Fasting is a key part of Banting: Tim Noakes
Professor Tim Noakes recalls how his Banting journey began and reveals what he found the tricky about adopting a LCHF lifestyle
It took me just two hours to realise I'd been wrong for 33 years [about promoting a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet] and then it's taken me six years to be in the position I'm in now, confident what I'm saying is true [about a Banting low-carb, high-fat diet].
The turning point came when I saw an advert for a new book, New Atkins, New You, written by friends of mine. I said OK, I'd give them one chance, and read the book. Within two hours I realised I'd got it all wrong. I decided to try the Banting LCHF diet, and within a week I knew it worked.
It wasn't difficult to say I was wrong, but I'd been hurting a lot about the people who had been following my ideas [of a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet] and I have to take responsibility for that. The hurt came later when I was vilified and humiliated by those trying to silence me.
We have sold over 250,000 copies of The Real Meal Revolution and changed the way people are eating. I can't go anywhere without people saying "thank you for saving or changing my life". The success of the book is a tribute to the people who bought it because if you have believed all your life that fat is going to kill you, it takes quite a change to start eating fat again.
What didn't come out strongly in The Real Meal Revolution is that one of the keys to the diet is fasting. In retrospect we found that 10% of people following the diet put on weight. Some have to be very cautious; they should practise portion control and eat fewer meals a day.Following the Banting lifestyle I initially lost 20kg and am 1kg or 2kg lighter than that now.
The most difficult things for me to give up were sugar and cold-drinks. I'm a real sugar addict.
The sugar tax is a tiny inch forward. What is really needed is a tax on all confectionery. Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate addiction and once you have type 2 diabetes, you cannot eat carbohydrates.
By cutting out sugar, you cut out all processed food and you start eating real food with a high fat content that satiates one and you don't want to eat every three hours. Sugar is the most addictive drug in the world and not a foodstuff.
• Noakes has established a foundation and programmes to help poorer communities in South Africa eat properly on R30 a day. For more info, visit thenoakesfoundation.org
• 'The Banting Pocket Guide' by Tim Noakes, Bernadine Douglas and Bridgette Allan, is published by Penguin Random House SA, R140.