Tim Noakes is a South African scientist and an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town. He’s run over 70 marathons and ultramarathons and written books about exercise and diet. He is (in)famous for his large body of work in sports science and a low-carb, high-fat diet, as explained in his books The Real Meal Revolution and Lore of Nutrition: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs.

The science is clear that sugar is the primary cause of the obesity and diabetes epidemics. It’s also a likely dietary cause of several other chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Gary Taubes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where your body has trouble handling sugar, known as glucose. Normally, a hormone called insulin helps the sugar from your food get into your cells to give them energy.

But in diabetes, something goes wrong with insulin.

Avoid food high in carbohydrates

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Sugar is not just an empty calorie; it’s a poison. It’s not about the calories; it has nothing to do with calories. It’s a poison by itself.

Robert Lustig

In Type 1, your body doesn’t make enough insulin, so you need to take insulin injections to help. The causes are somewhat complex.

Type 2 diabetes, however, is reversable and happens when your body doesn’t use insulin properly or doesn’t make enough of it. This happens because of a poor lifestyle, like eating too much sugar or maintaining a high-carbohydrate diet.

Ketogenic diet

I am an advocate – and follower – of a low-carb (ketogenic) diet.

When you eat very few carbohydrates, your body starts to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. This leads to a metabolic state known as ketosis. During ketosis, your liver converts fat into small energy units called ketones, which are used by your brain and other organs.

Following a ketogenic diet typically results in a significant drop in insulin levels.

This decrease in insulin enables your body to tap into its fat reserves for energy. Many studies have demonstrated substantial weight loss with the keto diet without the need for calorie counting.

Refined carbohydrates and sugars are leading to a surge in obesity and type 2 diabetes worldwide. These are not just harmless empty calories; they have profound effects on metabolic health.

Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology
Typically ketogenic food

Additionally, a low-carb diet lowers blood sugar levels.

As an aside, Professor Thomas Seyfried argues that cancer is effectively treated with a ketogenic diet, and has a lot of supporting scientific research.

While Type 1 is not really reversable, the good news is that Type 2 is.

It’s not about the calories in sugar. It’s about the sugar. Sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar, not because it’s calories.

Gary Taubes

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