Professor Tim Noakes said his eyes were opened the day his own health failed.
“It is the day I saw the truth,” said Noakes, speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the topic, “Reversing the greatest blunder in the history of medicine. Can South Africa lead the way?”
On Thursday, Noakes told a gathering at the Graduate School of Business auditorium at the Westville campus that scientists had misled the public by telling them to eat a high carbohydrate diet. His health had also suffered as a result.
“We have failed our people, because we haven’t recognised insulin resistance is the real problem.
“The reasons scientists made a drastic error is because we thought heart diseases were caused by high cholesterol and they are not. Cholesterol is caused by insulin resistance,” said Noakes.
Noakes, who promotes the Banting Diet – a low-carbohydrate high-fat lifestyle – said the diet required three things.
“We say, eat real food, limit the carbohydrates and learn how to cook.”
He said a high carbohydrate diet led to diseases like diabetes.
“Your cats are diabetic and obese because you are feeding them carbohydrates and they are carnivores. There is an outbreak at the moment of diabetes in cats.
“Research shows these are the most insulin resistant animals and if you treat insulin resistant animals with carbohydrates, they will get fat and die. The reason your cat and I am diabetic is because we both eat too much carbohydrates.”
Noakes said he made the decision to start banting on December 12 2010.
“That is the day I decided I am never eating another carbohydrate in my life again…
“Today we are dying from diseases our predecessors were not dying from. The reason is nutrition. They had incredibly good nutrition until they were introduced to the industrial diet.”
‘Obesity is all about hunger’
He said uncontrolled hunger led to obesity.
“The key to obesity is when you don’t understand hunger, you can’t get rid of your hunger. Obesity is all about hunger.”
He encouraged parents to buy the correct foods for their children.
“It is the addictive foods that have high sugar that cause obesity. If you want to prevent obesity and diabetes, you need to get rid of your hunger.
“We need to address the environment that allows for these products to be sold to your children. We need to wean them off the high sugar drinks.”
He explained insulin was a fat-building hormone.
“If you look in the mirror and see a roll on your tummy, that is the insulin roll. Insulin promotes fat storage.”
He said if your diet does not remove your hunger, then you would never lose weight.