Cape Town-121017-Prof. Tim Noakes delivered a talk at the Harmony Clinic in Hout Bay relating to food and carbohydrate addiction. Noakes also spoke with an in-patient, Amanda Bester from Pretoria, who came to Cape Town for the treatment-Reporter-Ilse-Photographer-Tracey Adams

People who indulge in sugar and carbohydrates can now rid themselves of their addiction with a 12-step treatment programme.

Cape Town’s sports scientist Tim Noakes, professor of exercise and head of the Sports Science Institute, launched SA’s first carbohydrate and sugar addiction programme at the Harmony Addictions Clinic in Hout Bay on Wednesday.

Noakes, who acknowledged that carbs and sugar caused addiction, warned that if South Africans continued to eat food that was high in carbohydrates and sugar, they not only exposed themselves to lifestyle conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, but this could give rise to inflammatory diseases and neurological disorders such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

He said while protein-rich foods suppressed appetite, sugar-rich foods and carbs turned people into “addicts”, forcing them to have more than three meals a day.

“If you eat every three hours you’ve got an addiction,” he said.

He said chronic conditions including gastrointestinal disorders, Alzheimer’s and autism could be reduced dramatically just by a change of diet.

While the brain was made of about 50 percent of fat tissue, Noakes said dietitians and other nutrition experts continued to advocate low-fat diets.

He said autism, which was almost nonexistent in SA when he grew up in the 1960s, appeared to be on the rise due to sugar and carbohydrate addiction. Unlike the high-fat diet, which gave humans healthy bowel bacteria, the over-consumption of carbs and sugar created immense damage to the gut, which resulted in good bacteria being replaced by pathogens and resulting in damage to the gut lining and eventually leaking of the gut, Noakes said.

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Show me the scientific proof

Cape Town sports scientist Professor Tim Noakes says suggestions that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet could have severe health effects such as heart disease have no scientific basis.

Commenting on a statement made by the Health Profession’s Council of SA (HPCSA) last week, Noakes said the council didn’t seem to understand the basis of science and that dismissing a high-fat diet showed their ignorance of reputable scientific research.

“It’s quite acceptable for the HPCSA to say that there is a theory that high-protein diet may cause heart diseases, but it can’t prove it,” he said.

The council has warned against long-term adherence to a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Noakes sparked a debate about this diet when he apologised for having in the past advocated a high-carb and low-fat diet. He said many people, himself included, had the problem of insulin resistance, meaning they could not handle a diet high in carbohydrates.