t understand, and that’s why they take me … Instead of saying, “Gosh, you know, we’ve got a problem. Why don’t we listen to Dr. Noakes and see what he’s saying?”

Guy

Totally.

Stu

Yes.

Guy

And how did the academics respond to you, Tim, when you changed your whole 33 years of thinking … You know, in the space of a couple of hours had this huge epiphany. What was everyone else like within your world?

Tim

Ex-communicated. I was just ex-communicated.

Guy

Wow.

Tim

[00:11:30] Completely. You know, it happened to Yudkin in Britain when he decided sugar was dangerous and wrote that book. He lost all his funding. I lost all my funding. But my whole university turned against me. We’ve got a whole investigation going, who was driving it? It came right from the top. So how can the top guy be involved? Who’s driving him? And I mean, for example, the professors at my faculty wrote this defamatory letter to a local newspaper. So what was amazing was that the head of the faculty of medicine at my university read this defamatory letter to the local newspaper. It was frankly defamatory. It said that I was a bad scientist and I was making up stories, et cetera. I mean, it was unbelievable. And they still won’t acknowledge that it was defamatory and say, actually we did wrong, we didn’t have any science behind it.”

So that’s what happens. Don’t stand up to these three groups that we spoke about. Don’t stand up to industry, academics, and business. It doesn’t [crosstalk 00:11:57] in the long term.

Stu

How are the academics faring now? Because in light of a whole raft of new thinking, new studies, surely they’d have to be looking at this from a different perspective?

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Tim

You know, the change is coming but it’s coming from an unusual source. You see, when I lecture to the students and they’ll say, you know, my dad lost 70 kilograms and he reversed his diabetes. You can’t tell those students actually the low fat diet is what he should be eating.

Stu

No.

Tim

So it doesn’t matter. The academic can get up there and speak all they like and say the low fat diet is what reverses diabetes. But the students ask, and so the change is coming through the students because they’re seeing their parents changing.

And the same for doctors. Patients are coming back to doctors, saying, “Doctor, you know I’ve lost 50 kilograms. I followed your advice and I just got diabetic. Now I’m diabetes free, what do you say?” And the doctors usually say, “Listen, I don’t care how you did it, just keep doing it. But don’t tell me [crosstalk 00:12:58]

Stu

Exactly, brilliant.

Guy

You make a really good point Tim, ’cause we often now get people of youth that are listening to podcasts, because this will reach over 100,000 people, our podcast every month now.

Tim

Yeah.

Guy

And people in their 20s, they’re coming to me. “My parent or my uncle or” … You know, and trying to influence the generation gap with this information that’s coming out, so it’s definitely changing.

[00:13:30]

Tim

Yeah. And social media is the driver. That’s why they tried to shut me up, you see. They wanted to get me off social media. In fact, what they tried to do … The health professional counselors up here wanted to make, no doctor could give any information on Twitter or on social media. That’s what they were trying to do.

[00:14:00] So for example, if you were to say, if you were to answer a question, “Doc, should I sleep eight hours a night?” That becomes medical advice, therefore you can’t do it unless that is your patient. That’s what they’re trying to achieve. Because then they cut out the social media. Social media cannot say anything.

So if you were to answer that question, “Should I stretch before I run?” That’s medical advice. Did you examine the patient? He might have some obscure condition so that he stretched and he broke his leg. So therefore, you’re giving medical advice. You’re not in a doctor-patient relationship, you can’t give medical advice. That’s what they were trying to do.

Stu

Crikey.

Tim

And that’s what you have to guard against. Yeah.

Stu

Yeah, wow.

Guy

It’s amazing. Actually, I keep in touch with Donald, Donal O’Neill. He says to say good day by the way to you.

Tim

Thank you.

Guy

And he mentioned the Ocean View project that you’d been working on.

Tim

Correct.

Stu

Yes.

Guy

Would you mind sharing that with us please? ‘Cause I was looking at that, and again, it’s amazing.

Tim

[00:15:00] Well, one of the complaints about this diet is, it’s expensive. And it is expensive if you get the special breads made of almond flour and so on. But if you actually eat real food, they don’t have to be expensive. Our motto is that we can feed people for 30 rand a day. Sorry, that’s a couple of pounds a day, basically.

Guy

Oh wow.

Tim

Like three pounds a day.

Stu

Wow.

Tim

[00:15:30] Something like that. And we’ve shown you can do that, and what’s more, people get healthy on that. ‘Cause our poorer people just live on sugar and white bread and the cola drinks, that’s what they live on. And as soon as you give them some decent fat in the diet, the decent protein, they start to get healthier and they stop going to the doctors or requiring all this medication that doesn’t make any difference. And then all of a sudden, they’re in control. Gosh. I mean, one of them said to me the following, she said, “My whole family has diabetes. I won’t go to the doctor because he’s just going to say you’ve got diabetes, and I know what happens with diabetes, you lose your legs and you have strokes, and so on. And she said I’m petrified. She said, “But now I understand that if I cut the carbohydrates and cut the sugar I don’t have to progress my diabetes, and that’s what’s liberating for these people.

Stu

Fantastic.

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Guy

Yeah. That’s amazing. What was the study itself? Was it 40 people that you took? Forty ladies?

Tim

That’s correct. We continued to do that. It depends on how much funds we have, and currently we have about six new programs about to start. So we take about 20 to 40 people in a community and we help them and we teach them how to eat what foods to eat and how to prepare it. And then we fl them for a six-week period and then we continue to follow them as long as we possibly can. So, all dependent on the funding levels that we have.

[00:16:30] And for the first time we are going to start doing scientific research on it. We’ve shown in our measurements that the people get so much healthier, but now we are going to do it properly and do proper ethically approved studies.

Guy

Yeah.

Tim

But the uptake is amazing. The only question is just our ability to fund a number of these studies. That’s what limits us.

Guy

[00:17:00] Yeah, got it. In terms of results that, you know … You’ve been pushing this message now for like you said, six years, and no doubt you’ve heard multiple stories and people and all sorts of things over that time. And I’m just curious, outside of even the type 2 diabetes, are there any been kind of other stories that you’ve seen by people just sort of changing and adopting this nutrition?

Tim

[00:17:30] Well, yeah. The change that’s going to happen is going to happen in December this year. So, anyone who is promoting the low-fat diet has till December to carry on because then it all falls apart. And it falls apart because of a guy called Sami Inkinen, who is a Finn who is currently living in North America, and the company, Virta Health, which he started, and, which by the way, this week was voted the top startup company in Silicon Valley.

Guy

Oh wow.

Stu

Oh wow.

Tim

Top that, yeah. Which is astonishing, because it’s only been around for two years or so.

[00:18:00] Anyway, what they’ve done is, they take 400 people with type 2 diabetes and they put them on an intervention program run through their cell phones so that they are being monitored on a daily basis and they have access to experts. It costs a little bit, it costs a couple hundred dollars a month. They’ve now published their first paper, which is the 10-week effects of this and they’re showing already people are benefiting hugely and some already are coming off their medication.

[00:18:30] Sami has told me that they have the data for one year and they’re in fact heading up for two years. But the data for one year will be published later this year. And he just says, “Tim, it’s a game changer.” Because is the reversal of type 2 diabetes is not 1% or 5%, it’s a very large number. And he won’t allow me to say what that number is, but it is huge. And what’s it’s gg to show is that type 2 diabetes is a reversible condition for the majority of people.

[00:19:00] Now, my profession teaches that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease for which you need more and more injections, more insulin, et cetera, and you just get sicker and you die from losing your legs, et cetera. And what this work is showing is that, that’s completely nonsense. That’s wrong. That is industry-driven approach to the disease.

Guy

Wow.

Tim: So once that paper comes out, if you are a diabetic and you’re being treated with high carbohydrate diets and isu, that’s medical malpractice. And that is going to change everything because the industry … Diabetes is the biggest growth industry in the world.

Guy

Is that right?

Tim

[00:19:30] Because we just … Yeah, it’s massive. That’s why the price of insulin just goes higher and higher and higher every year, because it’s such a big money spender for the pharmaceutical industry. And what he’s shown is that we should be doing the opposite. We should be getting less insulin by getting people off their carbohydrates.

Guy

Cool.

Tim

So this is a really game change. I cannot tell you how relevant this is. And that’s point one.

[00:20:30] And point two, Silicon Valley has bought into the low-carbohydrate diet. The guy who is head of Apple, Tim Cook, has been seen walking around with a glucose monitor on his wrist. He wouldn’t be wearing it unless it worked! And they’re going to announce a glucose monitor, because it goes through the skin. I mean, how you measure glucose through skin, I have no idea, but that’s what they’ve done. And he lost 30 pounds weight. And they said, “How did you do it, why did you lose 30 pounds?” He said, “Because I could see what the carbohydrates were doing to my blood glucose, and I know that, that’s not good.” And so then he changed his eating plan because he would check what he ate, look at his watch, see if his glucose had either gone up or gone down. When it went up he said, “Okay, another food I shouldn’t be eating,” and that changed his eating.

Now, this is one of the most clever people in the world.

Guy

It’s amazing. They’re the kind of guys you want to put on board.

Tim

The watch will tell him that he shouldn’t be eating all those, the rice, and the potatoes, and the bananas, etc.

Stu

Unbelievable. How do we as a Joe public … And I put myself in that position as well. How do we determine the optimal diet for ourselves because I think that people will struggle to understand … Well, what does low carbohydrate high fat actually mean? How do we make it simple?

Tim

I think, firstly, you look at your family history.

Stu

Yeah.

Guy

Okay.

Tim

[00:21:30] You got a history of diabetes, be certain that you’re probably going to get diabetes yourself if you continue to eat the conventional diet, which has a high carbohydrate load. That’s the first thing.

[00:22:00] The second thing is to measure your glycated hemoglobin. That’s your HbA1c. We all know that you might have your cholesterol measured. Well, cholesterol is utterly, completely useless. It tells you absolutely nothing. All that it tells you is just a gateway to be given statin drugs to lower your cholesterol. Then, you’re put on a low fat diet, so you develop diabetes. The low fat diet … Testing for cholesterol has caused the diabetes explosion because what happens is, everyone, almost everyone has a cholesterol of above 5.01, so almost everyone is going to be put on a cholesterol lowering drug. Then, they’re going to be told to eat a low fat diet.

[00:22:30] If you’re insulin resistant, which is the key disease that we’re really talking about. If you’re insulin resistant and put on a low fat high carbohydrate diet, you will develop type two diabetes given time. 20 years or more, you will develop type two diabetes. The advice to eat a low fat diet has caused the diabetes explosion. It is causing arterial disease. It is causing heart attacks. It is not preventing them. Heart attacks and arterial disease are the effects of a high carbohydrate diet in people that are insulin resistant.

[00:23:00] You need to know how insulin resistant you are. If you’re eating a diet, which mainly will high carbohydrates a day. Most people are eating high carb diets. If you measure your glycated hemoglobin, and the value is 6.5 or higher, you already have type two diabetes, and you better be treated. If it’s above 5.5 percent, you are on the cusp. You’re not normal. You’re already at increase risk, and the key is if you continue to eat carbohydrates, you will go to 6.5. You will develop diabetes in five, ten, fifteen years time. If you’re value is 5 or below, then it means your pretty insulin sensitive, and the diet you’re eating is okay. It’s acceptable at this time.

Stu

Right.

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Tim

To me, it really depends how … If you’re going to metabolize carbohydrates, that’s fine. I was profoundly insulin resistant because I looked back at my data from when I was 28. Running marathons, 140K’s running a week, and fit and lean. Profoundly insulin resistant. My fasting insulin was times normal. We didn’t know what insulin resistance was. So here you have guy that’s got insulin resistant, profound insulin resistant, family history of diabetes, and he eats a high carbohydrate diet for 33 years. You have to develop type two diabetes. There’s no other … Now if I had known, if I had measured my HbA1c when I was 30, or I had measured my fasting insulin, I would’ve said, “Oh my gosh. You’re insulin resistant. You cannot afford to eat carbohydrates.”

Guy

Got it.

Tim

[00:24:30] The sadness was my running went downhill. It went downhill every year as I was this high carbohydrate diet. It had to happen because I was insulin resistant. If I’d eaten a high fat diet from earlier, from my 20s, I would’ve had a different life completely.

Guy

Yeah.

Stu

I have a question for you, and this goes out to a lot of our listeners and many of us who may think that, “I can eat what I want because I exercise like mad.” Is that a [crosstalk ]

Tim
You cannot outrun a bad diet. I tried it, and I’ve got great friends like Bruce Fordyce who won the Comrades Marathon nine time. He’s run over 200 marathons, and I would estimate 50 to 100 ultra marathons. No one in South Africa has run more than him, and he became obese and was insulin resistant. We put him on the high fat diet, and he lost weight.

[00:26:00] There’s another guy called Oscar Chalupsky who’s one of the greatest athletes in South Africa of all time. He’s 52, and he’s a paddle skier. Anyway, the point about him is, he was training three, four hours a day, and he became morbidly obese. Not just obese. He was running at a BMI of about 35. He was still running these races. He basically came to me and said, “You know, Tim, I’m now 50, and at this weight I can’t beat the youngsters.” We put Oscar Chalupsky on the high fat diet. He lost 25 kilos, and now he’s competitive again with these 25 year olds. He raises a thing called the Molokai Channel Challenge, which is between the two islands in Hawaii. He’s won it 12 times. He’s won it as a 20 year old, 30 year old, or 40 year old. Now he wants to win it as a 50 year old.

Guy

Wow.

Stu

Brilliant.

Tim

[crosstalk 00:26:17] in a few weeks time.

Guy

I love it.

Tim

He’s just an amazing guy.

Guy

[00:26:30] I recall because you mentioned Sami Inkinen, as well I just want to mention to listeners that we actually had him on the podcast about 18 months ago. If I recall, was he diagnosed prediabetic as well?

Tim

[00:27:00] Correct. He discovered he was insulin resistant, and eating the high carbs was making him worse. He converted to the high fat diet. Then, to prove that it worked, he and his wife road across the Pacific from San Francisco to Hawaii, and they said this is the no sugar row because they were not going to take any carbohydrates. They’ve now made a movie of them, and there’s one key moment where Sami asked Steve Finney, who was advising them. Finney has been on this thing for 40 years. He’s been on this for a long time and did the original studies of low carbohydrate diets for performance. Sami asked him on the movie, “Tell me we get to the middle of the Pacific and I need carbs, what am I going to do?” Steve, “You will not need any carbs. Just go and do it.”

Stu

Brilliant.

Guy

I want to pull out of the context as well because it was [crosstalk 00:27:30] Okay.

Tim

Sami and his wife, Meredith, were not married at the time, you see, and they had a marriage meter. It from nor to ten. Ten meant they were going to divorce. They were never going to get married. He said, “It never went above nor.” That’s because when you eat this high fat diet, you get so calm and relaxed. Nothing can worry you. High carb diet that makes you anxious and aggressive and so on. They got married, and now they’ve got two lovely children.

Guy

That’s amazing. Meredith came on. I think she was pregnant at the time, as well. I want put into context for people listening to that. It was the equivalent of doing two marathons a day, I think?

Tim

That’s correct.

Guy

2,400 odd miles or 700. Like it was huge. 45 days or 44 days.

Tim

Yeah. Correct. They actually rode for about 18 hours a day and slept for 6 hours. That’s how much they did. Meredith turned out to be the better osman as far as I know. The boat went faster when she was rowing.

Guy

Fantastic. Tim, I have a question for you. I’m going to switch stations slightly because I’ve always been curious, you’ve written a book called ‘Waterlogged’.

Tim

Yes.

Guy

Now, do you mind sharing a little bit about that book and the sort of theme behind it, please, to everyone.

Tim

[00:29:00] Sure. When I started running marathons, I ran my first marathon in 1972, it was one second in station at 30 kilometers, so you ran to 32 kilometers, they took your time just to make sure you were still in the race and didn’t cut the course. Then they would give you a drink at 32 kilometers, and then, you ran to the finish. That was a big change because before that, people ran without drinking. It appeared to me that we were under drinking, so I started a campaign in South Africa to make drinking more available.

Guy

Yeah.

Tim

[00:30:00] It was so successful that by the Comrades Marathon of 1981, there was a drinking station every mile for 56 miles, by 1981. Of course, the rest of the world reflected that as well. There were also many more drinking stations in the races. The point was, all of a sudden it went from ten years before you couldn’t get any fluids, now you had fluids every miles. During that race, a lady collapsed, and she was treated in a hospital. She was unconscious for four days. She wrote to me when she regained consciousness. She said, “Doc, what happened?” I said, “I have no idea.” I investigated it fully. It turned out her blood sodium level had dropped, so she had this condition called Hyponatremia. That was the first time it had ever been described in an athlete. I, then, investigated further, and I came to the hypothesis that it was because she drank too much. She retained the water. Which, of course, is completely contrary to what everyone said.

Guy

Yeah.

Tim

[00:30:30] They thought she was dehydrated. In fact, when she collapsed, at the medical tent, they gave her two liters of fluid. That made her sicker. Her husband said, “Gosh, I’m not leaving you under the care of these doctors. Let’s go find another group of doctors.” He took her to a hospital. On the way to the hospital, she went unconscious for the first time. Here we had this paradox. She’s meant to have collapsed because she was dehydrated, and in fact, she collapsed because she was over hydrated. We had this paradox that she’s meant to be dehydrated, but she’s actually dying because she was over hydrated.

[00:31:00] Then, we did some studies. We hospitalized a group of 8 people at the end of the Comrades Marathon, and we checked them and worked out how much fluid they had retained during the race. It came that all of them were over hydrated. We proved that in 1991. The problem was that in 1987, Gatorade, the product of the US, was bought by one of the bigger companies. They wanted to sell their product, so they had to make sure that every runner knew that if they didn’t drink during races, they’re going to drop dead. They developed this disease called dehydration.

[00:32:00] Dehydration is not a disease. It is a physiological state in which you’ve lost a little bit of body water. By 1996, they had been so influential in industry that they got 7 of the world’s experts to say that unless you drink as much as tolerable during exercise, you risk your life. That became the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. The fact that the ACSM was controlled by Gatorade and now Coca-Cola as well, no one actually picked that problem up. [crosstalk 00:31:55] The fact that the 7 people who had written the guideline were all controlled by industry also didn’t no one caught that message.

[00:32:30] I predicted in 1993 that the first people that would die would be women runners in the United States, and that’s exactly what happened. The first death from this condition occurred in 1993 in a marathon in California. It was a typical woman running five hours or so, been told to drink at this huge amounts, and she developed a condition. Being about 14 or 15 days in Runners Now Global they had been reporting it in the literature. There had been more than 3,000 hospitalizations with this condition. Mostly in the US military, but it’s a completely preventable condition. We know what causes it. We know how to prevent it.

Guy

Wow.

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Tim

[00:33:00] It continues, unfortunately. You see the guidelines, the drinking guidelines, they’ll still say drink ahead of thirst, and that’s not right. You must just drink to thirst, and you’ll be fine. What that book taught me, and it took me 30 years to write, 30 years of research to write, was that industry doesn’t care a damn about you. They’re going to sell a product, and if that means some people are going to get ill, that’s too bad. They’re still promoting it. They know they’re wrong, but they don’t care.

Guy

Go on, Stu.

Stu

[00:33:30] I guess you’re not an advocate, then, for the myriad of isotonic sports drinks that are there on the market today. What would you recommend, if I may … I’m into my endurance exercise. I like to hit the streets running. What should I drink?

Tim

[00:34:30] The most important advice for 99% of athletes is eat a high fat diet and drink water. That’s it because that will prevent most of these people harming their health by eating lots of carbohydrates. The majority will be insulin resistant. I believe that 60 to 70% of most populations are insulin resistant. Feeding them a high carbohydrate diet and telling them to drink this glucose all the time is a problem. For 99% of the population, eating a high fat diet and drinking water is all you need for your exercise. I agree, there are some people who are very carbohydrate tolerant, and I suspect they have an advantage. They may well perform better, and actually, taking carbohydrates may make them perform even better because carbohydrate is a drug. It acts right here in the brain. People don’t understand that.

[00:35:00] If you take your sugar in the marathon and you’re feeling low, it may very well give you a brain effect. It can’t affect your muscles because you’ve got enough energy there. I don’t think it’s a metabolic effect. I think it’s acting in the brain. If you’re highly carbohydrate tolerate, yes, take some carbohydrate. Use it as a drug, and you will run faster. Understand, it’s acting as a drug. If you become insulin resistant, you’re gonna go down the path.

You know, athletes have the worst teeth. Why is that? It’s because of all the sugary stuff they put in their mouths. At the last Olympic games they showed that the Olympic athletes had the worse than the average British citizen. It’s because you’re exposing your mouth to all the sugar all the time.

Guy

[00:35:30] I only walked into a push bike shop last week, and they had all these beautiful race bikes. It was kind of a big shop, and there was a whole wall of gels to take when they ride. I thought, “Wow. It’s not like” … We must be in our little podcast bubble because we talk about this stuff every week, but it doesn’t quite seem to be getting out there yet. What about exercise in terms of longevity as well? There have been talks about endurance, sort of, speeding up the age cycle of a person and things like that. Does that come back to then the nutrition that they’ve been doing as well over that time?

Tim

I think so, and I think that if you are carbohydrate intolerant eating a high carbohydrate diet, your body is inflamed all the time, and you make it worse. However, all the studies does increase your life expectancy, and I think that’s universal. The people that exercise are different anyways. They’re doing everything else right, and rather it’s actually the exercise or these other things. I don’t think that’s the point. The point is that people who are exercising are generally a lot healthier, but in my case, I wasn’t healthier. There’s famous example of Steve Redgrove in the United Kingdom. The greatest Olympic athlete of all time. Five Olympic gold medals. He’s severally diabetic. He looks like he’s not well. Because he was insulin resistant eating lots of carbohydrates, eventually he had to be put on insulin to allow him to continue to compete. That insulin has effected him and made him sick. It wasn’t the exercise. It was the carbohydrates in association of this very endurance training that he was doing.

Guy

Has he reversed his diet, or is he still …

Tim

No, he’s still promoting a high carbohydrate diet, and that’s crazy because his wife’s a doctor. If only he could see it because he could impact a lot of people.

Stu

Yeah.

Guy

[00:37:30] Totally. Question I want to ask you earlier, Tim, but we went on a lot of tangents. While we’re back on insulins, if there’s somebody with type two diabetes listening to this that’s eating a high carbohydrate diet, should they go cold turkey if they’re on meds? Is there a transition period? What would your advice be?

Tim

[00:38:00] That’s a great question. If you’re on insulin, you’ve got to be careful because if you go cold turkey and you continue to inject so much insulin, you will become hypoglycemic. Your glucose will fall, and that can become dangerous. If you’re on insulin, you’ve got to be a little more cautious. If you’re on metformin or the other drugs, they’re not as effective, and you can go cold turkey. You must go cold turkey, and you must get the carbohydrate intake to less than 25 grams a day. That’s the key value. If you can get to below 25, you may well reverse … You don’t reverse the disease. You still have the disease, but you don’t have any of the symptoms if you get your carbohydrate intake down. If you increase your carbohydrates, your diabetes will come back again.

[00:38:30] I should make a point that the Virta Health study, they’re not reversing diabetes. They’re putting it into remission. It’s in remission as long as you don’t take carbs, but as soon as you take carbs, you’re in trouble. My advice for people who are taking insulin is that they should check their glucose after a meal, and if it’s elevated, then, only then, should they inject extra insulin. Normally, a person with diabetes will inject insulin in the morning, a long acting dose, which lasts the whole day. They should continue using that dose. It’s absolutely critical. They should stop taking insulin immediately after a meal because now they’ve taken the carbs out, they probably don’t need the insulin. Only if they only have a small rise in glucose might they inject insulin, but they must measure the glucose after the meal.

[00:39:00] What they’re told to do is to look at the diet. It’s got so much carbs. Then, you inject insulin with the meal. That’s dangerous if you suddenly change to a low carbohydrate diet.

Guy

Their lifetime prescription is real food, essentially, and sticking to it.

Tim

Exactly. You’re not going to get the disease if you stick to that.

Guy

Fantastic. Did you ever … Go, Stu.

Stu

Well, just thinking in terms of low carbohydrate high fat, to what extent do you take that way of thinking? Do you just become more fat adapted over time? Is the sweet spot actually to end up in nutritional ketosis?

Tim

[00:40:30] That’s a great question. We all base what we do on ourselves, and I find it difficult to get into serious ketosis. I really have to run a lot, and I have to eat a very, very high fat diet with almost no protein. For me, that’s the only way I can get into significant ketosis with ketones of 2 to 3 or 4. Otherwise, on a daily basis, I just can’t get there. I sit at .6 to 1, which is not serious ketosis. I tend to think that to get into ketosis, actually, takes a lot of hard work. I say cut your carbs to 50, 25 grams a day. What happens to ketones is maybe less important. I, maybe, be completely wrong. I do think ketones have a special rile in on metabolism, particularly for the brain function. If I want to be very clear in my thinking, I don’t eat because I know that my ketones are going to go up. I can definitely feel that my thinking are more clearer. I do feel better with high ketones.

Guy

Are you still running marathons, Tim?

Tim

I run half marathons now. I take too long to run. I get too sore. I know to rest, I could train more, and perhaps, consider it. I run so slowly now. That’s the problem. It just takes so long. It’s no longer enjoyable. I like a half marathon because I can still speed up a bit at the end, and that’s what I enjoy doing.

Guy

Fair enough. With everything you just said as well, I do have resources that people can go to if they want to learn more if somebody is listening to this. It can be overwhelming for the first time, you know?

Tim

Yeah. I’ve done a lot of YouTube videos on lectures, and there’s some really good ones. There was one I gave in Reykjavik in Iceland last year, and that’s on the web. There are a couple of others. I did a really good one in Melbourne as well. There are a lot of YouTube videos also on our website, the Noakes Foundation. There’s quite a lot of material, so that is the two areas. If people are really interested in the trial, we’ve got 80 videos of information we provided during the trial. The trial was filmed, and I gave my group, myself and our excode witnesses, gave 12 days of testimony. We’ve got almost all of that on video clips. 80 video clips.

Guy

Fantastic.

Tim

So, go to the Noakes Foundation. Anyone that is really interested in this nutrition, modern nutrition, that’s a real course. It’s course on the low carb diet, the science of it. There’s plenty of stuff. I think that a lot of people write to me and say that they just followed my YouTube videos, and they’ve convinced them.

[00:42:30]

Guy

Perfect. Go on, Stu.

Stu

You’ve clearly dialed into the right way to eat and to nourish our bodies for longevity. What are your thoughts on exercise in terms of the specific type of exercise if we wanted to further our gains where longevity is concerned?

Tim

[00:43:00] You know, I’m really interested because Danielle Wilson argues that you just need to do a little bit of high intensity exercise. I’m reading this paper recently that one minute, high intensity exercise is equivalent to 45 minutes endurance running. My point was, when it takes me 44 minutes to warm up, so I can do my 44 minutes plus my running minutes. Now I’ve got 45 minutes. I’ve got a double dose.

[00:43:30] It’s really interesting. I do think there’s something about high intensity exercise. I can do it for a short time, but I just love running. I couldn’t do one minute. That wouldn’t be what I like doing.

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Guy

Yeah.

Stu

Gotcha.

Tim

But, I do think, as you get older, you need to do more weight, Stu. You need to do weight training. You need to try to keep your muscle mass going. I can understand high intensity exercising helpful. I still love the endurance. The slow, long distance running.

Guy

Yeah, and I’m sure the payoff from loving it is huge.

[00:44:00]
Tim

Exactly, and for my diabetes, I have to get the glucose out of my muscles because that’s my real problem. I can’t store glucose anymore. That’s one of the key problems in insulin. You don’t store the carbohydrate. You store the fat in the liver particularly. One of the ways for controlling your diabetes is to get out and run and lower your glucose in your muscles. It’s the only way you can get rid of the glucose. You’ve got a liver that’s over producing glucose all the time, and you can’t cut it down in one stop. Then, the glucose fills up your muscles very quickly within 16 hours, 24 hours. Your muscles are as full as they can. Then, your glucose control gets worse. You have to run once at least every 48 hours a longer run to get through the glycogen in your muscles and in your liver. Then, you’ve got the storage, and your glucose control is better.

Guy

[00:45:00] Yeah, right, so even putting on muscle mass isn’t going to solve that problem for them because they just fill up … Yeah, wow. Never thought of that. Tim, what is your nutrition diet look like on a daily basis?

Tim

[00:45:30] It’s really different than it was. Mine used to be completely carbohydrate driven, and I used to gorge and binge on carbohydrates. I used to drink sugar and eat it. Lots of it. When I went on this diet, I completely lost my hunger, and my calorie intake dropped at least 40%. I lost 20 kilograms. Yeah. It was massive. It was a massive change. Got rid of this desire to eat because you’re always hungry.

[00:46:30] Now what I do, I try to eat one meal a day. That’s it. I might snack on a half meal at the end of the day. It might be breakfast. It might be lunch. I just eat high fat diets, and actually, very little vegetables because I’m not convinced that we need all that amount of vegetables. I know that conflicts with most of advice we give people. Still, say need lots of vegetables, which is fine, but I personally don’t eat a large number of vegetables. I don’t eat any fruit. I stick to very simple foods. It’s meat, and meat is not the center of it all. Meat, fish … Fish, I think is very important. Chicken, pork, mutton … Mutton is actually the healthiest food. Lamb is the healthiest food. I will tend to focus on lamb and fish. Then, it’s dairy. I eat a lot of cheese and a lot of dairy because that’s where I get most of my fat from. Then, nuts, macadamia nuts, and eggs. That’s kind of it. It’s very, very simple. It’s simple meals.

[00:47:00] When I eat, I eat to hunger. I try to eat a lot of food. In fact, I’m eating less now. A meal for me, would not satisfy me in the past, now will satisfy me completely for 12 hours or more. I tend to try to fast 12 to 16 hours a day. I eat for 8 hours, and fast for the rest of the day.

Guy

I do find that there’s a lot of benefits to fasting. We covered that on the show a few weeks ago. It’s a really interesting topic.

Tim

I think that it’s much easier to control your weight and your glucose control. My glucose control is better eating that way. I just feel, generally, better.

Guy

Tim, we’re coming to the end of the show, and we actually ask a couple of questions again. We ask every week.

Tim

Good.

Guy

The first one is, what is your non negotiables to be the best version of yourself each day?

Tim

[00:48:00] Okay. The non negotiables. Okay. Well one is really, no sugar, carbohydrates less than 25 grams a day. I face diabetes and all its complications. I saw my father die from this disease, and he was wrongly treated, of course, because we didn’t know. The non negotiable is that I just don’t eat carbohydrates, and I keep it below 25 grams a day. That’s the first thing.

[00:48:30] The second thing is honesty. People ask why when I talk to the media I just tell it like it is. They say, “But you never check up.” I say, “Why would I want to check up?” A guy’s written a book about me, recently, for example. He seems amazing because you never ask to see it. I say, “Why would I ask to see it?” I know that what I do is true. I’m not covering up anything. If you get it wrong, that’s fine, but I know that I’m honest. What I say is true. I don’t need to see what you’ve written. I’m not scared, and you can’t say that because if you go down that bridge you’re going to expose something. There’s none of that, so honesty is incredibly important.

[00:49:00] I like to help people. I definitely try to get this message out. My father died from this disease. I’ve seen what devastation it does to countries. We know what the cause is, and we’ve got to change. We’ve got all the information. That’s another non negotiable. That we must try to help people, and give them the information, and educate people to make the right choices.

Guy

Yeah. Fully, I hear you, Tim.

Tim

[00:49:30] The other non negotiable is got to keep running. Try to keep my half marathon time half reasonable, and look after my family is very important as well. Those are some non negotiables.

Guy

Fantastic, mate. Last question, Tim. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Tim

[00:50:00] I think the one is to surround yourself with experts. That was everything I’ve ever done in my life is because I’ve had these unbelievable people around me to help me. I’ve always looked to who is the best in the field, and then, just learn from him. For example, Sami Inkenin and [inaudible 00:50:03] and other people, Ralph Paffenbarger. I’m just mentioning some names. George Brooks. These are people who influence my career because I thought they were the best in the world. I wanted to try and be up there with them, so that was very important.
[00:50:30] Don’t ever try to take the credit yourself. Spread it out because … Now you’ve got a drive. My father said to me once, “Learn how to delegate information, delegate responsibility.” He said, “Because there’s a 50% chance the guy is going to do it better than you.”

Guy

Yeah.

Tim

[00:51:00] Pretty brilliant. Most people says I’ve been a brilliant delegator. You get people to a really good … You delegate to them, and you all look fantastic as a result. [crosstalk 00:50:52] I try to go to war through it because it’s a giant grouping. I think, that’s another non negotiable. Work as a team. I can’t stand working in parameatal structures, hierarchical structures. Let it go. Help other people become good and famous if you possibly can.

Guy

[00:51:30] I love it. Well, you’re creating a tsunami, Tim. That’s for sure, and it’s definitely got a lot of momentum. It’s quite incredible, mate. For anyone listening to this, where can we send them to … What would be the best website? You can type in your name. There’s YouTube. Do you have a website that hubs it all, as well? Twitter?

Tim

Yes. We’ve got the Noakes Foundation website. That would be one. Otherwise, it’s just Tim Noakes YouTube, and you’ll see there’s a huge collection of lectures and things that I’ve given.

Guy

Brilliant. You’re new book. When’s that due out?

Tim

[00:52:00] It’s out in December, and it’s called ‘Nutrition on Trial: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs’. We just changed the title of it.

Guy

Yeah, beliefs is the key word.

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Tim

It’s a really exciting book, and then the guy who’s written a book about me is called ‘Tim Noakes: the Quiet Maverick’. That’s coming out in about a weeks time.

Guy

Oh, fantastic.

Tim

[00:52:30] Daryl Ilbury. It gives a real good background to me and also to the trial and how he interprets the trial and the fact that everyone ganged up against me and the fact that there’s not enough investigative journalism. Journalism has died. It’s all headline making stuff. They take a person like myself, and they make the worst possible headline. Instead of trying to look at the real facts. It’s becomes far too immotive and all that.

Guy

That book will be out by the time this goes live, so we’ll be sure to link it in the show notes as well.

Tim

Thank you very much.

Guy

Tim, that was awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I just want to acknowledge everything you do. It’s a true privilege to have you on the show, mate. I know you’ve certainly influenced my life personally over the years and the way I’ve looked at nutrition. For me and Stu, a lot of this podcast ha come about from the work you’ve been doing in the early days. I wanted us to get this message out as well. I really appreciate it.

Tim

[00:53:30] Fantastic. Thanks very much, guys. Thanks, Stu. Lovely to chat to you. This hour just disappeared. It’s been an amazing hour. Thank you

Stu

Thanks to you, Tim. We’ll speak to you soon, hopefully.

Guy:

Cheers, Tim.

Tim

Bye.

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