Is Tim`s Diet Right For You
Cutting back on carbs has worked wonders for SA`s best known sports scientist – here`s how to find out if you should try a low-carb eating plan
IT’S such good news readers could hardly believe it: eat fat and proteins for less excess weight and more – and it’s none other than respected sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes who says so.
Since following a low-carbohydrate diet he`s slimmer and healthier than he’s been in years and says he’s once again running Iike a younger man (YOU, 1. March). Readers soon started calling YOU asking, “But is it healthy? Is this the new diet wisdom?”
We decided, to investigate these latest dietary guidelines now that more experts are saying carbohydrates are bad for you but proteins – and even fats – are good for you.
More than 60 per cent of South Africans are overweight and it’s due to carbohydrates, not fat, says Dr Alison Kammfer, a general practitioner linked to the Sure Slim weight – loss clinics.
Carbs are addictive whereas proteins are a natural appetite suppressant, Professor Noakes adds.
He has drastically changed his eating habits after discovering he’s carbohydrate-intolerant. To find out if the same is true for you, you can have a simple blood or DNA test or folow a carb-free diet for four weeks (see box).
But before substituting your usual bowl of muesli with bacon and eggs you should find out what works for you.
THE food pyramid, showing the proportions of various food groups you should consume, has been the guideline on good nutrition for more than 40. Carbohydrates form the base of the pyramid. We were told carbs give you energy and must make up 60 per cent of your diet. And you should go easy on proteins. And fats are the worst.
But now we’re told it’s a myth that your body needs carbohydrates. And fats are good for you, British dietician Zoë Harcombe said a year ago (YOU, 13 January 2011).
Professor Noakes agrees. He believes full-fat products are healthier than low-fat options and that you need only 50 g carbs a day, even if you’re tackling a half-marathon.
What about the danger of heart disease? The fat in animal products such as red meat, eggs and dairy don’t cause heart diseases as we`ve previously been warned, according to a US study recently published in the respected journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports.
In 2003 the well-known Atkins Diet was heavily criticised when people claimed the eating plan had damaged their kidneys.
“There’s no published evidence that low-carbohydrate diets cause health problems,” Professor Noakes . In fact French scientists found that a high-protein diet doesn’t cause kidney failure in healthy people.
But dietician Yael Joffe, a director of DNAlysis, an organisation that draws up diet plans on the basis of DNA readings, says she discourages people with existing kidney problems from following a high-protein diet.
Not everyone can burn only protein and fat as energy like Professor Noakes, she warns. Many people need carbohydrates.
Like Professor Noakes, about 30 per cent of white South Africans have a problem effectively burning carbs for energy. (Statistics aren’t available for other population groups.)
These people can eat large amounts of carbs without feeling satisfied. They have a specific variation of the ADRB2 gene, which is responsible for burning fat, Joffe explains.
People who have this gene struggle to burn carbs and lose weight on a high-carb diet.
General signs of carbohydrate-intolerance are insomnia, sleep apnoea (abnormal pauses in breathing), poor concentration, drowsiness, lack of energy and feeling bloated after meals.
Your waistline and face gradually become fatter over the years, your fingers swell when you exercise and you could have a family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, gout or high blood pressure and cholesterol.
You need to find out what works for you, Joffe says. “Our bodies crave carbohydrates when we don’t consume enough fat but if you follow a diet high in protein and fat for a month and your body still craves carbs it probably isn’t the right option for you.”
For the rest of us the diet can have many advantages, Dr Kammfer says. “Fat and protein are the body’s building blocks which is why they’re essential,” she explains.
The nutrients found in protein and fat are absorbed more slowly and are gradually used up for energy, unlike carbs which are quickly burnt up, leaving us with no energy.
Dr Kammfer advises many of her patients to continue to eat a moderate amount of carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, pumpkin and fruit.
Red meat isn’t as unhealthy as we’ve believed for years and according to Dr Kammfer the fats it contains are as healthy as those in olive oil but she recommends balancing your intake of protein. Instead of eating a chop or steak as your daily source of protein, eat fish three times a week to ensure you get omega-3 oils.
A good guideline is to check whether fats come from a factory. “That’s why I prefer butter to margarine,” Dr Kammfer says.
By choosing the right fat and protein you can happily turn the food pyramid upside down and tuck into that juicy steak that`s been taboo for so long.
Source You Magazine 15 March 2012