Q&A WITH PROF TIM NOAKES

AND 11 OTHER QUES­TIONS WE ASK PRO­FES­SOR TIM NOAKES

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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.

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