Sugar addiction is real - Noakes

2016-02-15 12:17
Tim Noakes (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Tim Noakes (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Sugar addiction is real, Professor Tim Noakes argued at a hearing into his conduct on Monday. 

Quoting obesity researcher Zoe Harcombe’s The Obesity Epidemic, the professor of exercise science and sports medicine said sugar met criteria for substance abuse and may be addictive for some individuals when consumed in a binge-like manner.

This conclusion was reinforced by the changes seen in the brain’s limbic system that were similar to those caused by drugs like cocaine and heroin.

“She concludes it supports the theory that in some circumstances intermittent access to sugar can lead to behaviour and neurochemical changes that resemble the changes [seen in] a substance of abuse.”

Sugar 'not good for your health'

Sugar needed to be removed from diets, he argued.

“We have no biological need for it. It’s not good for your health.”

Studies and evidence had found that an environment that caused obesity “did not creep up on us”.

“We created the environment. We tell people to avoid real food and eat processed food. The most profitable food on the planet is the carbohydrates provided by food manufacturers.”

Corporate funding affected research and advertising determined what people ate, Noakes said. Dietary advice by some researchers was directed by an industry interested in selling products, not the health of the nation.

“Who is recognised as the experts in research? Those who have the funding to carry it out. But who is the silent partner in the background and what is his interest?”


Noakes - whose book The Real Meal Revolution promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet - was called before the council after a complaint was lodged by the former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom.

The complaint was prompted by a tweet Noakes sent to a Pippa Leenstra after she asked him for advice on feeding babies and on breastfeeding.

Her tweet read: "@ProfTimNoakes @SalCreed is LCHF eating ok for breastfeeding mums? Worried about all the dairy + cauliflower = wind for babies?? (sic)."

Noakes advised her to wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as "real" foods.

His tweet read: "Baby doesn't eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween (sic) baby onto LCHF."

He is accused of giving unconventional and unscientific advice, and of unprofessional conduct for dispensing the advice via social media.

The hearing continues.

Read more on:    tim noakes  |  cape town  |  health

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