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Should Everyone Be Low Carb? End the Confusion Now with Dr Peter Brukner

The above video is 3 minutes long.

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

peter bruknerOur awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner who is currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.

His impressive resume includes being team doctor to four Australian national teams – swimming, hockey, athletics and soccer. He has also worked with professional AFL and English Premier League teams such as Liverpool FC, experienced US college sport at Stanford and been part of Olympic, Commonwealth and World Uni Games as well as numerous World Championships.

The Full Interview with Dr Peter Brukner of the Australian Cricket Team


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In this episode we talk about:

  • Peter’s journey from a low-fat to a high-fat diet
  • Why many of the Australian cricketers have adopted this style of eating
  • How it’s reduced injury risk and improved recovery
  • Why starving yourself to drop weight is not the way forward
  • When we should be applying a low carb’ strategy to improve health
  • Peter’s appearance in the documentary Cereal Killers 2 Movie: Run On Fat
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Dr Peter Brukner Here:

Dr Peter Brukner Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey. This is Guy Lawrence at 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Now, he’s recently been the head of sports medicine with the Liverpool Football Club, which is pretty awesome, and he’s currently the team doctor for the Australian cricket team.

Now, I first met Peter at the Low Carb Down Under event a few months ago, where I got to share the stage with him, and it was; he’s just a top guy and we’ve been very keen to get him on the podcast since we met and fortunately we were lucky enough to have him on the show today.

So, we cover all sorts of topics from obviously eating low carb and high fat, but how that’s influenced his life. He talks about the Australian cricket team and also the movies coming up. The documentaries of Cereal Killers and Cereal Killers 2, Run On Fat. So, we dig deep into those.

Now, I will say the Skype audio does drop in and out slightly, but sometimes there’s not much we can do about technology. But ultimately the information’s there and you will certainly still get a lot out of it, so, just to give you a heads up on that.

And of course, if you are listening to this through iTunes, a simple just subscribing to our podcast and a little review, leaving a review, does wonders for us because it helps us get the word out there. We really appreciate it and we’re getting a lot of people listening to our podcasts now, so that will just continue to help spread the words. It’s always appreciated.

And of course, you can come over to 180nutrition.com.au and yeah, hang out there as we’ve got a wealth of information, including a great free book. It took me quite a while to write actually and that’s a great place to start if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all this information.

But, yeah, of course, go through the other podcasts. We’ve got much more awesome guests and we some very exciting guests lined up for the future. But for now enjoy the podcast with Peter and we’ll see you soon. Cheers!

Guy Lawrence: So, hi. This is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi, Stewie; as always.

Stuart Cooke: Hello.

Guy Lawrence: And our awesome guest today is Dr. Peter Brukner. Peter welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.

Peter Brukner: XXunintelligibleXX [:02:11.6] My pleasure guys.

Guy Lawrence: Ah, there it goes. Frozen. Great start to this show. There we go. He’s back. Excellent.

So, just to get the ball rolling, Peter, would you mind just sharing to our listeners and ourselves a little bit about yourself and why we’re super happy to have you on the show today. I’m very much looking forward to this.

Peter Brukner: Well, I don’t know why you’re super happy, but I’m a … ;)

My name is Peter Brukner. I’m a sports and exercise physician. So, I’m a medical doctor who is specialized in sports medicine and I’ve been practicing sports medicine for 30-odd years, and obviously I started when I was a baby, and I’ve been working, both in a medical practice in Melbourne; I’m born and bred in Melbourne; a medical practice in Melbourne at Olympic Park. I set up a sports medical there about 30 years ago and that’s still going strong. And over that period of time I’ve worked with a number of sporting teams; AFL teams, various Olympic sports.

I’ve done, I think, five national teams now. I’ve done swimming, hockey, athletic soccer and cricket. The last few years I did the Socceroos, the Australian soccer team, for the South African World Cup and the three years leading up into that.

From there I went to Liverpool in England to be the head of sports med XX technical glitch[:03:36.3 to :03:40.1] and after a couple of years there I went to the Australian cricket team and I’ve been the Australian cricket team doctor for last two years.

Yeah, obviously we’re in the middle of a busy summer of cricket, which has been pretty emotional and stressful, I have to say, but, anyway, we’re getting there and the guys have been terrific and we’ve had a pretty successful summer so far.

Guy Lawrence: Excellent and the World Cup’s just around the corner.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah, we’re gearing up for that now. The test series is finished and we’ve done colour for the players, on the colour clothing now, and we’ve got Tri-Series against India and England as a sort of warm-up games really and then the real business is the World Cup in February and March. Gives us a few weeks off after that and then we go off to the West Indies and then to England for another extra series. So, it’s a big few months ahead for the Australian cricket team and for their doctor, I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Wow! That is a busy season.

You’ll have to forgive Stu a little bit when it comes to cricket, because I think he gets confused between cricket and baseball. That’s how much he knows.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for that, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: That’s all right.

Stuart Cooke: Always good. Always good. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in Wales or unlucky enough to be born in Wales; one of the two.

I was interested, Peter, in the questioning of diet, as well and how does that come into sports medicine? I always thought nutrition was almost a kind of, another route completely.

Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, we like to sort of adopt a holistic approach really. I mean, I think as sport medicine physicians we’re responsible for the complete health of the athletes and so obviously nutrition is an important factor in that. I mean, I wouldn’t say, you know, all of my colleagues are interested in nutrition, but certainly some of us are and I’ve always had an interest in nutrition.

In fact, I wrote a book, I co-authored a book with Karen Inge, a well-known Melbourne dietitian, about well, the late ’80s, I think, called Food for Sport, it was only the first of a specialist sports nutrition book in Australia.

So, but in a way I sort of; for a long time I sort of lost a bit of interest in sports nutrition really. Because it became a bit; well, I won’t say “dull” but I mean, basically it was just: Eat lots of carbs and drink lots of sugar-based fluids and that was it. And for 30 years that’s basically what we’ve been doing until more recently. We’ve been challenging that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. What made you first question it, Peter? Because when we met at the low carb talk and spoke, you certainly had a change of thinking around that over time.

Peter Brukner: Yep. Yes. Yeah. Well, I think sometimes you’ve got to re-examine your ideas. Someone once said that 50 percent of everything you get taught in your medical course later turns out to be wrong. You’ve just got to work out which 50 percent that is.

Stuart Cooke: Oh boy.

Peter Brukner: But, no, I guess I first started to question the whole nutrition thing when Tim Noakes came out, sort to speak; no he didn’t come out in the normal way, came out that he switched from being a carb-dominant advocate to being a XXtechnical glitchXX [:06:56.4] … and adopting a low-fat, high-carb, I meant, sorry, a low-carb, high-fat philosophy. And Tim Noakes, as you obviously know, is a very world-renowned sports scientist, sports clinician from Cape Town and I’ve known Tim for 20 odd years and we’ve spoken at numerous conferences together and so on; and Tim was someone I always admired as having a great mind. And he always challenging, you know, a lot of traditional beliefs and in most cases he’s been proven right.

So, when he sat us down to talk about this, both from his own experiences and from those of his patients, I sort of “Oh, gee, you know, that’s interesting.” I… normally I would totally ignore… I mean, like many people I hated the idea of fad diets and celebrity diets and you know, this actress or singer or sportsman is on a particular diet now and I just XXtechnical glitchXX [:07:51.7 to :08:03.8] … to make me think, “whoa, I need to XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:05.2 to :08:08.1] …

I bought Taubes book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and read the book and it was the most interesting book, I think, I ever read. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading and it just blew me away and I was sort of XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:21.8 to :08:29.1] …

… interesting thing about that book and talk XXtechnical glitchXX [:08:31.1 to :08:32.8] …

… Taubes book and so on, is that they, the low-fat, high-carb arguments, but they also explain the politics of how the low-fat argument basically won out 30 years ago for reasons that were not particularly based on science, but more on politics and economics and so on and so on. And you start to understand, you know, maybe that’s not right and I finished reading that book and I just sort of couldn’t believe it. I thought, “We couldn’t possibly had this wrong all this time, surely? All these great minds and so on couldn’t have gotten this so wrong.” And I certainly XXtechnical glitchXX [:09:10.8 to :09:15.4] …

So I just decided to try it out myself. So, I decided to go a low-carb diet. So, at that stage I’d just turned 60, which was the age that my father had developed type 2 diabetes, so it was in the back of my mind that I didn’t particularly want to go down that track because he just died earlier this year and I’d seen all the problems that he’d had over 20, 25 years or so. And I was, you know, I was supposedly healthy, I had eaten what I was supposed to eat. I would do low-fat this and low-fat that and didn’t have too much in the way of fatty foods and yet probably over a period of 20 years I’ve put on 10 kilograms, 12 kilograms, about half a kilogram a year just steadily and the kids started to, you know, poke me in the guts and say, “Dad, how about it?”

So, I was a bit overweight, probably not morbidly obese, but I was certainly overweight and XXunintelligibleXX [:10:16.5] and I was about sort of borderline overweight/obese. So, I thought, “Well, what the heck, let’s see, let’s see how it goes.”

So, I started. I did a whole lot of blood tests the day I started just so I could follow my progress and I’m went pretty cold turkey low carb for 12 weeks and XXtechnical glitchXX [:10:36.7 to :10:38.5] …

So, I was basically losing pretty much a kilogram a week, which was very rewarding. I mean, you know, you eat this way and you sort of have your doubts and your concerns and so on and then you look at the scales every week and you lose another kilogram. You think, “Wow!” That’s pretty reinforcing and pretty good. So, that made it it quite easy to do in a way.

And then after 12 weeks everyone started to say, “You’re looking a bit thin in the face and you know, maybe you’ve gone too far.” So, I sort of just backed off a little bit and wasn’t quite as strict with my carbs, and so, now I’ve basically maintained that over the last couple of years. Pretty much, you know, not really having many carbs at all and not totally obsessing about it, but basically not eating …

Guy Lawrence: Keeping away carbs. Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … carbs …

Guy Lawrence: And Peter, how do you feel since like …

Peter Brukner: I feel great. Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: You know, I feel really good XXunintelligibleXX [:11:31.7 to :11:34.4] …

… and I’m certainly keeping the weight off. I’ve put on maybe a kilogram or two since then. I kept the same weight and I’ve been feeling really good. I’ve found it enjoyable eating. You know, it’s a sustainable diet. So, I’ve managed to keep eating XXunintelligibleXX [:11:50.8] …

And the other thing that you really notice, is that you’re not nearly as hungry.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I mean, in the old days I had my cereal for breakfast, you know, like everyone else, I’d get to about 11 o’clock in the morning, you know, and start feeling, “Oh, is it lunchtime yet?” I was starved. But now I don’t even have lunch, you know. Most of the time I just grab a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese or something during the afternoon. But, basically I don’t feel hungry until dinnertime.

So, that’s made a huge difference to my energy levels. I’m much more level during the day. I don’t have the ups and downs that I would have had in the past. So, yeah, I feel very good about it. My bloods have all improved and my triglycerides, which were quite high, have come down enormously. My insulin’s come down. My HDL cholesterol is going up.

So, you know, all the things that I think are important, particularly triglycerides and HDL, have improved significantly. I had a mild case of fatty liver that had been picked up in a blood test some years previously that I hadn’t worried too much about, that all of a sudden that’s disappeared too. They’ve gone back to normal, my liver test as well. So, all aside, I’m pretty positive about it.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Would you say, are you fat-adapted while still eating smaller amounts of carbohydrates, so would you say that you’re operating in ketosis?

Peter Brukner: No, I’m probably not in; I’m probably occasionally ketosis. But, I think I’m one of these people who struggle to get into ketosis, because even when I’ve been pretty strict, my ketones have not, when I’ve measured my ketones, they haven’t been that high. So, I think I’m just fat-adapted; I’m running mainly on fat …

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Peter Brukner: …probably have a little bit of carbohydrates in vegetables and nuts and some dairy. But I don’t get obsessive when I measure the amount of grams of carbohydrates, but I guess I’m somewhere around 50 grams a day of carbohydrate. But everyone has their own sort of ideal level of carbohydrates. I think most young people can probably tolerate significantly larger amounts of that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I think a lot of us in mid-life should become insulin resistant to a certain degree. We’re the ones who really benefit from reducing the carbs significantly.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s fascinating.

Guy Lawrence: And thanks to people like yourself and Professor Tim Noakes, as well, you’re starting to see this being questioned in the sporting fields.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well see, carbs have been dominant in sport and all athletes have been obsessed with carbs now for a long time and I think that’s being challenged. I mean, I think; firstly let’s look at an endurance athletes and even ultra endurance athletes, I mean, fat is a very good fuel and the problem is that it burns slowly, if you like, XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:51.3 to :14:52.2] …

Stuart Cooke: Yep.

Peter Brukner: … so, it’s almost unlimited resources and the problem with carbs, obviously, is you’re going to XXtechnical glitchXX [:14:57.5 to :15:00.9] …

… I think for endurance athletes who are not; needing to work at a very high intensity, a high fat diet is very, very good, and I think a lot of ultra endurance athletes now have switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet and gained a lot of benefits from it. Especially the sort of ultra marathons; you know all the guys doing these crazy hundred XXtechnical glitchXX [:15:23.5 to :15:25.6] …

… steaks and things like that. But I think; I’m pretty sure that for an ultra endurance and endurance athletes, you know, Ironman, triathlon types, marathoners, that a low-carb, high-fat diet is quite appropriate.

Probably… The feelings is it’s very individual. I mean, there are some people who are absolutely fine on low-carb and high-fat and others who just need to supplement a little bit with carbs.

Stuart Cooke: Yep.

Peter Brukner: But I think by and large; I think most people will, well, not most people, but a lot of people now agree that for endurance, ultra endurance athletes, that it’s XXtechnical glitchXX [:16:04.0 to :15:07.4] …

There’s no doubt about that in my mind. The interesting one is the sort of ultra-intense exercise. Particularly the sort of high-intensity intermittent activities, like in football, basketball, and so on. And that’s very interesting because there are certainly some anecdotal studies and reports that a number of these type of athletes, particularly in basketball in the States and the AFL in Australia, are starting to use the low-carb, high-fat diet, some of them are supplementing. So what a number of teams are doing, individuals are doing, basically going low carb during the week and then come game day they may supplement with some carbs. So, it’s the XXunintelligibleXX [:16:55.5] high philosophy.

But again, that’s very individual. There are other people who don’t seem to need carbs who can still do this high-intensity intermittent activity at full bore, without any carbs at all. So, it’s a little matter of experimenting a bit.

But there’s something happening, especially in the AFL, which I’m quite familiar with, and I know a couple of clubs that are playing around with this. Melbourne is being quite open about the fact that their players have all gone low-carb in the pre-season and seem to be doing well. So, it will be interesting to see they go. They’re a pretty terrible team, so they can only improve. So, whether they XXtechnical glitchXX [:17:31.6 to :17:33.4] or not, I don’t know.

So, I think the jury is still out and as I said, I suspect it’s an individual thing. But I think there are benefits to be gained from training on a low-carb, but I think you need some carbs for the high-intensity actual sporting activities.

Stuart Cooke: What are your thoughts on, the performance aside, the recovery aspect of adopting high fat over high carb?

Peter Brukner: Well, I mean, you know we’ve always had this philosophy that you’ve got to replenish your carbohydrates reserves after exercise, but it’s relevant if you deplete them or if you’re using mainly carbs as your fuel, if you’re using mainly fats that’s obviously not as important,

I still think the protein aspect is the key to recovery. You know you obviously have a lot of muscle XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:20.5 to :18:21.7] …

… for your exercise XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:21.1 to :18:24.2] …

…muscle and I think adequate protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:25.8 to :18:27.2] …

… you know, certainly there’s plenty of protein XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:29.2 to :18:30.1] …

… and high fats and a bit of high quality fats and XXtechnical glitchXX [:18:33.0 to :18:35.1] …

… thinking in recovery.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right, because I know we; you know you mentioned a couple of times, it’s been helping a few of the Aussie cricketers as well, hasn’t it?

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Well, essentially, I haven’t sort of pushed it at all, but I guess my first two tours with the cricket team coincided; it was in the middle, between those two tours, when I lost all the weight. So, I turned up in India a couple of years ago and I had one say, “Oh, doc. What’s happened to you? You’re half the man you used to be.” So, they took an interest in that. A number of them sort of just took me aside and said, “Look, tell me about it and I’d like to try it please.”

The interesting thing is despite these guys being full-time athletes and high levels of exercise, a number of them used to struggle with their weight; which was really against this whole theme of calories in/calories out. I mean, they’re working, training every day, playing five-day test?[:19:28.1] matches, etc. and still having problems with their weight.

So, a number of them were keen to try and lose some weight, so they decided to adopt the diet and then people like Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson and Steve Smith and Dave Warner and a couple of the others have all taken on board the diet and all had immediate, sort of good responses to it. They lost some weight; obviously they didn’t have huge amounts of weight to lose, but they all lost between 3 and 5 kilograms fairly quickly and felt very good about it and again, they all vary in the amounts of carbs, from very little to small amount of carbs, particularly on XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:12.0 to :20:16.1] …

… low carb, high fat and they all seem to be XXtechnical glitchXX [:20:21.8 to :20:23.7] …

Shane Watson is a classic example. He’s always had trouble with his weight and I can say it’s the best thing that’s happened to him and the only way he used to be able to drop weight was to starve himself and he could only do it in the off season, because when you’re playing you can’t do that. So, he would sort of be miserable when he was not playing, because he just wouldn’t allow himself to eat and Shane loves his food. So, this has enabled him to still eat and enjoy his food and drop his weight and certainly, you know, at the moment he’s doing pretty well. So, it’s encouraging.

Davey Warner’s the same. He arrived and met with me a couple of years ago, quite overweight. He’d been injured and hadn’t been doing as much as usual and had put on quite a bit of weight and he managed to trim down a number of kilograms. We measure their skin folds regularly with the cricketers and his skin folds have dropped about 30 points in that time, which is a remarkable achievement.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: And now you see with all those guys having very successful a couple of years now, I’m not sort of saying that’s the only reason, there’s a lot of factors, but I think it has helped them.

Guy Lawrence: With the way you’ve witnessed as well, like a question that just popped in there in terms of inflammation and injury, have you noticed anything, any relationship between increasing the fat and reduction of inflammation?

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look. I think there’s a fair amount of that evidence now that there are pro inflammatory agents in your carbs and in particular sugars are one of those agents. We certainly had one player who had a very dramatic response to change. He was on quite a high level of medication for an inflammatory-based joint problem and he was on medication that was costing him about $15,000 a year and just controlling his symptoms and he switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet, a pretty strict diet, and within a week he was able to get off all his medication that he’d been on for some time and he’s not had a problem since and he’s been able to double the amount of training he’s done and I saw him the other day and he’s not XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:34.1 to :22:36.2] …

… I saw him the other day and he said, “Yeah doctor, I’m still on the diet. It’s fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow!

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:42.5 to :22:45.9] …

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome.

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:22:46.4 to :22:48.5] …

… inflammatory arthritis can be cured by that, but I think you know there are certainly some areas around that it reduces people that have excessive inflammation in some sort of form. So, you know, he’s a big guy, we could have obviously have done the whole diet thing.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s fantastic and I guess it certainly doesn’t hurt to try this either, does it? Just to see how you how you get on for a couple of weeks.

Peter Brukner: Well, that’s what I suggest to people who come and say, “I’ve got terrible arthritis or some sort of inflammatory disease.” That you give it a go and it’s not going to help everyone, but if you can get off some of the drugs that you require and you get symptom relief with a simple change of diet, then that’s a fantastic result.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Excellent. So, from a medical perspective now, your thoughts on sport drinks, given what you know about carbs and everything we’ve spoken about this morning.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, I think sports drinks have been incredibly well-marketed over the years and they’re basically just sugar and water, and with a few electrolytes put in. I think; I don’t think that sugar’s a good thing and I think we’ve got now a whole generation of kids who think that sport drinks are healthy and all they’re doing is putting sugar in. You know, I think that this generation is eating and drinking far too much sugar and I think really the best sports drink is water and that’s maybe with some electrolytes if you need them. But by and large, 95 percent of the time water is what you require to rehydrate you and you don’t need any extra sugars.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t sell too well though, does it?

Peter Brukner: No, it doesn’t.

Stuart Cooke: It actually does Guy, if you look at the price of bottle water …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. So true.

Peter Brukner: That’s another of my pet annoyances. What’s wrong with tap water?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Maybe if you XXunintelligibleXX [24:52.9] it would be different. But everywhere else has got pretty good tap water I think. So yeah, I’m a tap water fan.

Guy Lawrence: Fair enough. Fair enough. The next topic we wanted to cover was the Cereal Killer movies and …

Peter Brukner: Ah yes.

Guy Lawrence: … the documentaries which, you know, you’ve appeared in both Cereal Killers, too. We’re not talking about, as in murders; we’re actually talking about breakfast cereals.

Peter Brukner: Yeah, that’s right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Tell us; how did you get involved?

Peter Brukner: It’s alleged that’s my movie career, but you never know.

Look, it was bizarre really, because I heard about the movie from Kickstarter, which is sort of a web-based funding for small projects such as movies, and I just liked the sound of what Donal O’Neill, that crazy Irishman, was doing. He was basically making a movie about cereal killers, as you said.

So, I contacted him and offered my support and a small donation and then I said, “Good luck with it all.” I said, “If, you know, some of our cricketers are one it and are very supportive and if we can help in any way, you know, let us know.” So, he contacted me and said, “Do you think some of the cricketers would be happy to sort of say a few words to promote the movie?” And I said, “Well, I can ask them.” They were only too happy to do it.

So, Donal came over. We were in London at the time, it was during the last Ashes and he came over and interviewed a few of us; myself and three of the players, and he rang me the next day and said, “Oh, that was so good. We’re going to put it in the movie.” I said, “Why? I thought you had finished the movie?” He said, “Ah, well we decided to reopen the movie for that.” So, they just added a bit to the end of the first movie with a few of the players and myself and so on.

So, that was a bit of a laugh and quite nice. But it’s a, I thought it was a great movie. I mean, he’s a remarkable man, Donal, and he’d never made a movie in his life and all of a sudden has put together a very professional, you know, one-hour sort of movie-cum-documentary. It was entertaining. He’s a funny guy, but a passionate guy with a message to get across.

So, that’s been enjoyable. I’ve been fortunate enough to sort of attend various premieres of the movie around. We had one in Melbourne and then we had one in Cape Town that Tim Noakes was there and Donal was at as well; we had one in London.

So, it was great and it’s been very well-received. It’s not been out in the movie theaters, but it’s available online and I see people have found it; both entertaining and informative.

So, Donal’s just done another one, Cereal Killers 2. Not a very imaginative title, but it covers a lot; a number of things and both Tim and I are in it again.

The main story is about a guy called Sami Inkinen, who is a legendary figure in sort of an Ironman circles, former world champion; bit of a crazy guy. He decided that; he had become passionate about low-carb, high-fat, and he decided one of the best ways to test it out was to do a bit of rowing. And most of us go for a row on the river and we decide to row a kilometer down the river and back. He decided to; he and his wife decided to row a boat from San Francisco to Hawaii. So, which is not exactly your lazy afternoon row. And so, they both did that on a completely low-carb, high-fat diet and broke the previous record by a number of days and got there and yeah, he went.

So, I won’t tell the whole story, but Cereal Killers 2 is a lot about Sami’s story, he was assisted by Steve Phinney who is one of the sort of legends of research in the low-carb area and he was his advisor for the trip. Steve was out in Sydney recently and I caught up with him.

But it’s a great story and Donal’s a great storyteller. I haven’t seen the whole movie. I’ve only seen, probably like yourselves, the highlights. I think it comes out next month and I’m looking forward to seeing it. But again, it’s that combination of entertainment, but it’s a pretty interesting message, as well.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: So, he’s a remarkable guy, Donal, very talented.

Stuart Cooke: It’s certainly a great mixture there and I’m intrigued as to whether it will ruffle a few feathers in the sporting world. Because Sami, specifically with his tri-athlete and Ironman heritage, it really does throw open the world of or move in the world of gels and sports drinks and goos and high carbs. So, I’m wondering how that will be received for that particular little circle of sports. What do you think? Do you reckon it will stir; cause a stir?

Peter Brukner: Oh, absolutely. It’s already and it has been for the last 12 months or so and I know that people have been passionate defenders of it. I mean, one of the very prominent sports dietician has said publicly that I should be in jail and Tim Noakes should be struck off and all of that sort stuff …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … so people get very XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:02.4 to :30:04.6] …

Because there’s a lot of people that have got an awful invested in high-carb industry. Both from what they’ve been telling their clients and their patients, to the money they’re making from products and so on. So look, I think it’s, it is such a radical change and I can understand why people are reluctant to embrace it and are very resistant toward it. But overall all I would hope is that people have an open mind; they look at the scientific evidence and they talk to people who have experienced it and you know …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: XXtechnical glitchXX [:30:35.7 to :30:39.3] …

… high fat diet, whether it be for weight loss, for health reasons or for performance reasons have, hope, basically stuck to it, which is very unusual for a diet. Most diets people will do, I mean you can lose weight certainly on any diet really, but XXunintelligibleXX [:30:54.1] this is a highly sustainable, because you enjoy the food and you’re not as hungry and you have all sorts of other health benefits, like the triglycerides and the various XXunintelligibleXX [:31:08]. and so and so.

So, I think, certainly it’s people feel challenged and we need to have good healthy debate. We need better research and we need independent researchers, because so much of the research is done by the drug companies or by the food industry or the drinks industry that obviously have a vested interest it. So, we need some independent research to; you know, I personally, I think there’s enough research out there now, but I still think we need some more convincing evidence that this is the way to go.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fair enough. What if; if an endurance athlete stopped you on the street tomorrow that was a carb loader and you had two minutes, what would your advice be to him if he was looking into this? Just go cold turkey? Do it out of season? Or?

Peter Brukner: Yeah, I’d say, “I wouldn’t be doing it, you know, the week before my major competition and like that.” But I’d certainly say, “Look, I think, you know, you might well benefit from it. I don’t think, but it’s going to take probably a month. You need to, you know, it takes you somewhere between two and four weeks for the average person to become fat-adapted, so don’t worry if you do go, you know, ‘cold turkey,’ so to speak and turkey’s good on this diet; but do decide to go, you know, hard on the low-carb, high-fat diet, you know. Don’t worry if you don’t feel great for a couple of weeks, because there’s certainly some people who feel a bit, you know, ‘washed out’ as they adapt from a carbohydrates source of fuel to a fat source. Give it a month and see how your training is coming. How you feel yourself and how you cope with the diet.”

And nine times out of 10 I think people will find that they have positive response to the diet and they’ll continue on it.

And then as far as competition goes, like I said earlier on, it’s a matter of the individual finding out what’s right for you. Whether you do need to top up on some carbs on race day. Or whether you can manage perfectly well without, and that’s up to the individual.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Good advice. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So, what do you think the future holds for the medical industry where nutrition is concerned? Because there is still a huge amount of advice that tells us that we should eat lots of carbohydrates.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think it’s going to gradually turn. I think I said on Cereal Killers that it would take 10 years, but I think we’re now XXunintelligibleXX [:33:23.5] down the track and I think we’re actually made more miles than I would have expected. I think it’s going to be a gradual process. As I said, there’s a lot of people, I mean, if you’ve been told something for 30 years, I mean, and then you’ve been telling people something for 30 years, it requires a lot of sort of well, courage really or humility in a way to actually admit that, well, maybe we haven’t been entirely correct on this.

So, I, with my medical colleagues are always; they think I’m totally lost and I’ve gone loopy and going over to the dark side and so, hey, they’re probably right; but I buy them a copy of Nina Teichnolz’s book; I’m very happy it’s just come out in paperback, I’m getting it cheaper now, Big Fat Surprise, and I say to my medical colleagues, “Well, look, you know, okay would you read a book?” And some yeah, “Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll read a book.” And I give them that book, and so far 100 percent of them have been converted after reading that book.

So, look, I think it’s going to take time because obviously there’s enormous money invested in the sugar industry and the processed food industry and the pharmaceutical industry and statins and so on.

So, you know there’s going to be a lot of resistance from industry and a lot of resistance from the medical profession as well, because, again, it’s hard to sort of change in midstream. But look, I’m convinced it’s the way to go and, again, I want to make the point that low-carb is not necessary for everyone. I mean, most young people metabolize carbohydrates perfectly well. I think it would help them to reduce them and reduce their sort of sugar intake, but they’re probably fine with a reasonable amount of carbohydrates.

It’s really the sort of the middle aged, pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome, overweight, you know, just likely to develop… I mean, the rate of obesity and type 2 diabetes in our society. It’s just skyrocketing.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: And if you look at the graph, it’s more or less a straight line increase which started exactly 30 years ago, which is exactly when we told everyone to go less fat and all the dieters replaced that with more carbohydrates and it’s been a disaster.

I think people will look back in 50 years and say, “What on earth were they thinking?” And you know the damage that policy has done over 30 years is remarkable and we need to turn that around and we need to turn it around quickly. Because the diabetes epidemic in this world is costing Western societies enormous amounts of each and you know we’re always looking for fancier drugs and fancier medical equipment and so on. There is a one of the big solutions is just in diet and we better get that message across.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And I do think the industry; the word is definitely getting out there again, aren’t they? We see more and more people, even dropping us emails, asking questions and people at least talking about it, whether they agree with or not, it’s definitely on the radar now, where it never used to be, I don’t think.

Peter Brukner: I think a lot of people take notice and, like, Tim Noakes and so on are doing a fantastic job. He’s much vilified in South Africa, but he’s very XXunintelligibleXX [:36:56.6 to :37:02.1].

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Has your family adopted this way of eating, Peter? Or is it just you?

Peter Brukner: Um, there’s mixed; I’ve got four kids; a wife and 4 kids. Wife’s been very supportive and we eat pretty much the same foods and one of the boys is a tri-athlete, sort of, just about a diet half on and building up and he’s pretty much adopted it as well. A couple of the others, their XXtechnical glitchXX [:37:33.7 to :37:36.3] she’s struggling with that, but they all think their dad’s crazy, but you know, I think XXunintelligibleXX [:37:40.4 to :37:41.8] doesn’t really make much difference.

Stuart Cooke: So, just for our listeners, Peter, and we always ask this question as well; can you just give us a brief outline of what you ate yesterday?

Peter Brukner: Well, my typical day is XXunintelligibleXX:37:55.2] good, because I’m on the road a lot with the cricket team, so I tend to try have a big breakfast. So, I’ll have for breakfast, I’ll have a combination of some full-fat Greek yogurt. I make up my own mix of some seeds …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: Some almonds and macadamias and walnuts and pumpkin seeds and chia seeds and so on. I carry that around with me in a little box with me wherever I go. Take that down to breakfast with me when I’m on the road. So, I mix that all together with the berries in the yogurt and make it my own sort of breakfast cereal, if you want to call it that. And then I’ll have some eggs and some bacon or smoked salmon or avocado or something with the eggs. So, XXtechnical glitchXX [:38:39.8 to :38.43.1] …

Then as I sit down, really, to eat during the day, I don’t each lunch. If I get a bit peckish mid-afternoon I might have a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese and then for dinner I’ll have, you know, the old meat and three veg or fish and three veg. So, I’ll have some meat or fish and leave the fat on, not the way I used to sort of trim all the fat off the meat, and then lots of green veggies, broccoli and beans and you know, all that sort of; cauliflower and so on. I don’t usually have dessert. If I do, I’ll have berries and cream …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: I drink a bit of coffee during the day with full-fat milk and then that’s pretty much it. If I need to drink, I’ll drink water, but mainly coffee and water and that’s pretty much it. Yeah, I enjoy; I enjoy every meal I have and, you know, everyone goes off at lunchtime and they go have lunch and I just sit around and do all the things, and I don’t feel at all hungry …

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect.

Peter Brukner: It’s very different to how I used to feel. I’d always been the first running out for lunch otherwise and so, it’s very different. Like I said, I’ve been able to maintain that regime and my bloods are all good and triglycerides are good. So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the way things are.

Stuart Cooke: Perfect. Perfect. It sounds like the proof is in the pudding, or not.

Peter Brukner: It must have been in my pudding anyway, that’s for sure.

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: It’s such a good feeling though. Like I’ve adopted the high-fat diet now for five or six years. You know, generally I still have a little bit of carbs, but not much and the biggest thing that’s changed my life is the fact that my energy levels are steady every day and it’s just made a massive difference. I just, on a low note, definitely recommend at least trying it.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. I certainly, obviously, you know, a lot of people ask me about it and I’ve started a lot of my friends and colleagues on it and really it; particularly the middle age and overweight guys. I have a lot of guys and every single one of them has lost a significant about of weight. Males better than females and more consistent result in men than women. Women’s results are a little bit less consistent, but certainly in males who need to lose some weight. I mean, it just falls off you. It’s a very satisfying diet to be on when you get the rewards you get.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve got one more question for you, Peter, before we wrap up and it’s another one we ask everyone. And it’s, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Peter Brukner: East real food.

Guy Lawrence: There you go.

Stuart Cooke: I like it. That works.

Guy Lawrence: It works very well.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, we do. We use that phrase quite often.

Peter Brukner: I think that’s the best advise. You can talk carbs and fat and so on, but I …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: … when you get down to it if you just eat real food rather than processed food, I mean, you’re going to be right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Peter Brukner: You’re going to be a lot healthier.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Spot on. And that; for anyone listening to this, Peter, if; where can they get more of you?

Peter Brukner: More of me? XXunintelligibleXX [41:56.0] I’ve got a website and I’ve got a little sort of brochure on that website, “All You Need to Know About Low Carb/High Fat.” So, it’s just PeterBrukner.com. The Brukner is “brukner,” Everyone wants to put a “C” in there , but it’s just PeterBrukner.com and there you go.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we’ll send out the link for that. We always do and so they can check it out.

And what does the future hold? Anything? Obviously the World Cup; that’s very exciting.

Peter Brukner: Yeah. Look, cricket is sort of my full-time job I guess, so we’re going to be ahead with the World Cup and the Ashes and then; but I write a text book of sports medicine, so we’re revising that, we’re at our fifth edition at the moment, so that keeps me; keeps me busy. I’ve got my practices in Melbourne. I’ve got really passionate about the whole nutrition aspects, so I’m doing everything that I can to promote that and I try to see the family as well. So, that’s about it for me.

Guy Lawrence: That was awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming onto the show, Peter. We really appreciate your time.

Peter Brukner: My pleasure.

Stuart Cooke: Yes. Thank you so much and enjoy the rest of the day.

Peter Brukner: Thanks a lot guys.

Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Thanks Peter. Cheers, mate.

Peter Brukner: All right. See you guys.

 

7 Exercise & Fat Burning Myths Exposed

exercise & fat burning myths

Guy: Working in the fitness industry for almost 10 years, I would get exposed to hundreds of people each week. It was during this time that I got to understand the public perception of the exercise and fitness world.

Being in the firing line every day I got to cut through the noise, confusion and misconceptions of it all and felt inspired to write this post. So if you find yourself practicing any of the below, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

exercise myths sit ups1. Sit-ups Burn Belly Fat

I can’t tell you how many people would be doing sit-ups, medball twists and crunches because they wanted their stomach and obliques (side ab’s) flat and toned. I know many athletes and weightlifters that have abs popping without doing a single sit-up. Why is this you may ask? Drum roll please… It’s because they understand nutrition, reduce inflammation and work with fundamental exercises that activate the core. Crunches give you strong abdominals, the fat that sits on top of that is a whole different story. If this sounds a little foreign to you and you want to learn more, download our free eBook here.

exercise myths running weightloss2. Running for Weight Loss

It’s a common sight, people pounding the streets or spending hours on the treadmill with weight loss as their goal. At first glance this seems like the right thing to do, but the simple answer is this – if you are running for weight loss, your diet is wrong.

So with this golden nugget of information, the first place you should start is the kitchen. Don’t believe me? Watch this short clip with Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Tim Noakes, as we ask him what he thinks about running for weight loss.

exercise myths weight lifting3. Lifting Weights Make You Bulky

This is the greatest fear with women but I would see it with men occasionally too who don’t want bulky thighs and giant biceps! If only it was that easy. Lifting weights is one of the best strategies for increasing metabolism, toning the body, steadying blood sugars and burning body fat. Did you know fat occupies 4 to 5 times more space than muscle? If you exchanged 5kg of body fat for 5kg of muscle you would reduce your body size and have a more toned definition. This is why weighing scales should only be used to weigh your suitcase when you are going on holidays. Learn more reasons why weights are awesome here.

exercise myths carb loading4. You Need to Carb Load

This is the strategy we are taught as fitness trainers and is even more applicable to endurance athletes. Ramp up those carb’s to get you through your workout. The short answer to this is that there are many studies showing that fat adapted athletes respond better than carb loaders. Carb’s are reduced and natural fats are increased with some of the benefits of delivering quicker recovery times, reduced inflammation, less injuries, steady long lasting energy and reduced excess body fat. If you want the more scientific answer, listen to our full interview with running legend Professor Tim Noakes here.

exercise myths overtraining5. Spend Hours in the Gym to Get Fit & Buff

There’s a big perception that more exercise means more results, whether it be muscle building or weight loss. That is so simplistic it’s not funny as there are so many variables at play. There really is a minimum effective dose when it comes to results, and with the multitude of factors in place like nutrition (yes that means eating real foods and avoiding marketing fads), intensity, variation, recovery periods, sleep, type of exercise etc, you must have a clear understanding of all of these to realise your own true potential. They say a six pack is made in the kitchen, and I tend to agree with this. If you understand and implement all the other factors you’ll be the envy of all your friends in half the time :)

exercise myths exercise machine6. The Single Best Exercise for Weight Loss

This kind of marketing drives me nuts. I’m all for educating people and simplifying things so it’s digestible and easier to understand, but TV and dodgy advertising tends to skew the message. I would get constantly asked what the best exercise for weight loss was, and my answer would always be the same… ‘do you want the fluffy chocolate covered strawberry answer, or do you want the facts? Sorry to tell you that there is no single best exercise for weight loss… But if you want just the straight facts then watch this short video (2 ½ mins) with us and Australian Institute of Kettlebells founder Dan Henderson.

exercise myths yoga7. Yoga is for Women, Vegan’s & Tree Huggers

Being a male yoga fan, I had to include this one as I swear some of my mates think that I’m the only guy (pun intended) in the class breathing through one nostril and visualising flowers. To all the guys out there who are reading this, get in there as you are missing out! Especially if you’re an athlete or take your sport seriously, as I’ve seen many of them greatly improve their flexibility and mobility. Personally I practice two to three times a week and mine has gone through the roof. Physically and mentally I’ve found this the perfect counter-balance to the intensive training I do and it compliments it perfectly. There is also magic to be found in a Yin style class (i’m addicted), and I would urge anyone with high workout routines to check them out too. Yoga’s popularity over the years has grown massively for a reason, so don’t let the ego get in the way ;) Watch this 2 min clip with ex army officer Duncan Peak why athletes benefit from yoga.

Replace processed foods with a 180 superfood smoothie here

Gary Fettke: The 3 Most Important Health Tips You Will Ever Hear


Ever wondered what we should really be doing to avoid modern day disease? If you are like us, then I’m sure you know someone who’s health is suffering or the warning signs are starting to show. Our special guest today is Gary Fettke, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer of the University of Tasmania. He put’s modern day disease down to this one word… inflammation! You won’t look at disease the same way again after watching this episode! Enjoy.


Full Interview: Discover The Truth About Modern Day Disease

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • The three foods you MUST avoid for amazing health
  • Why everything we’ve been taught about the food pyramid is wrong!
  • What the true cause of modern day disease is
  • What that word ‘inflammation’ actually means
  • Gary’s thoughts on fruit…
  • And much much more…

More

Donal O’Neill: Cereal Killers Movie

The video above is 01:24 long. Use your time wisely ;)

‘In my research I noticed that International tobacco company Philip Morris, in the early nineties, when the heat came on they started to buy up food companies. They are a brilliantly sinister company.

They identified that sugar is very much the same as nicotine; get them young get them hooked & you’ve got them for life.’ – Donal O’Neil, producer of the Cereal Killers Movie


The Full Interview

We chat to Donal O’Neill, the man behind the awesome documentary Cereal Killers. If you haven’t seen it then make it a must!

CLICK HERE for Audio Version

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

    • The inspiration behind the movie
    • Why professor Tim Noakes is awesome!
    • The Australian cricketers and their low carb high fat diet
    • What sports benefit most from LCHF diet
    • How to increase testosterone & sex drive with men in their 40′s
    • And much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Cereal Killers Movie Info

- Watch the Movie Here

- Follow On Facebook Here


Interview with Donal O’Neill Transcript

Stuart Cooke: Donal, how are you?

Donal O’Neill: I’m good. Good to see you.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you so much. You can hear me, Guy?

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Everything’s clear. Everything’s good. So fingers crossed, no technical issues and we’ll be awake.

Stuart Cooke: So, I feel like I’m going to, I feel like I’m about to speak to a movie star.

Donal O’Neill: So do I.

Stuart Cooke: All right. Yeah, you must be talking about Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Well, so let’s start.

Stuart Cooke: Okay, fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence, and welcome to Episode 20 of the podcasts. I just checked, and we’ve got Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our special guest today is Mr. Donal O’Neill, the man behind the movie Cereal Killers. Donal, thanks for joining us, mate.

Donal O’Neill: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: I just want to clarify some numbers, well, just if people hadn’t heard of your movie Cereal Killers, we aren’t talking about Hannibal Lecter or anything, are we? We’re actually talking about more the breakfast cereal, you know, because…

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, we’re talking much more; much more dangerous than Hannibal Lecter.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly, I have no doubt in it. I have no doubt, and look, just to get the ball rolling, you know, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and, before we get stuck into the movie, what led you to actually making it, as well. Just give us a little bit of a background.

Donal O’Neill: Sure. Well, I probably, probably the first thing my mum would say is that I was an inquisitive little bugger as a kid, so, I’m now 42 years old. Several years ago my dad had a heart attack. I come from a family of lean, very athletic men, who don’t really put on weight and have never abused themselves, but we get sick. We get heart disease and diabetes, and, when I discovered that, I guess, I rolled up a lot of the energy I had and a lot of the passion that I developed over the years as an athlete and everything else I’ve ever done, and I just set out on a journey to discover what the hell happened, and, once I started that journey, it kind of snowballed.

And, as I said, I’ve always been a very inquisitive person, it kind of turned to anger, the more information that I unearthed, the more determined I got to get the story out. That’s just the nature of me. You know, back in Ireland, I’m probably known for establishing what would be the equivalent in Australia of the AFLPA. So I set up the players union for Gaelic football, so I do like to confront and challenge convention.

If I see something that I believe in, I’ll push for it. I didn’t intend to push this hard, but here we are, and, obviously, the movie’s been released in December, and it’s gone great. We had a tremendous reception in Australia and that continues. Australia is topping our charts for online screenings at the moment.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Because the movie is no, I mean, it’s no small project, mate, you know, it’s a big, bug task to put that together. When did you start? Like, when did you set out to make it?

Donal O’Neill: Well, like said to some people just yesterday, it’s probably taken about three years. I can do the next one in about three months, but I can tell you, I had XXfrogsXX [0:03:28] along the way, guys. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, which was actually an enormous help. I got, I ran into many roadblocks.

Probably the smoothest process, once the story and the screening, sorry, the filming, I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, but once you move into post-production in a movie, that’s where the magic and the madness happens, and we ran into some problems there.

But the delays that we encountered, you know, to an outsider it might look like this whole thing was planned and the timing was beautiful, but I just started. I just kept going, and then I just decided to put it out there, and “let’s stop,” but, you know, it was very, very fortuitous in many ways, because we had stopped filming when Dr. Peter Brukner contacted us and really got behind the movie and right then introduced us to Shane Watson, Dave Warner, and Usman Khawaja who will be well-known to your Australian listeners.

And, you know, at that point you’ve got an editor and director saying, “Oh, you can’t really cut them in. The movie’s done,” and I’m like, “Well, I don’t know anything about movies, so I’m telling you these guys are going in the movie, one way or the other.”
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Donal O’Neill: So, I just kept breaking rules, I guess, ignoring the laws of filmmaking and eventually we got there, but it was, it was great fun. It was a great journey and something tells me it’s probably on the start.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I think so. Have you been, have the Carbivores contacted you? Have you been hit by any kind of negativity from the other train of thought? You know? The Bread Munchers?

Donal O’Neill: It’s kind of bizarre. The first, kind of, negative slant that I’ve seen actually came from Ireland just yesterday, but we’re great at that. I mean, we love it. We love a kind of good/bad news story, let’s be honest. When it’s raining outside, you don’t want too much good news, you know.

Stuart Cooke: Is that right?

Donal O’Neill: It’s been absolutely incredible. People have been very, very generous with their commentary, and I, honestly, I had no idea how it was going to be received. When we went to Melbourne for the premiere there, it was very interesting. We had a couple of hundred people and to watch it with a crowd, to see how they reacted to various parts of the movie was very interesting for me, because at this stage I’ve seen it 200 times and I’ve been through editing. It’s a big thing.

Guy Lawrence: Could you, just for anyone listening to this that hasn’t seen the movie, could you just sum it up in a nutshell, what it’s about essentially?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, well, what I did was I went on a journey to see if I could affectively hack my genes using food as the instrument and, like I mentioned earlier, coming from a family with a history of heart disease and diabetes, I wanted to see if there was an intervention I could create for myself that would help me drop dead healthy, and I researched that for, sort of, two years and the conclusion I came to was that a very high fat diet, naturally occurring fats, of course, was probably a pretty good starting point.

So, I teamed up with Prof. Tim Noakes and kept trying for 28 days I had a diet consisting of 70 percent fat. I ate about 25 eggs a week, a kilo macadamia nuts, two kilos of beef, and full-fat everything. No wheat or sugar.

And I did that under full medical supervision, so I got my blood panels done before and after, during, etc., etc. We just sat back to see what would happen and along the way we discussed the issue of, let’s say, conventional wisdom as it relates to things like cholesterol and diabetes and fat and carbohydrates, you know, Tim Noakes, Dr. John Briffa, Peter Brukner and others and that’s pretty good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I have to say, mate, you, you know, you did a stellar job. We were both discussing the movie and I think you simplified the message fantastically, as well, and as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a person that would not benefit watching this movie. I think it’s a must, you know, and people are not just putting that connection together at all about the damage and effects of sugars and carbohydrates in their diet, you know. It’s just, it’s incredible. It just amazes me that that’s not there.

Donal O’Neill: It’s interesting for me. I was back in Australia for the premiere. I haven’t been down in seven years and you could just see people getting bigger, and you can see the damage, I mean, it’s like everywhere.

I mean, Ireland, the U.K., it’s just the enemy. I think we’re about to XXpepXX [0:08:10] England for the first time in anything by becoming more obese and unhealthy than them, but, which, you know, it’s very, very sad to see, but I’ve worked with the big food companies. We’ve tried to engage some of them, like Kellogg’s, for the movie, and they wouldn’t even return our calls. They know what they’re doing.

I mean, don’t make any mistake about that, and I know they know what they’re doing, and they certainly know. I mean, the general public doesn’t really know, but when you have, you know, X billion dollars in advertising media telling you one thing, it’s very, very difficult for XXmatchesXX [0:08:43] to break through against that, and particularly when you have an XXundergrowingXX [0:08:51] war that’s absolutely ongoing, and some of the trends and some of the tactics that I saw.

I mean, they would shock you, but I could’ve made ten documentaries, but the trick for me was to try to write The Sun newspaper as opposed to The Times because there’s all the medical information is there, I just tried to make something as an average guy and try to make it accessible to, you know, the man on the street.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Well, it definitely worked. It’s so watchable and so beautifully laid out that it just made perfect sense. I’ve watched it twice, and I shall watch it again. It’s awesome.

Donal O’Neill: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: What, Tim Noakes, like, he’s a hero of ours. We think Tim’s awesome. When did you first get in touch with Tim? Did you, is it, as it, you went down the rabbit hole looking into the whole high-fat diet and came across Tim?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, when you just put things out there. I’ve been doing my research. I’ve been sort of mentioning to some people that, you know, I’d written a book, and I thought, “This isn’t enough.”

I’m going to, I didn’t publish it, I said, “I’m going to take this further, and I started to tell some people I was planning to make a movie. And people say, “Well, why did you make and kept thinking this was all planned and, again, it wasn’t. This was fortuitous.

I mean, I actually thought that if I’m going to film this, I don’t think anybody wants to see dreary wet Ireland XXon a health show?XX[0:10:13] I’m a marketing person, and I thought, “If I’m going to film this, I might as well do it somewhere beautiful, because I’m going to be doing it for a month, and that’ll just make it easier to watch.”

So that was the level of, I guess, stupidity I was operating at. It was that simple, and I’d come to Cape Town for something else and, you know, coming from a sports background myself, it just stunned me that there was a sports scientist in this country who was, like, a household name. I was going to dinner parties and people were arguing over Tim Noakes and du, du, du, du, du, and I thought, “I suppose I’d better contact Tim Noakes.”

I emailed him out of the blue, I mean, he hadn’t broken out yet in a big way on that whole issue. He had just kind of raised his head above the pulpit, and he invited me in and his generosity with his resources, his knowledge, his time, with everything, was just incredible, and as soon as he opened the door, you know, I just grabbed the director and camera man and I put them on a plane and I said, “We’re going to do this now,” and the director was like, “Well, we need preproduction,” and I said, “Well, there is no preproduction. We start in about two weeks’ time.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: XXBest way. Best way.XX [0:11:25]

Donal O’Neill: I don’t know what I’m doing type thing, but, yeah, the director Yolanda Barker is a young Irish lady, and she did a phenomenal job, and Raja Nundlall, the D. P. is, he does a lot of work with Ireland as an actual broadcaster so, to be honest, they carried me through it. I just sort of said, “Roll the cameras and off we go.”

The rest was in large part due to the like of Tim Noakes and John Briffa.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. It was great to see the Aussie cricketers, as well, as, you know, sporting professionals, you know, trying and benefitting from this approach, as well. What do you think about other sports? Do you think this will follow on?

Donal O’Neill: We were just discussing this yesterday, in fac. I believe one sport that will benefit enormously is golf.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Donal O’Neill: Because, as you well know, one of the things that, I think, really the first thing that anybody notices if they move to a high-fat, low-carb diet and they consume real food is a stabilization in energy levels, and I think it’s possibly too late for my own golfing career, but I can see a sport, like golf, where the guys are out there for five, five-and-a-half hours plodding along. It’s got to be a significant benefit for their concentration, because one slip can cost you a hell of a lot.

I think that’s one sport that could benefit enormously. OI mean, obviously, the endurance sports are already benefitting and, you know, guys like Timmy Olson that I’ve been in touch with, the ultra-endurance athlete in the U.S., their stories are just staggering, and I go back to cricket…

Guy Lawrence: Cricket, yeah, yeah, yeah…

Guy Lawrence: The other thing I wanted to clarify, as well, that was mentioned, Peter Brukner, he’s the Australian cricket team nutritionist, that’s right, yeah?

Donal O’Neill: He’s the team doctor.

Guy Lawrence: Team doctor, okay, so he’s been advising the cricketers on the high-fat diet, essentially.

Donal O’Neill: Well, it’s interesting. Peter was with Liverpool Football Club prior to the Australian cricketers, but he’d only really adopted this mantra himself around the time that he was leaving Liverpool, but, you know, he’s got a big presence in football, so, you know, he’s going to have an impact on what he’s achieving with the cricketers. It’s going to start to filter, right?

And, like I mentioned, when we’ve got the L.A. Lakers stateside and guys like Timmy Olson and then Peter Brukner advising athletes in Australia and the U.K. It’s going to happen. I have no doubt.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So where to from here? You’re essentially going to the States to promote the movie; to the L.A. Lakers, do you have anything else in the pipeline coming up or are you just going to keep like you’ve been doing and just see what happens as you go?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, kind of making it up as we go along, but it’s been; I think someone’s writing the story over my shoulder, because the reason we’re going to the U.S. is pretty interesting. We’d obviously put the movie up on Kickstarter mid last year and off the back of that one particular person who had missed the Kickstarter XXget?XX [0:14:40] was a gentleman called Sami Inkinen. Sami is an incredible individual. He is a world Iron Man age group champion. He’s about 38, 39. He’s also a spectacularly successful software entrepreneur and he’s based out of San Francisco.

So he contacted me out of the blue and just said, “I’m going to help.” I guess, you know, this guy won Ironman on a diet of fat, so he knows, and he’s now in a position where he’s using his resources and his expertise to start to preach this message.

He’s somebody that’s going to, you know, probably emerge as a pretty big player in this whole XXaction?XX [0:15:21] in my opinion, because it’s great having all the medics and all of that, opinion is very, very valuable, but what we must understand, we have to take the fight to the food companies on their turf. I mean, when Coca Cola issued a press release about their anti-obesity campaign and that goes worldwide in 50 countries simultaneously, and you have, you know, people responding to that. Coke still controlled the pitch.

So, the real food movement needs people who understand the mechanics of business and commerce, or how to raise awareness, sustain it, and how to get a message out that’s consistent and tight. That hasn’t happened yet. That’s what I see happening next. It’s starting to emerge, but it really requires a collaborative effort, and you need somebody with all the resources and all the ability to lead something like that, and Sami is such a guy. I cannot wait to spend some time with him in California and see what he’s got planned, but there’s definitely more to come.

Stuart Cooke: That’s exciting. Very exciting. I was just wanting to shift over to diet and exercise, just at the moment, and I was intrigued by your change in nature and take on the exercise you do in the movie. Was that eight minutes per week?

Donal O’Neill: It was, yes.

Stuart Cooke: Are you still doing eight minutes per week, or have you changed, you changed what you’re doing since then?

Donal O’Neill: No, I probably do a bit more, but what I do, that was eight minutes of, let’s say, cardio work. I trained with very, very high intensity for very, very short periods of time like that and then, probably 90 percent of my time is spent on mobility, so I studied pilates and yoga and lot of this stuff, and obviously I was an athlete and a conditioning coach, so I’m a big believer in movement, but the, like, I’ll turn 43 this year, so, what I noticed when I got to about 37, I certainly noticed that, “Oh, if I don’t change something, I’m probably going to start to dip here,” but my body feels much better than it did five years ago, and that’s, I think, down to diet, number one, and number two, I’m just training much smarter.

You know, for a guy in particular, the stuff that gets left off the table, because most diet books are written for women, are things like testosterone, you know, like a high-carbohydrate diet would dip your testosterone as would endurance training, so everything I do I do to solicit a metabolic response from my body, so I’m always looking to, sort of, hack the hormones as opposed to you’re looking at exactly what’s on the plate or how long am I exercising for.

I did a lot of that research along the way, too, but I’ve been in sports for 30, 35 years, and that’s my natural playground, but even in my days as an international athlete six sprints would have been a complete session, so I’ve come full-circle. Obviously, I wouldn’t be capable of doing the level of training I did back then, either, but I just like to train smart, move smart, and eat smart.

Guy Lawrence: Do you lift weights at all, Donal?

Donal O’Neill: I do lift some weights, but I do a lot of body work and I actually train on the mountain here in Cape Town, so a lot of proprioception work. I train, literally, in the trees. We’ve got a guy here XXaudio distortedXX [0:18:58] so, you know, we’re up on fallen trees sort of eight feet above the ground and we’ve got a big log on our shoulders and I work with the pilates and yoga experts here.

So we’ve been creating our own, well, what we’re calling the Strong Man Plan, which we’ll release the end of this year, so I’ve pulled everything together because I’ve probably put about over a hundred guys through it now, and the results you see are fantastic, particularly for guys when they get past 40. The stuff you used to do doesn’t work, and the worst thing you can do is jogging, because you’re going to drop your testosterone further. You’re going to really not do much good at all. I have a very big interest in getting guys strong and healthy through middle-age, and that’s kind of what my focus is now.

Stuart Cooke: When did you say this program is going to be rolled out over here?

Donal O’Neill: We’re going to roll it out, it’s probably three or four months away. I’ll let you know, but it’s just pulling in all the research I conducted for the movie and, you know, pointing it directly at men, because I think there’s a serious gap for blokes over 40, and I’m just fed up looking at mates of mine putting on their old rugby or football shorts and starting to go out jogging and, you know, eating their Special K breakfast. I mean, it’s a road to nowhere.

Things like sex drive, you know, you start eating a high-fat diet your testosterone is going to get pumped. You start to train without creating too much cortisol in the body, and if you train smart, you know, and you engage the glutes and the big muscle groups with compound movements, you get another shot of testosterone there, so I call them your man markers, so, everything that makes you a bloke can be buffered by smart diet food and movement.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting though, that most people, like you say, hit the streets to start running, you know, and, you know…

Stuart Cooke: Just conventional device, right? That’s it. I’ve got to run and I’ve got to limit my calories. That’s the only way I’m going to get slim.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, but if you go to the start of any 10 k race, you’ll see fit guys with little pot bellies, you know. It’s a, that’s just how it is, and that’s the body’s hormonal response, you know, it’s not good for the body’s muscular gears, let’s say. It’s like going through the gears of a car. You know, if you’re jogging, the hormonal response in the body is whatever. You know, you get to sprinting and lifting, you’re into fourth gear and that’s when you get the testosterone and the lipolytic hormones releasing into the system. The rewards are tremendous, but, again, slightly counterintuitive, because you can’t do that stuff for a long time.

And one of the other things that frustrates me is that people are advising guys to go out there and sprint, because sprinting is a pretty tough regimen. We’ve created sequences of exercises that are safe and can be done and are very, very affective, because injury is the other thing you’ve got to avoid, which then goes back to the high fat and the lower inflammation in the body.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, especially if you’re, like you say, on a high-carb diet and you go high inflammation. You’re going to pull a hammy in seconds.

Stuart Cooke: But also those that are lean, because I’m naturally very lean. Impossible to put on weight, but that doesn’t mean for one second I’m healthy inside, and so that’s also a great message to push as well.

Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, that’s exactly where I was starting. That’s the story of my family, the men in my family, so people perceive, you know, okay, generally speaking, it may be correct, but generality doesn’t work. I mean, health is like politics. It’s related to the individual and that’s why people vote best in their political beliefs and how they impact them, and they tend to eat on the same basis what’s really a zero foundation.

Guy Lawrence: How many calories a day were you eating in the movie?

Donal O’Neill: I was up near 4,000 a day, probably about 37, 38. I was stuffing myself. I mean, I was not hungry, I was doing it for the team, as they say, but I’m probably two kilos heavier than when we’ve stopped filming and I eat probably 20, 25 percent less. The more I was eating, it was just stripping me.

Back to the question about sports, I mean, I was a high-jumper and, you know, any sport that has a strong reliance on weight, I mean, if I was jumping, obviously, to be lifting off with two kilos less…On a similar, actually, an improved strength profile would be a phenomenal asset. So, that’s, you know, they’re obviously niche sports, but some of the track and field events, you might see some serious benefits for those athletes.

We’re working with some of the cage fighters here in South Africa at the moment, the mixed martial artists. One of the guys here, he’s stripping 12 kilos coming into a bout. So, that weakens the system, and they know it does. If they can find a way to walk around a train even, you know, two, three, four kilos less than they normally would be, that’s two, three, four kilos less than they’ve got to cut, and that can be beneficial.

We’ve also done some work with the lead Gaelic footballers who are now in a position where they can maintain their championship playing weight with no effort, so they can train and bulk and strengthen up, but they’re not carrying any additional weight to slow them.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think more endurance athletes will jump on board with this?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. I think there’s a story there. I mean, we connected with the 2008 Olympic triathlon champion and he ate like that. If you sit with Tim Noakes, he’ll tell you about Paula Newby-Fraser who was the greatest triathlete of all time, arguably, South African, nine-time, I think, nine-time Hawaii Iron Man winner, and you know, she ate like this. That’s going back 20 years.

Guy Lawrence: I remember you saying that, yeah.

Donal O’Neill: It’s been there and it’s been used as a tactic, and it just, of course, elite athletes who think they’re on to something they’re not necessarily going to tell you. [AUDIO COMPLETELY DISTORTS] [0:25:42] Athletes identify what their, no pun intended, their sweet spot is for carb intake, because I think for a lot of sports, that will be a requirement to cycle carbs and to time them effectively. That’s what we’re going to see. They’re going to run with the clean foods. They’ll enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits and whatnot, the cardiovascular benefits.

Noakes is saying, and he’s apologizing to athletes he advised who he believes have gone on and developed diabetes in particular because of the very high-carb sugar content diets that they have been on. I think it’s a fascinating area, and it’s, you know, the research that Tim’s doing in South Africa at the moment, is, I believe the first major study into high-fat for ultra-endurance athletes, so that’s pretty impressive.

Guy Lawrence: Is that right?

Stuart Cooke: Wow. What about the other end of the scale? Children? What would your advice be to, you know, parents who’ve got their own tribe and are currently feeding them the conventional way?

Donal O’Neill: You know, I mean, the results speak for themselves. You know, I can speak about Ireland and I’ve looked at the stats in Australia, and they’re just shocking. It doesn’t work and, you know, for kids, the first thing you’ve got to do is try and limit the sugar intake, because one of the things that I noticed in my research was, you know, Phillip Morris when the heat came on big tobacco in the early ’90s, they started to buy out food companies, the FMCG companies that kicked out crap back then.

And they identified, I mean they’re a brilliantly sinister company, they identified that the sugar trap is very much the same as nicotine. Get them young. Get them hooked on for life. Cereal companies know that. You know, you get on the cereal bandwagon and off you go. You’re on it for life typically.

So, the message for parents has to be the same as it is for adults. Let them eat what you eat, and I think any smart parent has always known that. If the parents aren’t eating correctly in the first instance, then you’re off to a bad start.

I’ve seen kids, I mean, you can see it happening. I’ve seen kids three, four years of age who have never had sugar. I mean parents are just feeding them real food. And you’ve got fantastic little kids running around, I mean, just apparently healthy. Absolutely sparkling with health. My own mate down in Australia…traveled to Australia after college. He stayed there. He’s got two young boys now, and I’ve watched what he’s done with them. You know, it’s eggs for breakfast and real food and Greek yogurt. Farmers Union has the best Greek yogurt I can find in Australia. It’s superb stuff.

The produce in Australia is amazing. I mean, you can do this. I always like to look at, you know, people like to say, “Oh, it’s expensive,” but, you know, eggs aren’t really expensive anywhere. Meat is actually, compared to everything else, it’s actually a pretty good value in Australia. Lamb is cheap.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and, you know, medical bills are more expensive than a box of eggs you know, if you want to go down that route. It’s just crazy thought.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Exactly. We’re looking at some project, maybe try and do something specifically for children, movie-related, which would be fantastic, because, whatever, adults can make up their own mind, but you know children are absolutely driven. Exposure to sports stars is hugely important which is why I absolutely wanted to roll the cameras again and get Watson, Warner, and Khawaja in there.

We’re talking to the guys doing screenings down in India where diabetes is just an explosion, but the only thing bigger than that in India is cricket, so a guy like Watson stands up and tells children to eat something, you know they’re going to listen. He might just break though, and you’ll certainly break through with an elite athlete sooner than you will with a medical message to parents.

You know, that’s all good stuff, but the power of celebrity is going to pay an important role in this. I think Damon Gameau’s movie that’s coming out later this year called That Sugar Movie is going to be a phenomenal addition to the debate. He was at the screening in Melbourne, and I can’t wait to see what he’s doing with his movie. It’s going to be superb.

Stuart Cooke: It certainly will be.

Guy Lawrence: You just need the right people endorsing the right things, don’t you, at the end of the day, which sadly happens to be happening?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, yeah. You know, we interviewed the chairman of the British Egg Council, not in the final cut of the movie, but I think their entire budget for the year to represent the industry is one million pounds. You couldn’t buy a couple of ads on Channel 4.

Stuart Cooke: No.

Donal O’Neill: He made the point that it’s just impossible, so what do you do? You’ve got to think outside the box. You’ve got to look for endorsements from celebrities and people who have access to the media that can get the message out. Otherwise, the bombardment of those billions of dollars that are telling you one thing are pretty hard to counter.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, massively. Massively. Absolutely.

I had another question for you, Donal. Ketosis. You’re permanently in ketosis now? Or you, um, don’t measure?

Donal O’Neill: No, I’m not. I don’t measure it. You know, there are guys who know a hundred times more about this stuff than me. I mean, we’ve got Robert Lustig and Steve Phinney hosting our screenings in San Francisco now next week, and then Mark Sisson is hosting us in L.A.

But, I operate on feel. I mean, I got to the point where I just know what my body wants.

Yesterday, for example, I was about to take down a large pig. I just needed bacon in my life. I just give my body what it wants, when it wants it. So, you know, I eat a very low-carb diet, a lot of fat, but am I in ketosis constantly? No. I’m not.

I’ll have an odd beer, and, you know, some carbs now and then. But I know when I need them and I just listen to my body.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: What do you say to those people that insist on counting calories without, you know, the whole lecture? I mean, is there any light that you could guide them to that might just, kind of, start the process?

Donal O’Neill: Well, you know, one of the more ridiculous reasons for making the movie for me as well is just so I wouldn’t have to get into the debate. I feel like walking around with a DVD in the market and just giving them to people, because I was getting jumped at dinner before. It was just bizarre.

So, people get very, very protective about their diet. It is like a religious belief or a political belief but they don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean, I they haven’t done the research.

You know, I was somebody who carb-loaded and did everything, you know, I thought was right for a long, long time. And I had to come in with an open mind to research and the movie. I didn’t know that what I would find was what I would find. But, you know, if you don’t have an open mind to these things, then you’re probably somebody who isn’t gonna give it a chance.

And, to be honest, I never raise the issue with anybody. If somebody wants to talk about it, that’s fine. But I’m not like some evangelist running around looking over people’s shoulders at the dinner plate.

I’d rather just slip a DVD into their pocket and leave them to it, because people have to find their own way.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, of course.

Donal O’Neill: Ultimately, we’re all on our own.

Stuart Cooke: Yep. If I decided to undertake this diet tomorrow, would you recommend that I undergo any testing at all, as you did?

Donal O’Neill: I think it’s; tests are useful for a number of reasons. I mean, first and foremost, psychologically. Because then you feel like you’re committed to something. And when you start; even if you start to write down what you eat, you start to eat healthier. That’s been proven time and again.

So, you take very small steps to make quite a big difference, but what; if you can get the right tests, yes. And you need you HDL, your LDL, and absolutely your triglycerides, your HbA1c is another very important mark. If you can get those, absolutely. But obviously something like HbA1c is a three-month marker. So, you need to give it some time before you revisit that one.

But you would see results within, probably, four to six weeks.

And; you would see them first around your waist. I dropped a buddy of mine off to the airport last night and he’s a businessman in London and every suit he owns he’s had to have it taken in several inches. He just can’t believe it. And this guy was an elite rower who continued to thrash himself in the gym. And just had bit of a, what you would call a “wheat belly.” But it’s gone. And, you know, he was stunned by it.

And, I think, counting of calories; some people like to do that. There’s a lot of tech out there that helps you do it. If that’s your thing, by all means, go on; do it. But, you know, my recommended caloric intake was about 2,800 calories. I had more, almost a thousand calories a day in excess, through the course of filming, lost weight; gained muscle. Go figure.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. You can’t argue with that.

Guy Lawrence: I think testing, as well, helps for people. Because some people are so fearful of fat. You see it all the time, you know. And just to have something behind them so they can embrace it for a month and see what happens. You know? You can’t about it half-assed, as well, and still eat your bread and just increase your fat a bit.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Yeah. Some people do that, but, you know; if you’re gonna take one foodstuff out of your diet and get an immediate result, it probably is bread, because it’s something that people tend to overeat. Certainly, in Ireland.

So, I’ve watched guys just take out bread drop enormous amount of weight because they ate half a loaf a day. So, where you’re starting from will determine where you’re gonna get to, I suppose, with specific types of, let’s say, “dietary edits.”

But, you know, I really enjoy working with guys who have been sportsmen, and who are now longer in shape, because someone who has been there. . . When the body clicks and it gets it, you’ve got them, I mean, and they just stick with it because once you start to feel good, I mean, the body remembers that feeling. There’s no going back.

My old brother is 47 and he’s back to his elite football-playing weight. And, you know, he’s a guy who he’ll have a drink once a day. I mean, he’s like that. He doesn’t really deprive himself. But, you know, he just kind of stopped eating bread and just made a few tweaks, and, bang, there he goes.

So, you know, everybody’s different. You can just; once you find your own sweet spot, just run with it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And; well, what would you. . . If somebody stopped you on the stress who had statins and was asking you questions, what would you say to them? What would your piece of advice be, if he’s on statin drugs; cholesterol drugs?

Donal O’Neill: I mean, the statin thing is; it’s pretty unbelievable to me, what big pharma has done there. And one of the key pieces of research I unearthed was the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have spent in excess of 10 billion U.S. dollars to try to find a drug that would safely raise HDL cholesterol. They haven’t succeeded, but I wanted them to succeed, because I wanted to see what their ad agency was gonna do. “OK, guys, we know we have been lowering your cholesterol for years; we’ve got a great idea: We’re gonna raise it.”

So, yeah. They didn’t achieve that, but. . . That would have been very, very exciting. So, I mean, you’ve got the conventional cardiologists and experts who say, “Yeah, statins could save your life.” And there’s absolutely an anti-inflammatory aspect to statins that provides benefit in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac event. But do they prevent it? Based on the research I’ve seen and, you know, now you’ve got cardiologists like Dr. Aseem Malhotra and Paul Davis and the rest who are steadfast against them as a preventative, too.

I think, you know, the thought leaders in the cardiac world are in a much better position to assess that than me. But I believe them and they’re saying statins are not the way forward.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve got. . .

Guy Lawrence: Oh, go one, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I was just wondering how we could help spread the message. What could we do?

Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, I think you’re doing a great job already. The work you’re doing is tremendous. I mean, it’s great to have guys like yourself who are clearly very savvy in the Internet environment, because we’re a David to an enormous Goliath and I the real foods message needs coordination and collaboration. And, you know, these types of podcasts and recordings and everything else you’re doing is enormously beneficial.

Obviously, we went with Yekra to distribute the movie because it enabled hosts like yourselves to present the movie for screening directly from your website and your Facebook page and whatnot.

So, we’ve been trying to get some viralality into the marketing of the movie, because our advertising budget is about zero. So, it’s, you know, not the cleverest thing in the world to launch a movie without a budget, but here we are.

But, you know, even if we had a couple of million dollars, it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference because you’re operating against such a vast war chest on the other side that to break through is very, very tough. So, I think it’s just a question of continuing to tell the truth and to present the facts and get what success you can.

Guy Lawrence: I think the power of social media can be phenomenal, to, you know. And by getting bits of information out like this, and getting them out there, and people talking. You know, it certainly does make a difference to some people, that’s for sure.

Donal O’Neill: It definitely helps. Later today, I’m on with Ireland’s biggest commercial radio station, so that’s; but this is as important as that, it’s because this type of engagement that alerted mainstream media, because I told them all we were coming and they just completely ignored me.

So, you know, you’ve got to bite your lip and march on and try and make some noise and just wait for the pickup. So, thanks for supporting us.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, man. I think it’s awesome. I absolutely loved it.

We always end on a wrap-up question. And this can be non-nutrition related. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Donal O’Neill: “Don’t do it.”

When I hear that, that is just music to my ears. And I’m out of the blocks. And that’s probably the most consistent piece of advice I got when I started this project. So, that might sound negative but that’s when you know you’re either crazy or your might be onto something, when people are steadfast against what you’re doing, for no other reason than they can’t get their head around it.

But it’s starting to become a really good idea.

Stuart Cooke: It’s working for you. I’d keep at it.

Guy Lawrence: Just keep doing it. Keep doing it.

And for us Aussies, mate, how can we get more of Donal O’Neill? Where is the best place to go?

Donal O’Neill: Obviously, we’re on Facebook: CerealKillersMovie. We’ve got the website at CerealKillersMovie.com. And everything will kind of flow from those channels.

We put up a blog to support the movie called Let Fat By Thy Medicine. We have some articles up there. But we’re gonna just keep pushing the Internet presence and using some of the expertise I’ve picked up along the way in my days with the online gambling industry. So, yeah, it’s gonna be very much pumping the online channels. And I think we get the movie onto Netflix; iTunes, in due course and then we’re looking towards television.

But we are; we’re gonna try to pitch a TV show into Australia this year. So, we’ll see how that goes. But I just want to keep the projects coming and keep the message coming, because one movie isn’t gonna approve to much. It’s the start.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, look, this movie needed to be made and you did an awesome job and we really appreciate your time for coming on the show. And we will be pushing this message constantly as well, man, and continuing to get it out there.

Donal O’Neill: Much, much appreciated, and thanks for having me.

Stuart Cooke: No problem. Thanks for joining us.

Guy Lawrence: No worries. Thank you, Donal.

Donal O’Neill: Cheers, guys.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, mate.

Avoid these two foods and change your energy and health forever! 2 Minute Gem with Tim Noakes

By Guy Lawrence

When it comes to sports and exercise science, running legend Professor Tim Noakes is the man! In this short video, he tells us that ditching just these two foods alone has dramatically improved his energy, health and doesn’t get sick any more… Awesome!

You can watch the full Professor Tim Noakes interview: The Exercise & Carbohydrate Myth here.

 
Do you agree with Tim? Have you eliminated any foods & feel awesome for it? Love to hear your thoughts below… Guy

Professor Tim Noakes: The Exercise & Carbohydrate Myth

Free Health Pack

By Guy Lawrence

This is the full interview with South African running legend Professor Tim Noakes. He is a health professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

You can watch a 2 minute gem from the interview here: Is Running Effective for Fat Burning? 

downloaditunesIn this weeks episode:-

  • Why Tim famously changed his views on carb’ loading for running [005:01]
  • Is running effective for weight loss? [013:09]
  • What Tim eats before & after exercise [016:28]
  • His thoughts on CrossFit & if low carb’ applies? [021:45]
  • Tim’s thoughts on endurance exercise/running reducing life expectancy [027:38]
  • Swimming one mile at the north Pole in 1.8 degrees water temp’ [039:45]
  • and much more…

You can follow Professor Tim Noakes: 

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Did you enjoy the interview with Professor Tim Noakes? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy


Professor Tim Noakes: The transcript

Guy

I’ll quickly do the introduction. I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is Professor Tim Noakes. And, Tim, honestly, thank you for joining us. It’s awesome to have you.

Tim

My pleasure. Thanks, Guy and Stuart.

Guy

It’s funny. We actually mentioned to a couple of friends of ours that we’d be interviewing you today, and there was a lot of excitement. We; a very good friend of ours actually studied his medical degree in South Africa and he said that you taught him in one of the semesters there, back in 1984, ’85, I think it was. So, he was very impressed that we were speaking to you today and said to say hello.

Tim

Great. I hope I knew something.

Guy

And also, another friend of ours, a really good friend of yours, Stu, is it Gavin, is it?

Stuart

Gavin, yeah, he’s a crazy bush runner, and he was very excited when he found out that we were going to be talking to you. So, we’ve got a few questions a little later on that he’s scripted for us and he’d love to know, so we’ll get to those in 10 minutes or so.

Guy

Yeah, so the first thing, anyway, Tim, for anyone that doesn’t know who you are, would you mind just telling us a little bit about yourself for the people that would be listening to this?

Tim

Sure. Well, I’m pretty advanced in age now. I’m 64 years old, so I’ve been in medicine since 1969, I started my medical training. And during my medical training I became much more interested in sports medicine and health promotion and disease prevention.

And I realized, also, I was really interested in science rather more than the practice of medicine.

So, after doing my internship in the hospital, I went immediately into research and I’ve been there ever since. I first did my Ph.D. in medicine and I graduated in 1981 and then immediately started teaching sports science at the University of Capetown. So, it was the first sports science degree in South Africa.

And it has kind of evolved into sports medicine and a few other things, and I have built up the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, which is a research organization and a teaching organization. And we started that in about ’95, so it’s gone about 15 or 16 years now.

And my interests, as you know, are: how does the body function as a totality. Because when I started in the sciences, we were taught that when you’re exercising, muscles get tired and then you stop. And we now know it’s much more complex. And so we developed the theory of the central governor model, which is that the brain regulates exercise and performance to make sure that you get to the finish of an event safely.

So, that’s been my one contribution. The other contribution, which brought me into conflict with PepsiCo and Gatorade, was how much you should drink during exercise.

Guy

Hot topic.

Tim

And the big one that I want to finish up on is: what we should be eating, and is it healthful for our bodies.

Guy

Yeah, that a massive topic, isn’t it?

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Stuart

So, we noticed that a few years ago, your views on diet, particular carbohydrates, changed dramatically. And I wondered if you could just elaborate on that a little bit, please.

Tim

Sure. Well, I reached that age of 61 and, in fact, it happened the night I finished writing Waterlogged, which is the story about Gatorade and the sports industry and so on and how that income impacts over-drink.

So, at the time I was incredibly sensitive about how industry manipulates science and scientists for its own needs and good. And so anyway, I went out and ran the next morning and I had a terrible run and I thought, “Well, Tim Noakes, you’ve got to do something about your running. It’s awful. You’ve got to do something about it.”

So, fortunately, I came home, I went to my emails, and there in my in box was an advert for a book called The New Atkins for the New You. And I said, of course, Atkins has been XXunintelligibleXX and so on. And it said: “Lose 6 kilograms in six weeks without anger.” And I said: That’s rubbish. You can’t lose that without hunger. You’ve got to go and train hard and it’s a sacrifice and so on.

So, anyway, then I noticed it was written by some friends of mine, Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney, who are two really good scientists. So I said, “Well, they wouldn’t say this if it was nonsense.”

So I went and read the book. I read it, and by lunchtime I decided: That’s it. No more carbohydrates.

And I suddenly just lost buckets of weight. And my running came back. I mean, it was astonishing. Now, you must understand I was running really slowly but I dropped 40 minutes in my half-marathon and 20 minutes off my 10K time. So, I went from running seven minutes a K to XXaudio problemXX.

And, you know, that’s astonishing. Because I thought that I was old, and that’s why I had to run at seven minutes a K and suddenly I could run at 5 minutes a K. And it was absolutely astonishing.

So, my every health parameter has dramatically improved. I mean, you know, my blood pressure, from the day one of medical school, was 140/90 or higher. It’s now 120/70 at its highest.

And all I’ve done is changed my diet. So I’m now back to the weight I was as a youngster. And my running is not as fast as it was, but for a 64-year-old, I think I’m doing pretty well.

So, then I studied eating and I just saw that is bogus: the idea that we must cut fat from the diet is based on complete bogus nonsense. And, again, it was industry and commerce that drove us to start eating lots of carbohydrates and sugar and so on.

And so, again, I just started to see exactly the same thing that had happened in the sports drink industry has happened with the industry that promotes carbohydrates.

And, fortunately or unfortunately, my father was diabetic. I’m profoundly carbohydrate intolerant. And if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you just must not eat carbohydrates. So, I’m the type of person who’s gonna benefit hugely from this advice.

And a final point I’d make is that we’re not that, you know? We are not told that if you’re carbohydrate intolerant, you shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates

Stuart

Yeah, that’s interesting. Funny enough, Tim, we had DNA testing done about two months ago and it came up that I was susceptible to diabetes and I was carbohydrate intolerant and if I ate carbs, I would become a diabetic, basically.

And it just sort of reinforced what I was naturally doing anyway.

Tim

That’s amazing. And you know, I have debated this with the experts in South Africa and they tell me that condition of carbohydrate intolerance or insulin resistance does not exist. That’s what they honestly told me.

Stuart

Insane.

Guy

What was the initial reaction like that you had when you first came out and said, you know, we should be eating fat, not carbohydrates?

Tim

Well, it took me about five months to knock off the carbs. But, all I did was I wrote an article saying, “I’m dropped the cereals and grains.” I didn’t even talk about fat. And there was a complete outcry from the scientists and dieticians. It was astonishing and it continues to this day.

I mean, I’m absolutely persona non grata. And they will do anything they possibly can to discredit me and discredit these ideas. Instead of saying, “Hold on. Let’s look at the evidence and let’s see what the truth is,” because what I teach in science is that there’s always two sides to arguments and you must present both. But they refused to present the opposite argument.

Stuart

Why would you think that is?

Tim

Well, the story I’m getting back is that the dieticians in South Africa have been told that they may not discuss this theory because it completely undermines; it completely undermines the entire; the teaching in their discipline.

Stuart

Right.

Tim

So, rather than address the entire discipline, they’re just gonna ignore it. But the tragedy is; my opinion is that the social media and what we are doing here today is the future. And people will learn what the truth is.

So, people are gonna to listen to this and they’ll say, “Gee, you know, I’m like Tim Noakes. I’m 60. I’m fat. I can’t run. Maybe I should stop eating carbohydrates.” And then a few weeks later, they’re running much better and they’ve lost the weight. They say, “Well, Tim Noakes was right and the dieticians were wrong.”

And then they go and tell another hundred people.

Stuart

Do you think; so, talking about fat adaption and people consuming carbohydrates, is it a kind of clean-cut case, or are there people that simply can’t fat-adapt; perhaps people that need carbohydrates?

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Tim

I don’t think there are anyone who can’t fat-adapt. I mean, I just don’t XXthink that’s a conditionXX Except if, there is one condition where you’re metabolically deranged and you haven’t got the enzymes to break down fat. But, I mean, that’s a described metabolic disorder.

But, you know, it took me 61 years to learn that carbohydrate is entirely unessential to humans, because you can live without them. You can live without eating even one gram of carbohydrate. No one ever told me that.

Guy

That shocks a lot of people when they hear that for the first time.

Tim

It does. And certainly if you’ve read my book, Lore of Running, you get the opposite impression.

So, to answer your question, what I do find is that if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, you benefit hugely from fat adaptation. I mean, one of the people I helped dropped his 56 kilometer time by three hours.

Stuart

What?

Tim

In one year. He ran 6:57 and the next year ran 3:59. Now, this particular 56K race in Capetown, it’s a difficult race. To break 4 is a really good run because you have to run three hours for the marathon and they you have to run 14 kilometers in which you had better run it four minutes a K as well. Up hills. And he dropped three hours. And he was a good runner, obviously, but that was the effect of carbohydrates on him.

Stuart

That’s insane.

Tim

It is insane. And he only lost; he lost 16 kilograms ultimately, but the pictures of him before he did the dietary change, he was; his BMI was actually only 26. He wasn’t grossly overweight at all. He would look normal for an African ultra-marathon runner finishing at the end of the races. And then now he looks like a world-class, well, not world-class, but he looks like a fantastic athlete.

tim_noakesAnd all the difference was that he had been eating carbohydrates, and he couldn’t tolerate them, and as soon as he cut them, his body responded as it should be.

As I say, which is the healthier one? Is it the one on the carbs or the one eating the fat? Which is gonna kill him tomorrow? Is he healthier?

I say, why is it that 50 percent of the people running ultra-marathons in South Africa, and that’s a lot of people, there’s probably 8,000 ultra-marathon runners, why are they all fat? And the answer is because they are doing lots of exercise but they’re eating the wrong diet.

Once they aren’t, the weight just drops off and they start to run better.

Stuart

So, your thoughts on running for weight loss while following a conventional diet?

Guy

Is not the way forward.

Stuart

Probably not the way forward. We’ve got lots of friends that run. You know, we’ve got bush runners, road runners, soft sand, treadmill. They do it for very different reasons. Many of them do it to lose weight.

But without these thoughts or knowledge or info on the diet, is it pointless as a tool for weight loss?

Tim

Yeah, Stuart, that’s a great question. The answer is, if you’re running to regulate your weight, your diet is wrong. You cannot regulate your weight with running.

To use as an example, this Jeff Simon we were chatting about, when he entered the diet, within about 12 weeks he’d lost his 12 kilograms and he was hardly running. Then he was training really hard and he got up to 100, 120 K’s a week and his weight stayed exactly the same. It didn’t change.

You said “recently,” which I think is a very important point, is that you run to burn carbohydrates, not to burn calories. And the reason it works in some people is you burn off the excess carbohydrate that your body normally can’t burn. But the instant you stop running, your weight jumps up again because you stop burning that excess carbohydrate. And if you can’t burn the excess carbohydrate, it has to be stored as fat. That’s the only that people, again, and I didn’t understand that either.

So, you have to have a carbohydrate balance.

Guy

How many grams of carbohydrate would he have been eating a day, just out of curiosity?

Tim

I would say probably 300 or 400 grams. And now he’s probably down to about 75 to 100. Something in that range. That’s; he’s not grossly intolerant like I am. I’m down to 25 to 50 grams a day. And my weight remains absolutely stable. It doesn’t matter whether I run 10 K’s a day or rest. My weight is stable.

Stuart

When you talk about how many carbs that you eat a day, where do you get; where do you source those carbs from?

Tim

Mainly from veg. Leafy veg. Those are about the only two veg; those are the only two carbohydrate sources that I now eat. I’m actually diabetic. I do treat myself with Glucophage. So, I have to; that’s why I limit to 25. I mean, glucose in my system, it just causes chaos.

And what I’ve also learned is that if you are on the verge, like myself, and you are diabetic, any carbohydrate messes you up for days. It’s astonishing how long it takes to get back to control if you eat much carbohydrate. But even an extra apple is enough to upset my carbohydrate balance the next day.

Stuart

Wow.

Tim

And so that’s how on the edge we are, once you reach the stage I’m in.

Guy

What would you eat, typically, then before and after a race or, you know, just generally as well?

Tim

Fantastic. What I do is I would not eat anything before. I’m just XXunintelligibleXX. I’d have a big meal the night before. I might have some extra protein the night before. Because I can generate glucose from nothing. I mean, if I have a big protein meal, my glucose shoots up. If I run, my glucose shoots up.

So, one of the problems in diabetes, and this is not recognized, but some of us have a liver that can produce so much carbohydrates, so much glucose, it’s utterly impossible for me to get my glucose down running. I mean, I could run for hours without any carbohydrate and I’m sure my glucose would still be up.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but my point is, I run marathons; half-marathons and my glucose is high at the finish. Even the fact that I haven’t eaten for 12 hours before the race or during the race.

So, I’ve got this massive capacity to produce glucose from the liver, and I think that that is a very common phenomenon in diabetes. And so XXit controls glucose productionXX in the liver, and so adding extra carbohydrate just floods the system and makes it even worse.

Stuart

That was certainly a shocker for you people, I think. Running a half-marathon with nothing inside of you on that particular day. Because I know that it’s certainly a big gel community at the moment and people are squeezing gels and goos into their mouth every second. And it’s XXunintelligibleXX I think, isn’t it?

Tim

If I could just answer that question. What I discovered is that when we change people to high-fat diets, they take XXaudio problemXX during exercise. And if they do, even if it’s an adventure race and they’re out for eight hours a day or whatever, or exercise for eight hours a day, they just eat what they normally would eat.

So, they eat lunch and then dinner and so on. And they’ll eat the same high-fat, high-carb. . . I’m sorry; high-fat, high-protein foods that they normally eat. And they’ll tell you they’re much less hungry, but the people who are competing with them who are carbohydrate-dependent are looking for carbohydrates every half hour, constantly looking for them. That’s the difference.

Once you adapt to fat, you just use the fat that’s in your body and you don’t need the carbohydrates at all.

Guy

So, that would be one of the advantages for any athlete listening to this then, Tim, I’m guessing that the fact you don’t need to keep refueling yourself when you’re running all the time.

Tim

Absolutely. And so your choice of foods is so much simpler. We had some experts out here recently and one of them had done the Badwater 140-mile race, which has to be the toughest race in the world, under impossible conditions, and they cross over three mountain ranges.

And he said when they started, they used to take on all sorts of foods, lots of carbohydrates, but they also used to put in protein and fat. And he said after a few years, they suddenly realized that they didn’t eat the carbohydrates. They were eating the other things.

So, on their race, their bodies actually said to them, “Give me the fat and the protein.” And so, with time, they adapted and now they don’t take any carbohydrate with them whatsoever, which I found really interesting. If you listen carefully, your body will tell you what you really need.

But I just have to reemphasize that the carbohydrates are so addictive and they do give you immediate lifts, so a lot of those people will need them for the lift, the artificial lift that they give them. Not for the metabolic effects, but for the brain effects that they XXare given toXX.

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Stuart

Just that facet. So, during the period of adaptation, how long do you think that, you know, those cravings would generally last?

Tim

Yeah, that’s a great question. I found it took me about six weeks. My running suddenly improved after six weeks, just dramatically. Within a period of a week, I suddenly started running much better.

But the cravings for sugar took about 14 months. And so I would finish those runs and I would still take a little bit of sugar in my drinks and I would still add sugar to tea and coffee. But all that was much reduced. It took a long time. So, now I find water as refreshing as any drink I’ve ever had. And, in fact, the water tastes sweet to me now. But that took two or three years.

Guy

So, if you’re an athlete and you’re fat-adapted and let’s say you went on a load of carbohydrates and knocked yourself out of ketosis. Does it take a long time to get back into being fat-adapted? Are we talking hours, days, weeks?

Tim

Well, that I can’t say I did personally, but reading what Jeff Volek had said, he said you’re out for about three days. That you’re not quite as good as you were for the previous few, so it takes about three days to get back.

And I mean, I think that’s the point in biology. It doesn’t matter what you do to the body. If you add a lot of salt to the body, it takes you about three days to get back into balance. So, I would think the same applies for most things.

It’s not acute. We don’t adapt acutely. It takes times for the system to get back, because the system is so incredibly complex that it needs time to get everything back into good shape again.

Guy

Yeah, fair enough. What, Tim, what’s your thoughts on short bouts of intense exercise and being low-carb? Because it’s obviously; you’re using a different system there, I’m assuming. Because I do CrossFit and long-distance running you’re constantly at one pace, but something like CrossFit is very dynamic, heavy weights, and some things last 10 minutes.

Tim

Yeah. You know, I’m not the expert on that yet and I haven’t really tried it myself. I haven’t started doing interval training again, properly. I do feel a bit sluggish when I try to do intervals, and I think that’s what people generally tell you.

And it’s really interesting, because it’s difficult to understand why you should be sluggish simply because you haven’t got lots of carbohydrates in you. Because, in fact, diabetics store carbohydrates poorly anyway. And so adding lots of carbohydrate doesn’t necessarily make insulin-resistant people fill up their muscles with carbohydrates.

So, if you’re intolerant like myself, and most of us who are on this diet, you shouldn’t have been able to store carbohydrate very well anyway when you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet. And it doesn’t completely make sense to me why we struggle a bit when we do high-intensity training. And maybe it’s because we need to do more of it. I don’t know, but the clinical trials that they’ve done, in XXgymnasts?XX, for example, they show no effect that XXgymnasts?XX are just as strong in a high-fat diet as they are on a high-carbohydrate diet.

However, you know, most people will tell you that they can’t exercise as well. But let me give you one example. I had one guy who was a world-class athlete and he chose to drop from 400 grams a day down to 25 and he said it was a disaster. He didn’t even want to get up in the morning, he felt so terrible.

He then went up to a hundred grams and he said on a hundred grams a day, he’s training better and he’s performing better than he ever did at 400 grams. And so that’s my point. There’s the cut-off value.

And I do not believe that any human being needs more than 200 grams a day. So, even if you’re an Iron Man triathlete, training hard every day, that 200 grams will be enough to provide you all the energy you need during the exercise bouts. Because that will cover it. You know, you can burn lots of fat.

We have done some preliminary experiments on people who have fat-adapted and normally adapted. And what we find is that the fat-adapted still burn quite a lot of carbohydrate during exercise, but what they do is they just don’t burn carbohydrate during the races. They burn fat. Whereas the carbohydrate-adapted person burns carbohydrate all day because he’s got to get back into carbohydrate balance.

So, I would guess that 60, 70 percent of that huge carbohydrate load that people are eating is actually what they’re gonna burn during the rest of the day. Which they don’t need to, because you can burn fat during the rest of the day. And that’s the, sort of, balance that you need to get to, that maybe 200 grams will give you all the carbohydrates you need to train maximally if you’re doing speed work. And then the rest of the day you spend burning fat.

But burning 400 grams or eating 400 or 500 grams a day, you’re just gonna burn most of that during the rest of the day when you don’t need it.

Stuart

Yeah. Of course.

Guy

You see so many people doing that.

Tim

Exactly. And, I mean, I wouldn’t have known that until it became so obvious when you’re doing XXunintelligibleXX and that’s what you see.

So, people who are eating lots of carbohydrates are actually fueling; they’re burning the carbohydrates when they’re not exercising. So, that’s important.

Stuart

And outside of, you know, weight loss and performance, what other benefits have you experienced on a high-fat diet?

Tim

My health has just improved dramatically. I mean, I just don’t get ill anymore. That’s what’s remarkable.

I used to get repeated bronchitis, which was quite severe and I needed mediation, steroids, to treat it. I haven’t had an attack like that for three years. And I’ve just; I had a whole bunch of other symptoms but that was the one that used to really worry me.

Because every three months or so, I’d get a rhinitis; a runny nose. And it would go straight into my lungs and I’d get this allergic response, which I always thought was the infection, and then I realized that’s actually an allergic response. And now what I know is it’s simply related to cereals and grains in my diet.

I also had the irritable bowel syndrome. That disappeared. I had dyspepsia. That disappeared. I used to get headaches once a week. I haven’t taken a medication for headache for three years. I used to take it once a week.

So I know it’s the gliadin in the wheat that is the problem causing repeated headaches.

So, I’m just two different people. I mean, I now have got so much energy and it’s just been amazing. I feel like I’m back to 25 or 30.

Guy

That’s awesome.

Tim

Whereas before, I was a tired 60-year-old who almost stopped running. I was tiring.

Guy

I’ll tell you, I haven’t eaten grains for a couple of years, and every time I’ll have a grain, on the odd occasion, I always feel terrible after it. And the best thing I ever did was get rid of the grains for myself, personally. You know? It’s amazing.

Tim

That’s probably the most important adaptation is getting rid of the cereals and grains. And which is, I said, because, you know we’re all told that they are the cornerstone for our health. And it’s just not the case at all.

Stuart

Yeah, absolutely. That magical food pyramid that has lied to us for so many years.

I’m going to steal one of your questions and throw a little bit of a curve ball your way as well, Tim. So, on endurance exercise, particularly running, and life expectancy. And I’m raising that because of cortisol issues, which, for our audience, is the stress hormone.

What are your thoughts on that?

Tim

You know, I think there is some evidence accumulating that for some individuals keeping up high-intensity running, running marathons all your life, probably isn’t such a good idea.

The problem is, they haven’t controls for nutrition. That’s an issue that we haven’t looked at. So, if you’re carbohydrate-intolerant, and you’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet and you’re exercising, I can see that that’s gonna be a problem.

My own view is that I’ve stopped running marathons many years ago, but I would have continued if I’d been on this diet. Because I stopped running because I became so slow. And I now know I became slow because of my carbohydrate intolerance and eating lots of carbohydrates. And that if I’d eaten a high-fat diet all my life, I believe I would have continued running marathons for much longer and not had those consequences.

So, I think that there is evidence for some people for doing lots of vigorous exercise is not good. But I would not like to generalize that to the general public.

We’ve known for years that the Tour de France scientists, generally the winners have a very short life expectancy. But there were drugs involved and many other things that we couldn’t be certain that it’s just the exercise.

But you’ve just got to be cautious, and the one thing you don’t want is atrial fibrillation. And clearly that’s linked to vigorous exercise and it’s hit one of the guys who brought me into running, and one’s an early winner of the Comrades marathon, that’s the 90 kilometer race in South Africa, has got atrial fibrillation. And, you know, that was so clearly related to all his running.

So, one just has to be cautious. And I think if you’ve got signs that things are not good, if you start to pick up abnormal heart rhythms, I think it’s time to look very cautiously and consider, A, are you doing too much, and, B, is it your diet? Is that a factor?

Stuart

Yeah. Absolutely. And I guess it’s another scenario where one size certainly doesn’t fit all. We’re all so very, very different.

Tim

And I’m getting messages back from other guys now, in their 60s, older than me, in their 70s, changing to this diet and suddenly finding their performance going up again, and being able to run much better.

So, again, the question is, is it the exercise or is it the nutrition? And Jeff Volek is doing some wonderful stuff looking at inflammation markers in people who run marathons and ultra-marathons, and if they’re eating a high-carbohydrate diet.

So, the argument is that the combination of lots of marathon-running and high carbohydrates produce inflammatory response. And that, repeated every few months for years, naturally you’re likely to cause problems.

So, I think we have to look at our running and make sure you’re just not getting inflamed all the time and try to do things that will stop the inflammation.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Stuart

That’s good advice.

Guy

It sounds like the diet, again, is very suspicious there.

Tim

It think it’s controllable, and look at dietary very carefully.

Guy

OK. Another question while we’re on running, then. And we wanted to raise this because we got the famous City2Surf coming up. And, are you aware of that race, Tim?

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Tim

Yes, I do. And you know why I know? Because John Sutton, famous Australian physiologist, that’s sports medicine doctor, was one of the first doctors to be involved in that race and he described all the cases of heatstroke that occurred.

And I remember him writing one article saying something like, you know, heatstroke in a 10K or 12K fun run shouldn’t be happening.

And I think he got it all wrong, because he was all, “Oh, you’ve got to drink lots of fluids.” And so on. And I don’t agree with that. I think heatstroke is a multifactorial disease and you’ve got to have individual susceptibility for it to start.

And then you’ve got to have a couple of other things wrong with you on the day. But you’d probably have an infection; a latent infection. And maybe other things that happen on the day. Maybe taking medications or drugs which are factors.

And when you put them all together, then you get the scenario. But the reality is that you’ve probably got 50,000 runners in the race and yet you only have one or two guys get into real trouble. But why didn’t all 50,000, if it was the environment? It’s not the environment. It’s something else that’s involved.

Guy

So, if somebody was listening to this a week before they were doing the City2Surf run and they’ve eaten a lot of carbs and drinking a lot of Gatorade ready to get ready for the race and they hear this a week before, and they go, “Oh, my God. Should I change everything?” What should they do?

Tim

They absolutely shouldn’t change now. But I think what you need to know is that every time you put carbohydrates; refined carbohydrates like those sports drinks into your mouth, you get a huge insulin response and we think that that repeated insulin response, the high glucose, is damaging to the health in the long-term.

Some people are OK because they’re hugely carbohydrate-tolerant. But if you’re intolerant, every time you take a sports drink, you’re actually damaging your health.

So you have to appreciate that. So, we have this paradox in South Africa that our big races are funded by the soft drink industry and if we had a race in Capetown which had 10,000 runners running 56 kilometers and they managed to consume three tons of sugar during the race. I’m not saying that consumed it, but there were three tons of sugar available on the race for those runners.

Now that’s, when you start to think about that, you realize: Here you are running, trying to get healthy, but you’re killing yourself by taking all of that sugar during the race.

Stuart

Would you add anything to your drink when you’re running; would you anything? Salt or anything like that?

Tim

No. You certainly don’t need salt, because your body will provide all the salt you need. So, you definitely need water. And if you’re fat-adapted, you just need fat and protein.

And I would try milk, you know. Or coconut oil. I’ve used both in half-marathons and it’s the most wonderful drink. You have to come to Northern Europe to be fully adapted to milk. Otherwise, you’ve probably got a milk intolerance.

So, many XXSouth Africans?XX come from Europe, as I do, and so we’re tolerant for milk.

But the point being that once you’re fat-adapted, you just really don’t need much carbohydrate, if any, during exercise.

Stuart

I have a question now from my good friend Gavin, who is a bush runner. And he’s interested from a beginner’s perspective. He wants to know what would be the most effective training method to get him up to a level of fitness in the fastest time period without injury, where they’re able to keep up with other club runners and not feel left behind. If you have any tips.

Tim

Yeah. Well, I can only tell you what I did. I was a rower when I started running and what we used to do, we used to race two miles. That was epic. So, if we raced two miles. That was where most people come from, I think. If you’re fit for another sport, you can probably race a mile or two and go flat-out and you’re OK. But once you have to run 5Ks or 10Ks, it’s a real problem.

And I was taken by some real experts and they XXaudio problemsXX controversy. Because you have to learn the pacing strategies. That’s the key. And that’s it is. And after three months, I had the pacing strategies worked out. And then we would start running half an hour, hour, hour and a half, two hours.

So, I think that if you take people who are physically active and healthy and then go through about three months of regular running before you can start properly running 10, 15, 20 kilometers.

So, my focus has always been; so, that’s the one scenario. If you’ve got well-trained, if you’ve got physically fit people, they still need to run half an hour a day, five days a week, and it’s gonna take them three months to get going.

If you’ve got people who are completely sedentary and not physically strong, I started walking and in Lore of Running I describe a walking program where we would get them to walk for the first three months, because otherwise they’re going to get injuries, bone injuries, particularly stress fractures.

So, I think that’s the key. If you have been physically active before, like in Australian Rules or rugby or whatever. Football. That’s fine. But it still takes you time to learn how to pace yourself.

The thing that I learned was, just go slowly.

Stuart

You’ve got it. It’s certainly not an instant thing.

Tim

And add your speed work in. Go for distance first. That’s the key.

And even today, I still make the error of trying to run short distances too fast and not doing the long-distance work. It’s the long-distance work that really makes you a runner.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Stuart

Just another thought that popped into my mind as well. When training for longer events, would it just be running that you do? Just get out there and run on the road? Or would you hit the gym and start working other muscles?

Tim

Yes, I think so. I think you need; it depends. The longer your races, the more your whole body needs to be in good shape. So, I’m impressed by CrossFit. And this not an advert, but I was watching last night the CrossFit World Championships and I was utterly astonished at the women; what they can do. Ten or 15 years ago, we would have said that’s utterly impossible for a man to do, let along a woman.

So, I think, yes, there is good evidence that if you’ve got stronger legs from biometric training and so on, you will run better. So, there is a strength component to running. XXaudio problemXX and they are incredibly XXaudio problemXX. That’s a point that we don’t make.

For a highly-trained athlete to run fast, the 10K; a fast 10K, his foot is never on the ground. That’s what defines a great runner. They’re always in the air; their haven’t broken ground. And the answer is that his foot is on the ground for such a short time, then it explodes and throws; catapults his body forward two or three meters.

Now, OK, he’s only 56 kilograms, but still, the time being that his foot is on the ground is so short that he has an enormous amount of power. So, power is a key component, and it’s something that we forget.

And I certainly know of people who have trained for ultra-marathons by doing lots of weight training in the gym on their legs, and they’ve done relatively little running. So, if you can get your mind ’round it, you don’t have to do as much running.

But I actually agree. In generally, I think that weight training like CrossFit, that’s the best way to try and XXaudio problemXX. OK, maybe there’s more emphasis on weight training in CrossFit than in running, but I think that for many people, all weight training is gonna be beneficial.

Guy

Yeah. That’s really a good way of looking at it. I never thought of it like that.

And, Tim, there’s a question I’ve got, I’ve been itching to ask you for ages, and I’m quite aware of time so I’m going to jump to it to make sure we fit it in. And that simply is regarding the ocean swimming. Because me and Stu are big fans. We generally get in there a couple of times a week. And at the moment, the water temp, what was it today? 16.1?

Stuart

Just over 16, yeah.

Guy

Really? Well, this is cold. You’ve talked about training. Is it Lewis?

Tim

Lewis Pugh.

Guy

Yeah. And he swam one mile in, I think, our reference says 1.8 degrees.
Tim Noakes: That’s right. It was actually about 2 to 3. He did the mile swim. He usually swam a kilometer, but he did swim a kilometer in minus 1.8 degrees centigrade.

Guy

Now, just to make it clear, there’s no wetsuit. This is just him in his Speedos, right?

Tim

That’s right.

Guy

How did he do that?

Tim

Well, what he discovered was that, provided he was out of the water within 25 minutes he was fine. So, he could cope. And what he did was, as all humans do, is they cool their legs and their arms, they become incredibly cold, so after the long swim at Deception Island, where he swam a mile at 3 degrees centigrade, his muscle temperature was 32 degrees compared to a normal of 37, 38.

And it was 32 an hour and a half later, after he had been in a hot shower for an hour and a half. His muscles were still as cold as they were when he came out.

His core body temperature had risen to 37, so he was normal, his brain was normal again, but his legs were still messed up.

So, what he did was he stored all the cold in his legs. But he reached the absolute limit of his tolerance after 30 minutes. But when he swam it in 20 minutes at minus 1.8, he didn’t drop his core temperature below 36, so he was relatively fine.

So, again, if you just store the cold in your body and you’re fine for 20 minutes, but by 30 minutes you’re absolutely at the limit, and I think that anyone swimming at a temperature below 5 degrees centigrade, they’ve got half an hour before they freeze and drown.

And I think that’s what that work added, which is we now know the limits. And he could get to the mark, because he’s a fast swimmer, and he didn’t slow down much. He slowed down substantially, but not really too seriously.

The danger was is that if your body cools down and your brain is still warm enough. . . Sorry; if your brain cools down too quickly, you lose consciousness and you drown. And I know that had he swam for another five minutes in there at the temperature, he would have gone unconscious.

So, he was close. It was 35 minutes and he was gone.

Guy

Wow. That’s amazing. That’s just freaks me out. Because we get in the water, I’m contemplating how cold it is now, you know. . .

Tim

Yeah, but you’re both so lean, and you can only swim at about 26, 27. That’s the temperature at which you’ll be able to swim any length of time. But once it drops below 27, and of course the colder it is the worse it is.

I had the privilege recently of meeting a Capetown guy who, in Australian water, was lost at sea for 28 hours. You probably remember the story.

Stuart

Yes, I do.

Tim

The Coast Guard got him or whatever. And he came in here and he spoke to me and said, “I should be dead.” And he gave me the whole story about the 28 hours. I asked what was the water temperature and he said it was 27. I said, “That’s what saved you.” If it had been 25, he wouldn’t have made it.

It’s absolutely critical, the water temperature. And he wasn’t as lean as you guys, so he also had just a little bit of extra fat. But at your weights, you’re in real trouble when the temperature goes below 20 degrees.

Stuart

Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I’ve just ordered a nice, new wetsuit. I’ll be fine over the winter.

Tim

That’s definitely what you need.

Stuart

That’s awesome.

Guy

So, look, I’m just very aware of the time and one last question, Tim, before we wrap ’er up. And I know it’s a topic you’ve covered well. But, how much does the mind determine the outcome of an event?

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Tim

Yeah. That’s a great question. I was watching the British Open the other day and Tony Jacklin, who won the Open and one of the major American opens, he said it’s 90 percent psychological and 10 percent mental.

And I think it’s true, you know, when you get to that level, the skill is exactly the same for the top hundred players, and it’s only the ones who control their minds one the day that win.

In running, it’s both a hundred percent physical and it’s a hundred percent mental. In other words, that you have to have the physical capacity. I couldn’t run a four-minute mile ever, because I don’t have the physical capacity. But within my range of performances, then it becomes very mental; it becomes very important. And it becomes the hundred percent.

So, I think at Olympic level, we recognize biologically that it’s pretty much the same and one guy wins the race by six centimetres. That’s purely mental, and I honestly, honestly believe that the person who comes second actively chooses to come second.

It’s obviously at a subconscious level. But then you have to make the choice, because it’s simple. The person who finishes 6 centimetres behind the winner didn’t die. So, he could have run faster. So, why didn’t he run faster? And it’s not biological.

Because the controls that stop you running faster are all, they’re not conscious, they’re subsconscious control. But they’re open to conscious control, in my view. Or conscious modification.

I just; that’s my belief. So the mental is absolutely important. But at a simple level, if I go into a marathon and I’m not sure that I’ll finish, what happens, as you all know, that you’re two-thirds of the race through, and XXaudio problemXX and you say, “Oh, I’ve got 12 kilometers to go,” and your brain says, “Well, you’re not gonna make it.”

And if it says that to you, you’ve got to be able to say, “Absolute nonsense. This is going to be easy.”

And I think that those are the decisions you make before the start of the race. If you have any doubt in your mind, it’s not going to do it.

Stuart

No, that’s right.

I was only saying to Guy the other day, and, you know, a little similar, when we train CrossFit, if we have, for instance, have to do 20 pull-ups on the bar, in my mind I’ll be going for 30.

Tim

Yeah, exactly.

Stuart

And I’ll always get the 20.

Guy

I’ll always go for 10 and usually get my 10 and then stop and then do another 10.

Tim

The mind is terribly, terribly important.

And, certainly, I work quite a lot with teams; young teams of athletes. And there’s no question that the belief systems of teams, if you can improve their belief system, that team will outperform itself and do much better than it should.

Conversely, you can take a good team without self-belief and they don’t do well.

So, I have absolute belief now that what you think is what will happen. What you really believe will be the outcome. And that’s the difference between the winners and the guys that come second.

Stuart

Yeah. One hundred percent.

Guy

Well, Tim, if you could offer one single piece of advice for optimum health or wellness, for anyone listening to this, what would it be?

Tim

Well, I think you know what it’s gonna be. It’s look to your diet.

Stuart

Excellent.

Tim

I did it. I thought I was doing what doing what I meant to do, but I ate the wrong diet. And only when I got my diet right did I get the energy back again to be able to run again and train properly and look forward to my running. And now my health is infinitesimally better and I just love each day.

And when my diet was wrong, it was the opposite. I was hanging in. It’s terribly sad. So, find the best diet for you and we all know what that diet is.

Guy

Yeah, absolutely.

Tim, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate you coming on and joining us for 45 minutes. It’s been awesome. I’ve learned a lot.

Tim

Thanks, Guy, and thanks, Stuart. It’s been a great privilege to be with both of you guys.

Stuart

Thank you so much. Take care.

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Is Running Effective for Fat Burning?

GuyHave you ever wondered if running is actually effective for weight loss? Are the people you see pounding the streets looking to shed excess body fat going about it the wrong way?

This is a 2 minute video from our interview with South African running legend Professor Tim Noakes. A Health professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Full Interview – Professor Tim Noakes: The Exercise & Carbohydrate Myth

downloaditunesIn this weeks episode:-

  • Why Tim famously changed his views on carb’ loading for running [005:01]
  • Is running effective for weight loss? [013:09]
  • What Tim eats before & after exercise [016:28]
  • His thoughts on CrossFit & if low carb’ applies? [021:45]
  • Tim’s thoughts on endurance exercise/running reducing life expectancy [027:38]
  • Swimming one mile at the north Pole in 1.8 degrees water temp’ [039:45]
  • and much more…

You can follow Professor Tim Noakes: 

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Did you enjoy the interview with Professor Tim Noakes? Would love to hear you thoughts in the comments section below… Guy