Conversations with Prof Tim Noakes

Prof Tim Noakes: My talk was not primarily about what people should eat. It is about the absence of science behind the current dietary guidelines. I then state what I think nutrition should be about especially for those with insulin resistance. I wish you would represent what I said more honestly.

Nutritional Solutions Response: There where 7 dietitians present at your talk, what was said was very clearly recorded to prevent misinterpretations.

Prof Tim Noakes: Suggest you listen to all 13 hours of what I have said on the internet

Nutritional Solutions Response: The general public is not going to sit and go through 13 hours of comments.  Each time you speak on radio or TV you convey various nutrition messages – we are specifically giving feedback on what you said at the “Extraordinary people” talk last week.

Prof Tim Noakes: Why not focus on the absence of evidence for the 1977 Dietary Guidelines

Nutritional Solutions Response: Why focus on something that was used 37 years ago? Dietary guidelines have changes, nutrition is an evolving science.  Getting stuck on evidence for outdated guidelines will get us nowhere – for us to move forward in this debate we suggest that the focus is on current research

Prof Tim Noakes: My point is that the internet has changed everything. The general public is now better informed on nutritional issues than ever before in our collective history. They are searching for what works. If they are given by me or anyone else information that does not work, they will no longer feel compelled to listen to that advice. They will simply go onto the internet to find what others have found to work for them. And they will follow that advice.

Nutritional Solutions Response: Better informed, or misinformed?  Yes, there is plenty of nutrition advice available, but what is the source?  The majority of people are not surfing websites with scientific journals.  The problem is that there is information out there that is also harmful and misleading, with quick fixes and false promises, leaving people conflicted, unsure and more confused than ever.

Prof Tim Noakes: The success of Real Meal Revolution is because the book provides a simple explanation of what people who are struggling with their weight or health, because they are insulin-resistant, should be eating. They try this “unhealthy” diet and suddenly find renewed vigour and health as did I. Then they wonder why they had been mislead to believe that what they had been eating and which caused their ill-health continues to be promoted as healthy for all by a majority of dieticians globally.

Nutritional Solutions Response: A simple explanation to a complex problem is a concern in any scientific field.  In your opinion what do you think dietitians have been prescribing to insulin resistant patients? It seems to me that you think we put our patients on a diet of sugar, refined carbs and no fat – which is certainly not the case.  We have successfully treated many insulin resistance patients with a diet that is high in monounsatured fat (35-40%) 20 % protein and 40-45% carbs – but only from portion controlled amounts of fruit, vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates).  

The question you would need to answer is how would your recommendation of 80% fat (mostly saturated) 10% carb and 10% protein (as described at the “Extraordinary people” talk) compare to a dietitians recommendation of 40% Fat (mainly monounsaturated fat, 20% protein and 40% carbs (whole grains, fruits and vegetables)?  That would be a fair questions instead of comparing your recommendations to the food pyramid and pretending dietitians are still using these recommendations.

Prof Tim Noakes: Because if you fail to answer it, your profession will pass into history as an interesting anomaly. And it will happen very quickly. In this modern world with modern communication, bad ideas can become obsolete very quickly (think Nokia and Blackberry). My profession, especially the medical care of chronic illness, faces exactly the same problem.  I always say that your profession is the most important of all the caring profession.

Nutritional Solutions Response: We appreciate that, Dietitians are the fore runners of nutritional advice and information.  We fail to understand what the “bad ideas” you mention are?  To clarify (please correct us if we are wrong); the advice Dietitians give is not working? Is it not presumptuous of you to lump the cause of obesity and chronic diseases of lifestyle on Dietitians laps?  Perhaps consider the effects of modern day living and the individuals food choices, higher disposable incomes and increased reliance on processed and convenience food options and the decrease in physical activity levels worldwide.  As you can see in the Figure below (5-1 How do typical American diets compare to recommended intake levels or limits?), people aren’t eating according to guidelines, instead they are consuming a diet high in saturated fats, refined grains and sodium.  To blame Dietitians for the worlds current state is taking the easy way out.

Prof Tim Noakes: You need to embrace and act on these ideas and not see them as threatening. 

Nutritional Solutions Response: We are not threatened and that is why we are writing a series of blog posts to engage and discuss various topics relating to the LCHF.  In our opinion it is great that people are really taking ownership of their health and talking nutrition.  We at Nutritional Solutions are however concerned that there are risks involved with your recommendations and question the validity of some of your statements – as will be covered in the blog: Prof Tim Noakes Talk: Fact and fiction.

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