Tim Noakes is one of the highest ranked sports scientists in the world. He has published over 750 scientific books and articles and has been cited in scientific literature more than 21,000 times. His H-index is 77. The National Research Foundation of South Africa has rated him an A1 scientist for a second five-year term, which is the highest possible rating. Tim has won many awards and has served on numerous editorial boards.
That aside, he is a great guy and has had a significant impact on my wellbeing. I met him on a train, in around 2013, and he gave me advice that began my journey into changing my diet.
Low carbs, high fat
A low-carb diet is probably the most effective way to manage weight and live longer.
By reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing saturated fat (and protein consumption), the body shifts into a state of ketosis. In this metabolic state, the body relies on fat stores for energy instead of glucose derived from carbohydrates, resulting in a more efficient fat-burning process, aiding in weight loss and reducing the risk of obesity (which rocketed in the ’80s).
The ’80s low-fat craze turned saturated fat into enemy number one.
We were told that low-fat foods couldn’t cause fat gain, which led to excessive consumption of, well, rubbish food.
The reality is that a low-carb diet improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. By limiting carbohydrate intake, blood sugar levels stabilise, and the body requires less insulin to process glucose, which is particularly beneficial for those with type-2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
Contrary to the conventional belief that saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, low-carb diets result in increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). Additionally, low-carb diets reduce levels of triglycerides (a type of fat associated with increased cardiovascular risk).
- Ketones are an efficient alternative energy source for the body, especially when glucose is depleted.
- Consuming medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut oil can increase ketone production, beneficial for brain energy.
- This diet was originally developed to treat epileptic seizures.
- Ketones can improve cognitive function, including those with Alzheimer’s.
- The ketogenic diet helps in cellular cleanup, known as autophagy, which is crucial for reducing inflammation and improving health and lifespan.
- Ketones can increase NAD+, an activated form of vitamin B3, essential for cellular energy.
- Ketones might improve muscle function and help in suppressing appetite.
A general rule of thumb is to:
- consume animal proteins such as meat, fish, and eggs, as well as above-ground vegetables and natural fats like butter, and
- avoid sugary and starchy foods, including bread, pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes.
Eat when you experience hunger and stop eating when you feel satiated.
It’s that easy.
No counting of calories and weighing food.
Here is my conversation with Tim Noakes.