Q&A WITH PROF TIM NOAKES
AND 11 OTHER QUESTIONS WE ASK PROFESSOR TIM NOAKES
Answers to 12 common banting questions
Q: What’s the link between banting and gall bladder disease?
A: Gall bladder disease is caused by a high carbohydrate diet, not a high fat diet. On a high carb diet, the gall bladder doesn’t empty properly because proper emptying is stimulated by fat, which causes the gall bladder to contract and squirt out the bile. When the gall bladder doesn’t empty properly, crystals can form. When you start banting, the gall bladder starts contracting, and if you have small stones in the gall bladder they will probably be expelled into the bile duct – which is great if they don’t obstruct. In cases of bad obstructions, it’s more about exposing a problem that was lying there unexposed. Banting didn’t cause the gall stones, it’s actually fixing the problem by activating your gall bladder again.
Even if you’ve had your gall bladder removed, banting is safe. As you increase your fat intake, the liver will begin to produce more bile, which is no longer housed in a sac (the gall bladder). There is a risk of nausea so you should increase your fat intake slowly to allow for your fat absorption to adapt.
Q: What about thyroid problems?
A: I think that’s related to problems with the gut flora and leaky gut syndrome (see page 28) as it’s another autoimmune disease. Women who can’t lose weight on this diet need to check their thyroid status, and they may need to take thyroid replacement medication – but that’s for an endocrinologist to decide. If you have autoimmune thyroiditis because of a leaky gut, eating this way may help because grains adversely affect the thyroid.
Q: EATING LARGE AMOUNTS OF REFINED CARBS IS PART OF OUR CULTURE! WE LOVE POTATOES, RICE, PAP AND PUDDINGS, AND THEY’RE ALSO CHEAP. HOW DO WE ADDRESS THIS?
A: Every country has to choose whether to go the grain route or the meat route. In South Africa, we’re lucky to have enough land to farm animals. So we should choose that option, and that’s what I recently addressed Parliament about. Cheap food is cheap because we’ve subsidised its production, and we’ve got to stop doing that. We have to start providing real food for all our people but especially the poorest who are the most at risk of poor nutrition. So, put the subsidies into getting the meat back to the poorer people – in particular offal, because offal is the cheapest food yet it has brilliant nutritional value.
Even if you’ve had your gall bladder removed, banting is safe.
Q: Is that something you’re involved in?
A: Yes. We’re trying to raise money to encourage Karoo farmers to provide offal to their workers. We haven’t raised it yet, but we’ve got a lot of buy-in from the farmers themselves since the banting message is very strong in the Karoo (for obvious reasons). Offal has always been a part of the Karoo menu but it has fallen out of favour more recently, replaced by cheap carbs, sugar and sugary beverages. In order for us to be able to do this research, the farmers have to commit to providing this food ad infinitum since we can’t begin a trial that I suspect will dramatically improve the workers’ health and productivity, only to stop the food once any clinical trials are completed. Then, of course, we have to ensure that the people who will be eating the food are fully informed of any risk and benefits to them of changing to this eating plan and that they consent to participate. All this takes
If you’re diabetic, there’s no question about it: you cannot bant on and off. You have to do it fully.