Cape Town-151124-Day two into the enquiry of Tim Noakes' Banting program. He is being accused of Unprofessional conduct and appears before the Health Profession's Council of South Africa-Reporter-Sipokazi-Photographer-Tracey Adams

OPINION

Rohan Millson

The anecdotal letters that were printed in the Cape Times on November 27 in support of Professor Tim Noakes didn’t say anything unexpected.

People have shed oodles of weight; they’ve improved some biomarkers of health; they feel better than they have in years; they’re energised; they’re eternally grateful; and Tim’s cool.

Here’s how I’d describe Noakes’s trusting fans: told by Noakes that they’re flying, they yell: “Look at me” and “So far, so good” as they plummet past a 10th storey window and plunge towards the ground below (10 representing the possible number of years of life they stand to lose by being an acolyte of this dangerous conman).

Unfortunately for the followers of Noakes’s destructive eating style, all the studies of high-animal diets and mortality that I’ve read, whether called high-fat or low-carb, Atkins or paleo, show that they shorten people’s lives. There are no studies showing otherwise – we would have heard them trumpeted.

Zero-animal diets produce precisely the opposite long-term outcomes – fewer diseases and increased lifespans. The LCHF or low-carb high-fat diet is an effective way to lose weight; it’s just not very good at keeping us alive. Why not?

Here’s a sample of disease-causing substances inherent in cooked animals: heme, or blood iron, nitrites, nitrosamines, animal estrogens, cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic amines, Neu5Gc, PhIP, MeIQx, animal proteins (!), amyloid, arachidonic acid, putrescine, cadaverine, purines, casein, casomorphins, harmane, galactose and glycotoxins, as well as industrial poisons such as PCBs, DDT, dioxins and heavy metals that bio-accumulate invisibly in animals at up to 100 000 times greater concentrations than ambient levels, and which help cause diabetes, cancer, dementia and birth defects, plus a stew of bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms and flukes, and prions that infest animals.

Faced with the emerging scientific consensus of the potentially lethal consequences of eating animals, Noakes’s counter-revolutionary, reactionary diet is all about keeping people feeling good about eating animals, except now in even huger quantities than before… the same animals the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) confirmed as carcinogenic to humans in a landmark, game-changing press release on October 26.

(IARC specifically names biltong as a cause of colorectal cancer. Does Noakes care? Will he ignore this as he ignores all the other evidence that contradicts him? Noakes says he likes to snack on biltong, and I counted five recipes that include carcinogenic bacon in his deadly book, so he’ll probably just say bon appétit, pass the bacon. What he should do is slap a warning label on the front cover, or recall every life-threatening copy.)

What a cancer-causing LCHF diet does have going for it is that it helps fat people lose weight quickly, and it emphasises plenty of whole, non-starchy plants. Cutting out processed junk and replacing it with whole plants confers great benefits.

Eating this way, we feel better because we’re lighter and because we’re eating plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant nutrients, and they counter the oxidation and the inflammation that animals cause.

Unknown to Noakes’s victims, people who eat no or very few animals, and heaps of whole grains, beans, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds – in other words, plenty of the glucose Noakes absurdly demonises – achieve weight loss equal to or better than theirs. And they improve all their biomarkers of health, not just some, and their actual health too, not just the proxies for health; they feel terrific; they’re energised; they’re eternally grateful; no one need kill sentient beings on their behalf (because they kill us right back); Tim’s a ghoul; plus they get to live years longer.

In effect, a high-animal diet with whole plants makes people feel better despite the animals in the diet, not because of them, and the animals actually detract from the effects of the plants – somewhat from the weight loss, massively from long-term health and longevity.

So, it’s up to us. To lose weight we can choose which end of the nutrition spectrum we’d like to inhabit – we can let Noakes hoax us into a kill-lots-of-animals, kill-the-planet-and-die-younger diet, which feels self-absorbedly good until we eat ourselves into cancer, stroke or heart disease, or we can opt for a no-or-low-animal, light-on-the-planet, live-up-to-a-decade-longer, feels-awesome-till-I-die-in-my-bed diet.

It should be an easy decision, once we’re alerted to the multiple benefits of not Banting.

In the nutrition kingdom of the blind, Noakes is the one-eyed village idiot, and his followers are gleeful, for they know not what they do.

** The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Media.