If you eat every three hours, you are addicted to food – Tim Noakes

If you eat every three hours, you are eating addictively, Professor Tim Noakes said on Tuesday.

“Hunger is every 12 to 24 hours. If you’re eating every 12 to 24 hours you’re eating appropriately,” he said during a talk on challenging carbohydrate beliefs at the Cape Town Science Centre.

“Humans used to eat once a day in the 1500s, then the British came along and made us eat everything three times a day.

“The biology of the human body is that you’re designed to eat one and a half meals a day. You can only do it if you’re not addicted to the foods [you are eating].”

He said the test for food addiction is simple.

“Tomorrow morning, have your cornflakes. You will see that you will have to eat at 11:00. Write it down – you will be hungry at 13:00 and at 15:00.

“The next day, eat bacon and sausage until you can’t eat anymore. Then you will notice at 11:00 you’re not hungry. At 17:00 you will start feeling a little hunger. That will show you that fat and protein inhibit your hunger. They satiate you whereas carbohydrates drive hunger.”

He advised parents to feed their children at home by cooking for them.

“Don’t get them to eat at school. You want them to eat a big breakfast and come home at 15:00 where you give them more of your food.

“If you give them carbohydrates for breakfast, like cornflakes, at 11:00 they will have their Coca Cola or something which is highly unhealthy, and they will eat again. They will eat all the foods they don’t need because that’s what the tuckshop provides.

“You don’t want the children to eat off your premises.”

Noakes, known for his advocacy of a low carbohydrate diet for adults and children, said the science behind nutrition is simple.

“Fat doesn’t kill you, carbohydrates do,” he said. “Fat makes you thin.”

Noakes pointed out the Banting diet is anything but a fad, quoting medical references and literature advising high fat low carb diets dating as far back as the 1800s.

The Health Professions Council of SA is currently conducting an inquiry into his conduct after being accused of giving unconventional and unscientific advice, and of unprofessional conduct for dispensing the advice via social media.

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 South Africa, 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.”


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If you eat every three hours, you are addicted to food – Tim Noakes