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Remembering Kevin Moore

The LLVLC Show (Episode 588): South African Running Legend Tim Noakes Embraces High-Fat, Low-Carb Living

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In Episode 588 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore,” we are very honored to have a South African professor of exercise and sports science researcher and marathon runner Professor Timothy Noakes joining us to share about an interesting paradigm shift that he has been a part of in his home country. Imagine if you will growing up with a love for running and later writing what is widely considered as the Bible for runners in your country. You’ve run in marathons and ultramarathons and even delved deeply into the science behind what you believed about endurance exercise. But then you come across the science supporting high-fat, low-carb diets and all of a sudden everything you thought you knew about nutrition was DEAD WRONG! Well, for Professor Noakes, he doesn’t have to imagine this scenario because this is precisely what happened to him after he read a copy of The New Atkins For A New You!

And although he released his 1991 classic Lore Of Running book with multiple editions ever since, Professor Noakes is now recommending people who buy his book to rip out the section he wrote about diet because he no longer believes it is true. WOW! That’s pretty big stuff and the nation of South Africa is taking notice of what this running legend is saying. A full-fledged low-carb, high-fat revolution is underway like what is happening in Sweden right now and the momentum this way of eating is receiving is raising the eyebrows of the nutritional nannies there. Listen in as we talk about this extraordinary turn of events that has taken place in South Africa.

Listen to Professor Tim Noakes share his high-fat, low-carb epiphany:

  • He started getting into endurance sports through rowing and running
  • During his six years of medical training, he ran in marathons
  • He was intently interested in sports medicine and doing research
  • When he did his internship in a hospital, he knew he wanted to do research
  • We’re spending too much money treating injuries than correcting the source
  • He wanted to help athletes learn to optimally fuel and train their bodies
  • His first research study was carbohydrate metabolism during exercise
  • He was tied into the “need for carbohydrate dogma” for exercise performance
  • It was all about storing up the most muscle glycogen during races
  • In December 2010, he learned about The New Atkins For A New You
  • He respected the work of the authors Dr. Eric Westman and Dr. Jeff Volek
  • He had “never been exposed” to much of the information in that book
  • He lost “buckets of weight” on Atkins and had to write about it publicly
  • His refutation of his old diet advice embracing low-carb, high-fat
  • The large radio show he got on to clarify his position
  • Within a few weeks, all of South Africa was talking about low-carb
  • The main topic of conversation was “Noakes’ diet” referring to low-carb
  • His publisher gave him an opportunity to write a chapter on nutrition
  • Everyone was looking for something to explain why fat is healthy
  • The book “has gone mad” and he “can’t keep up” with requests for talks
  • People were concerned they haven’t heard about any of this before
  • The Atkins diet was not as popular there as in other parts of the world
  • Now a scientist has given them a reason to try it for themselves
  • His sister who has been on the Atkins diet since the 1960’s
  • There seems to be a worldwide shift in traditional thinking on fat and carbs
  • The various medical colleagues who are eating low-carb, high-fat now
  • One of their senior politicians is a diabetic and eats low-carb successfully
  • He has been pushing low-carb as the diet South Africans should be eating
  • Obesity is a disease of poverty because they’re eating the worst diets
  • Poor people abound throughout the nation of South Africa
  • There need to be inexpensive sources of protein and fat for the poor
  • The cheapest food is kidneys because they’re being discarded unconsumed
  • Whether the RDs and medical experts are trying to have him silenced
  • He was inspired by the success of the Swedes who resisted bullying
  • The vegans and the vegetarians have obviously come after him
  • The diabetologists have tried to warn that his diet is “very dangerous”
  • Those people who encourage him to keep going because of their success
  • He’s bought “thousands of copies” of Gary Taubes‘ books
  • The New Atkins and Why We Get Fat are selling well there now
  • People sincerely want to hear this information and make it work for them
  • Whether he knew about the keto-adaptation study in 1981 by Dr. Steve Phinney
  • The story of famous fat-adapted Paleo low-carb triathlete/Ironman champions
  • She ate oils, nuts and beef jerky as her primary fuel source for races
  • It’s likely many of the Olympic athletes eat a high-fat, low-carb diet
  • He will be repeating tests inspired by the new book by Volek/Phinney
  • The study will try to show you don’t need carbohydrates to generate glucose
  • They’ll be paying attention to people eating less than 50g and 20g carbs
  • It’s also intriguing about why people do lots of exercise and still fat
  • He tells people to rip out the chapter in the current version of his book
  • His publisher has authorized him to rewrite Lore Of Running
  • The only thing that lives in science is the truth
  • He doesn’t want to be remembered as the person who promoted high-carb diets
  • The similarities between his story and Mark Sisson‘s story
  • He is “the Mark Sisson of South Africa” helping educate people on health
  • The story of how someone was inspired to eating high-fat, low-carb and run
  • This diet corrected a “nutritional deficiency” or removed “toxins”
  • A famous marathoner has gained weight over the years since his running days
  • He started a high-fat, low-carb diet and “his running came back” at 56
  • His performance is above average for his age group
  • A kayak expert hadn’t participated in seven years
  • He goes on high-fat, zero-carb at 49 and demolishes his younger competitors
  • As you get older, you can’t afford to get away with eating carbohydrates

    There are four ways you can listen to Episode 588:

    1. Listen at the iTunes page for the podcast:

    2. Listen and comment about the show at the official web site for the podcast:

    3. Download the MP3 file of Episode 588 [38:03m]:

    4. Listen on the Stitcher app–NO DOWNLOADING!

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    What did you think about what you heard from Tim Noakes regarding his shift to promoting a high-fat, low-carb nutritional approach even for athletes? Tell us about it in the show notes section of Episode 588. Learn more about Professor Noakes at his Wikipedia page and keep an eye out for the revised version of his classic running book Lore Of Running. Coming up the next two weeks, we will not have any new podcasts to share with you as Christine and I will be doing some traveling to Tennessee and Indiana. I’m looking forward to taking it easy and being ready to get back at it again on Monday, July 16, 2012 with the fantastic scientist-turned-stay-at-home-mom Sarah Ballantyne from “The Paleo Mom” blog. You won’t want to miss that interview I assure you!

    JOIN US ON THE “ASK THE LOW-CARB EXPERTS” PODCAST THIS WEEK: Coming up in Episode 19 of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 7PM ET we’ll cover the topic “How To Beat Carbohydrate Addiction” featuring nutritional psychotherapist and addiction specialist Julia Ross, author of a newly-revised book The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings–Naturally that addresses many of the issues we’ll be discussing in this podcast. If you have any questions about the various aspects and challenges of carbohydrate addiction for Julia Ross to address, then feel free to send it to me by 3PM ET this Thursday afternoon at AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com. Or you can ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don’t be bashful.

    If you have something to share about what you heard on “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show,” then drop us an e-mail at our dedicated podcast e-mail address–LLVLCShow@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you about what you think about the show, interview guest suggestions, show topics, and anything else you want to share! I LOVE hearing from my listeners, so share what’s on your mind. And we’d love it if you left us a review for the podcast on iTunes–just CLICK HERE and leave us a few sentences about what impact the podcast has made on your life. And if you love this podcast and want to share these interviews with friends and family members who may not be connected to the Internet, then we invite you to check out our new “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast store where you can get up to 10 episodes in mp3 format or a single episode (up to 75 minutes long) on an audio CD format. ENJOY!

    • Before I finished reading the show notes… I was thinkng “this guy looks & sounds kinda like Mark Sisson” … then later you wrote he’s the Mark Sisson of South Africa.  ha!

      • LLVLCBlog

        If the shoe fits… 😉

      • Martin

        Well, one difference is that Mark does not think any more that endurance sports are of any value. He and people posting at his site often confuse running on a threadmill or training for a street marathon with moving freely out there in the nature at a slightly higher speed/intensity than walking, e.g. trail (ultra) running, mountain biking, or even hiking.

        • LLVLCBlog

          I was referring to their positions on nutrition.

    • Peggy Holloway5

      This is so inspiring! My partner Ken (age 70) and I (age 59) just completed our second multi-day bike tour yesterday. Again, it was very difficult to find suitable food, but we persevered and refused to eat anything that would throw us out of ketosis. We were “pains in the neck,” and went so far as to pester our hosts to find us a ride back to downtown to the bar and grill where we could get steaks when the church dinner proved to be nothing but high-sugar and high-carb options. We chose not to eat breakfast rather than eat the really terrible options provided by the hosts (lots of breakfast burritos, pancakes, and doughnuts). The heat was terrible this past week (90 to 100 degrees everyday), and we experienced wind and lots of significant hills, but we  finished each day at the front of the group with tons of energy. Many riders had to be “SAGged in” each day, but we had no trouble finishing each route.
      We shared our experience whenever possible and many on the tour knew we were doing a low-carb, high-fat diet.  Even the ride director who has been hearing from me about low-carb for 10 years, acknowledged that he was thinking he might need to change his diet. We all had heard recently that one of the cycling “legends” in Omaha who lives on his bike (he biked to the Dr’s office when he was not feeling well two weeks ago) just had stents put in two coronary arteries. We noticed so many of our fellow cyclists are carrying around a lot of belly fat, even when they are otherwise “skinny.” The ride director’s wife is seriously obese and diabetic and her attempts at biking the past few years have not been successful. I was talking to her at a “snack table” and as we were talking, she cut herself a piece of cherry quickbread that looked like a major sugar bomb. I just can’t fathom why a diabetic would think that is OK and have talked to her about the diabetes in my family and how I am staving it off with my low-carb diet. Sigh.
      We did recommend the Phinney/Volek books to a number of people and hope that our example will take root with a some in our community and continue to spread.
      Bragging rights —- I logged my miles for the recent trip on the National Biking Challenge and subsequently made #1 on my workplace leaderboard for biking points in June and #2 in Omaha and #129 in the nation (out of over 27,000 members!). Not bad for a geezer who “should be” fat and diabetic at my age had I followed conventional wisdom.

    • great interview jimmy, i shared this one on fb and with one of my buddies who is a runner.. joe 

    • Kelly Mahoney

      Timothy Noakes sounds less like a doctor in this interview and more like a patient as he describes how he came to a low carb diet through his personal experiences and not as a scientific researcher. His own previous research on fat adaption was inconclusive as he said “the numbers were too small”. Sharing stories is fine, but let’s not confuse that with scientific research. Dr. Noakes seems very convinced of low carb diet benefits even though he is “just now drawing up protocalls to start doing these studies”. Further, unbiased researchers don’t make comments like “What I’m trying to show is that you don’t need carbohydrates”.

      • LLVLCBlog

        So this somehow makes what he’s saying untrue?

        • Kelly Mahoney

          I’m sure it’s true that Dr. Noakes lost some weight (what are buckets of weight?) by cutting out refined carbs. I think it’s untrue to suggest that Mark Allen competed low carb. Allen states in the link below that “If you are an athlete, a low carb diet will not provide you with enough stored fuel calories in the form of glycogen to workout efficiently”. http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/MarkAllen/carb_question.htm

          I’m surprised that Dr. Noakes is willing to rewrite the “Lore of Running” without having data to back it up first. I also wonder if he is going to retract all the articles in science journals that he and his coworkers have written from the University of Cape Town about how high fat adaptation hinders high intensity performance and reduces insulin sensitivity. It’s kind of embarrassing for him to have published studies and made conclusions, and then say that he was wrong without having the data to back up that he was wrong. Everything that I heard in the interview was based on personal stories or other people’s books, not from revisiting his previous studies and finding data to reverse his conclusions. In my opinion, Dr. Noakes has hurt his reputation as a scientist.

          • LLVLCBlog

            There’s more than ample evidence supporting low-carb. Only someone willing to ignore the science would claim there is none.