‘Banting must be cult’

2015-08-14 08:19
Tim Noakes with Banter success Doff Ponsie.

Tim Noakes with Banter success Doff Ponsie. (Jonathan Erasmus)

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CONTROVERSIAL scientist Professor Tim Noakes says the eating programme commonly known as the Banting diet must become a cult.

Noakes, who in recent months has come under increasing criticism from scientists and doctors around the world who claim his high-fat, low-carbohydrate Banting diet is dangerous, believes the diet could very well be the cure to a host of modern diseases including diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

The Banting diet is outlined in his recently co-authored book The Real Meal Revolution. It has sold more than 250 000 copies in South Africa alone.

“It is a cult. It needs to be a cult. People must advocate for Banting to counter the chorus of people against the diet. The people must force the environment in which we live to change. The state will not do this for us,” said Noakes.

The 66-year-old Cape Town sports scientist, lecturer and author maintained that a high-carbohydrate diet leads to tinnitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, various forms of cancer including breast cancer, autism and Parkinson’s disease.

Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on invitation of the UKZN-based Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL) Noakes said advocating against, instead of for, animal fat and protein diets was a massive blunder in human existence.

“We have lost contact with what we used to eat. Our modern diseases are nutritionally based. We need to eat real food, limit carbohydrates and learn to cook.”

Ironically Noakes until recently pushed the idea that all athletes were advised to eat “high-carbohydrate diets both in training and especially before competition” as the carbohydrates were considered “ideal for health and sport”.

“For this ladies and gentleman I must apologise,” said Noakes.

Noakes said his initial belief was built on years of “group think” and that the research published was often “funded by industry and you always find [results] for industry”.

He lambasted “scaremongering junk science” such as linking red meat to cancer.

“Banting is not a fad diet. It is a way of life.”

Noakes said for thousands of years humans had existed on high-protein diets eating game or cattle from “head to toe”.

“These diseases of civilisation or urbanisation are nutritionally-based. The reason we do not accept this is because we cannot comprehend that ‘primitives’ knew better than we do, what to eat for optimal health.”

He said his turning point was when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes despite following his own high-carbohydrate diet.

The Banting diet is based on the findings by William Banting, an undertaker whose family was known for arranging the British royal funerals for just over 100 years ending in 1927.

A 71-year-old Durban woman who professes to have lost 20kg in seven months said being a Banter was a “way of life”.

Pensioner Doff Ponsie said for years she had been trying to lose weight using a multitude of diets advertised “in the media” but always found herself “putting on weight”.

“I was desperate and always hungry. I became interested in the Banting diet when I read its affects on insulin,” said Ponsie.

Part of the Banting diet mantra in the public domain is that the diet can have positive side effects for diabetes sufferers, some claiming they are now even diabetes free.

“I have more energy. I can walk with comfort. I grew up as a child on this type of diet but the shops and products changed and today it is even difficult to find meat with fat on it,” said Ponsie.

Ponsie admitted to advocating the diet even to the healthy.

“You begin to sound like you are part of a religion or cult because I find I am always defending Banting. It is the beginning of a big change and new way of life,” said Ponsie

Read more on:    durban  |  banting

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