Questions for Tim Noakes: Dummy’s Guide to Banting

Tim Noakes’s Banting diet has taken South Africa by storm – its devotees include the CEO of a major JSE-listed company. But how does it work? Biznews columnist Heather Dugmore put the relevant questions to Noakes. What follows is a Dummy’s Guide to Banting – or we may call it “how to lose unwanted kilos by avoiding sugar, flour and carbs.” Read the full story on Heather’s interview with Tim Noakes  – “Let’s take out shirts off and compare” – by clicking here. – AH

By Heather Dugmore

Heather Dugmore: Author, writer and farmer. Not necessarily in that order.
Heather Dugmore: Author, writer and farmer. Not necessarily in that order.

Q: What are the main foods to avoid?

A: Sugar (Must be completely removed from your diet)

  • All sugary drinks including cola drinks and sweetened fruit juices
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Porridge
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Some high energy fruits like bananas
  • All confectionary – cakes and sweets
  • Desserts
  • Artificial sweeteners and products containing these products (like “diet” colas)

You should also be very wary of so-called ‘low fat’ options, yoghurt especially, since these are laden with sugar and are therefore less healthy than the full fat options. In fact, you need to check all the foods that you eat. You will be astonished at the number of foods that contain hidden sugar.

Q: What are healthy fats?

A: The fats in meat raised on the veld are healthy fats. Meat labeled veld-raised, free range, natural or organic is perfect because it has a high ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6s. As we know, much of our meat comes from feedlots, and this changes the Omega ratios, where you are no longer getting sufficient amounts of the Omega 3s. To make sure you’re getting these, take 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed or olive oil a day and four salmon oil capsules – be sure to purchase the best brands. Avocado, almond and macadamia nuts are also full of good fats.

Q: Can we drink beer on this diet?

A: Let me answer this way, beer is a no-no for me. I used to drink quite a bit of beer and that puts on weight instantly for me because it’s a highly refined carb and it has maltose. Now that I am at my correct weight, I can have a glass of wine every now and then, but I make sure I stick to 50 grams of carbs a day maximum.

Q: What is the source of the 50 grams of carbs you eat per day?

A: I get my 50 grams from the salad or vegetables I eat and I might have the odd piece of Ryvita. Some people can maintain their weight on 200 grams of carbs a day, but I can’t. The more overweight you are the more you need to reduce your carbs.

Q: Is exercise important in this eating plan?

A: Exercise is very important for health in general, but the idea that you can continue eating incorrectly and exercise it off is totally fallacious. Proper nutrition is essential; exercise will help you feel better.

Q: What about calories?

A: Stop counting calories and stop looking at the fat or energy content. The calories-in-calories-out theory is a fallacy. There is a high percentage of calories in healthy fats, but these are not the calories that make us fat. It’s the carbohydrate calories that make us fat. Check packaging for its carbohydrates and keep these to a minimum – under 50 grams a day.

Q: Is your eating plan/Banting not very similar to the Atkins diet?

A: It is and Doctor Atkins was spot on but no one wanted to hear what he was saying because the low fat diet and all the associated products was being punted worldwide.

Q: What do you snack on?

Biltong, cheese, macadamia nuts, almonds – as much as I feel like.

Q: Do you prefer butter or margarine?

A: I totally avoid margarine. Butter is wonderful, but try to get homemade or organic butter made from raw milk because as soon as you pasteurise milk you kill off half the value.

Q: Which cooking oil do you recommend?

A: Olive oil or coconut oil. The cheap vegetable oils are to be avoided.

Q: How did you stop eating sugar?

A: It took me fourteen months to stop eating sugar – I was addicted. Now I can look at sugar and sweets and wonder why I ever wanted to put that rubbish into my body.

Q: Where can we read more about your research to date?

A: Look up the Tim Noakes diet or eating plan or the Tim Noakes study and the ‘paleo low carb diet’ on the Internet.