Professor Tim Noakes: True Hydration and the Power of Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets

Aug. 28, 2015

Professor Tim Noakes is a towering but controversial figure in the health and fitness world, having written more than 50 scientific books and articles covering a variety of topics that challenge the industry standards of both medicine and sports nutrition. After discovering that the current international dietary guidelines have little basis in science, Tim Noakes began his own research on the effects of dietary protein, carbohydrate and fat. His research convinced him that a high-fat, low-carb diet is the best option for many people. In today’s episode Christopher Kelly chats with Tim about the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet, but not before covering the issue of hydration for athletes and why more harm than good is being done by the promotion of an overhydration myth. This is an engaging, thought-provoking conversation you won’t want to miss.

Is it true that endurance athletes need to overhydrate in preparation for competition?

In his book “Waterlogged,” Professor Tim Noakes gives a definitive, “No” answer to that question. His studies have proved again and again that the body itself is the best regulator of proper and necessary hydration and will push every person on the planet toward drinking when it is truly needed through the sensation we call “thirst.” He holds that this is equally true for endurance athletes. Professor Noakes and Christopher Kelly spend the first part of this conversation discussing the research and reasons for his contentions about hydration and discuss the terrible effects overhydration can and has produced.

Professor Tim Noakes’s surprising path to a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Professor Tim Noakes has been a marathon and ultramarathon runner for most of his adult life so he’s long known the general correlation of good nutrition for performance. But when he returned to school to receive a medical education he bought into the standard nutritional guidelines touted by the medical community. Correspondingly, his personal dietary habits changed, and in time a decline in his personal health followed. As he began to see the reality of his own health Tim was motivated to find an answer. A book recommendation from a friend turned his thinking back to the low-carb, high-fat way of eating (banting) and his health turned dramatically toward the better in a relatively short period of time. You can hear the entire story of Professor Noakes’s discoveries and how it’s resulted in the creation of his program “The Real Meal Revolution” in this episode.

A real answer for type 2 diabetes.

Professor Tim Noakes is one of many who is living proof that type 2 diabetes can be reversed. After experiencing his own health struggles caused by adherence to the dietary guidelines promoted by the medical community, he became diabetic himself. His path to healing came from rejecting the status quo dietary recommendations and adopting what his research was showing to be much better… a low-carb, high-fat diet. You can hear his story of how that change came about, the dramatic impact it has had on his life, and testimonies of the many people who have followed his dietary recommendations and seen their type 2 diabetes reversed. It’s an illuminating conversation on this episode of the podcast.

The Noakes Foundation: Supporting a global dietary revolution to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes.

After being left frustrated by a decline in his personal health, Professor Tim Noakes has made it his mission to reverse the global trends of diabetes and obesity. The Noakes Foundation is the organization he’s formed to conduct research and disseminate its findings in order to be a catalyst for that change. The foundation’s purpose is to reveal what genuine healthy nutrition looks like and, in doing so, make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Tim Noakes’s work is poised to shake the health/nutrition world, and hopefully, the entire world beyond that. In this episode, Professor Noakes will speak about his findings, why obesity is an unnatural state for the human body, and how his research and experience has led him to a dietary solution for type 2 diabetes. Be sure to listen.

Here’s the outline of this interview:

  • [0:05] Introduction of Professor Tim Noakes, writer and researcher.
  • [1:43] Introduction to today’s two topics: Hydration & Low Carb Diets.
  • [2:26] How Tim’s book, “Waterlogged” has impacted Christopher and how the issue of hydration is a life and death issue.
  • [4:57] Professor Noakes’s response to the claims that thirst indicates a loss of hydration and a loss of power for athletes.
  • [8:57] Why the right approach to hydration is to monitor it by thirst, not amount.
  • [10:38] How does specific gravity relate to issues of hydration?
  • [12:01] How the feedback loops in human physiology impact things like thirst, weight loss, and others.
  • [13:38] What causes an afternoon loss of energy? Eating too much sugar.
  • [14:30] Intestinal hyperpermeability: Does dehydration cause it?
  • [17:57] How Professor Noakes got into studying the low carb diet.
  • [24:20] Professor Noakes’s opinion about the recent study done by the NIH, written by Kevin Hall.
  • [26:31] Why hunger and obesity are a brain issue, not a metabolism issue.
  • [28:58] How the low carb, high fat diet has impacted Christopher’s sports performance.
  • [30:34] How does Professor Noakes define insulin resistance?
  • [31:58] What are the markers one should watch for in terms of diabetes?
  • [35:56] Professor Noakes’s prescription for diabetes and what we could do to avoid it in the entire population.
  • [42:25] Can insulin resistance be reversed?
  • [45:00] Professor Noakes’s upcoming study of the patients who say that switching to a “banting” diet has cured their Type II diabetes.
  • [47:56] How might a low carb diet impact the production and health of red blood cells?
  • [48:54] Why traditional medicine fails and how complementary medicine makes a huge difference.
  • [52:27] What is the Real Meal Revolution and why has it been so successful?
  • [57:46] Who is this real meal revolution for? Is it only therapeutic?
  • [1:02:26] Steps Christopher has taken with his 2 year old daughter in terms of her nutrition.
  • [1:05:42] Professor Noakes’ final comments: Why traditional medicine got it all wrong and what should be done instead.



Challenging Beliefs, Memoir of a Career by Tim Noakes

Waterlogged by Tim Noakes

The New Atkins For The New You, by Professor Westman, Professor Phinney, and Professor Volek

Raising Superheroes

Principles of Healthy Diets by Weston Price

Other Resources:

Kevin Hall’s NIH study referenced



The Real Meal Revolution Program

Ketone breath meter


Eric C. Westman

Stephen D. Phinney

Jeff S. Volek

Kevin Hall

Dr. Tommy Wood

Weston Price

Professor Jay Wortman

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