Dr. Tim Noakes – Our Bodies ARE NOT Designed to Use Carbohydrates for Energy (full interview)

Professor Tim Knox all right man you are an authority when it comes down to exercise low carb fat adaptation but I have to ask you before we dive into anything what did you have for breakfast today man for breakfast I always have the same I have a little biscuit with cheese and butter on it that's breakfast I occasionally we have eggs and bacon but I today I had a very gentle day I was more fasting than eating meals beautiful beautiful well mine was uh I'm just getting ready to eat dinner now which will be chicken and some some other form of maybe sweet potato that'll be what it is yeah ah perfect that's my jam as well okay so I want to jump right into the world of exercise low carb exercise in a depleted State and what I mean by that is the idea of being fat adapted it comes Under Fire all the time because uh you know opponents of this world will say that well fat adaptation doesn't really matter metabolic flexibility doesn't really exist because it's just occurs through training but you and I have created a lot of content and I know you've talked a lot about this surrounding the world of fat adaptation and I think there are some misnomers out there can you give just a blanket overhead view of what fat adaptation is in an athlete well adaptation is the natural state of humans that's what we evolved we evolved like that because we weren't exposed to carbohydrates now as soon as you start eating carbohydrates you limit yourself to burn carbohydrates why because the body has to get rid of the carbohydrates to regulate your blood glucose concentration that's the fundamental feature of carbohydrates you do need some for your brain function no argument you do need for kidney function no argument however the main function the main reason you burn carbohydrates is simply to get rid of it so anytime you're eating a lot of carbs and storing it in your muscles in the liver the brain says oops we've got too much carbs on board we must get rid of it because this person is going to eat more carbs in two or three hours and we have to have a place where you can store it so my belief is that we store carbohydrate in muscle and liver purely to regulate your blood glucose to keep it as low as possible without having to spike too much glucose insulin to drive it into the cells and so on so so the reason why you have metabolic inflexibility is because you're eating a high carbohydrate diet and your muscles are full of carbohydrate and so therefore they're always burning carbohydrate however if you take you stop eating carbohydrates for a few days within days your ability to burn fat shoots up and Louisburg we have lots of disagreements with Louise but she's done some fabulous work in in really well trained athletes and she found within five days five days converting to a high fat diet you can burn huge amounts of fat 1.6 1.7 grams per minute values that were never never seen before the fat adaptation diet came along so so that's my view is that fat adaptation is not fat adaptation it's carbohydrate adaptation that's the key fat adaptation is the normal pattern adaptation is there to try to get rid of the carbohydrate keep your insulin low and protect your health for the long term that's a very interesting way of putting a special link down below for 20 off of these suckers macadamia nuts from House of macadamia but it's not just 20 off there's also a free box of nabibian sea salt macadamia nuts that's literally a free entire box with whatever your purchase is so the cool thing about Hassam Academia is specifically they're bars so their bars the first ingredient is macadamia nuts I challenge you if you go to like any grocery store look at the macadamia nut bars and it might have macadamia nuts somewhere in the ingredient list but these are legit the first ingredient we're talking like 45 macadamia nuts we're talking keto friendly low carb also vegan if that's that's what you're into the whole thing is amazing and they're harvested in South Africa the proceeds benefit the farmers the farmers have ownership in the company they're taking the World by storm that's why you're seeing them on Joe Rogan that's why you're seeing them on Tim Ferriss they're everywhere but that special link down below is a 20 off discount link exclusively for people that watch my video so it's a special link and a special offer so you got to use that link and then you add the macadamia nuts to your cart and they will get taken off when you check out so that's how it works just to make sure you can take advantage of the offer so check that link out down below in the description so this idea of fat adaptation or carb adaptation this can happen as soon as five days so is this happening just in a simply you don't have to be in a ketogenic State it's something you could put yourself in a very depleted State you could just train in an ultimately kind of the train low uh kind of sleep low study type fashion where you just deplete yourself yeah I think so it's we did some fabulous studies in the 1990s and of course you know I didn't realize what we did we wanted to work out why do you stop why do you get tired and when your blood glucose is low why do you stop exercising and so what we did was we got people to do carbohydrate depletion exercise and then we Infuse them with either glucose or glucose plus insulin which is quite challenging and then we had them exercise and the remarkable finding was that so you've got people of muscle glycogen depletion depleted and you infuse them with glucose it's like there wasn't any glucose there the body ignores it it doesn't try to use it because it's so programmed under these days when muscle glycogen is low you're going to burn fat and even if you infuse glucose it says I don't want that glucose I'm going to burn the fat so that that kind of slightly maybe contradicts what I said earlier or you might think it does but that's the finding if the muscle glycogen is low the body is going to burn fat Come What May and so so that's the reality and it conversely if the muscle's full of glycogen it's going to burn glycogen and that so the muscle in a sense and its content of fuel determines what you're going to burn it's not so much insulin we used to say well if your insulin's low then you're going to be burning fat no the reason why the incense low is because your muscle glycogens learn your liver glycogen is low that's why you're burning fat and the low insulin is a is a consequence of the of the low muscle and liver glycogen content interesting so in the case of say a a low-carb athlete that has a decent amount of glycogen stored via gluconeogenesis they are they able to switch back and forth a little bit faster I mean in the essence of they really can't start burning fat until their glycogen stores are are drained if they're replenishing glycogen quickly via gluconeogenesis does that inhibit the fat oxidation or is there a different mechanism that's kind of occurring there in a heavily fat adapted low-carb athlete now that's a great question because I hadn't really thought of it before but when we studied um fed adapted Elite athletes we found that instant day start exercise they're burning 1.7 grams per minute the instant they start now we didn't do muscle biopsies so we don't know what their muscle glycogen content but we know from other studies that probably was half of the normal so that's the one point how so I would think that most athletes when they start exercise if they're well trained and they haven't got full muscle glycogen content they're going to burn lots of fat now the next point is and I do I don't disagree with Jeff erlich very often because he's a giant and I'm a little pipsqueak compared to to his knowledge of metabolism when we studied as it's adapted to a high fat diet we studied average recreational athletes he studied the world's best ultra distance Runners adapted to high fat diet so there's two totally different qualities of athletes we found that our guys had half the muscle glycogen of people eating a higher carbohydrate that similar quality athletes in his study he found muscle glycogen was exactly the same whether you were Elite athlete sorry Elite athlete whether you carb loaded or not and I found that really strange because it conflicted with with my beliefs so let's say he's right and let's say that's true nevertheless he found very high rates of fat oxidation in his athletes so in his athletes with high muscle glycogen they also had very high rates of fat oxidation also from the start of exercise and that is the difference we could not you can't take in one exercise balance you can't take an athlete who's carbohydrate adapted burning 0.5 of a gram of fat can't get them up to 1.7 it'll it can't do it you'll have to go 12 hours without eating or something but but the athlete who's fat adapted it starts at 1.5 immediately now there's another interesting point that we've recently shown and I'm sure you're going to come to this that athletes who aren't great athletes but are fed adapted after four weeks when during high intensity exercise working at 85 86 of VO2 max they were able to burn 2 grams or more per minute and that provides 76 kilojoules of energy per minute now Elliot kipchogi he didn't have a good run in Boston recently but when he runs a two-hour Marathon he's burning 75 kilojoules per minute okay so technically the world's best marathon runners could run on fat alone without carbohydrate and maybe there never will but that's what our study is showing that if you if you're properly Elite athlete and adapted maybe you could run all these races just on fet at to our marathon pays that's that's always what's been interesting to me is perhaps these Elite marathoners that are are still supplementing with carbohydrates perhaps it's just uh almost the psychosomatic thing where they just don't they just don't want to try it you know it's they've been doing it for so long and it's a big risk for them right it's a big risk to say oh I'm going to train without this because they can't afford to miss you know even a month of good training so I totally understand that and I if we look at even an anaerobic athlete I'll use uh you know myself sort of anecdotally here I do a lot of uh CrossFit style training where I'm kind of in this metabolic gray area if you want to call it that I I do a lot of aerobic work and then I transition into highly anaerobic in the same workouts I very much so find that when I am eating very low carb that I actually transition better I find that I transition from that aerobic State into that anaerobic State better my theory I don't know if this is correct or not my theory is that because my Baseline is so much better fat oxidation that I can maintain sort of this homeostatic kind of uh aerobic capacity that's just kind of my endurance kind of burn and then when I do need to demand more anaerobic uh energy when I do need to actually pull from that I have glycogen available for that and only that I'm not having to use it for the rest of my Baseline if that makes sense yeah I like that analogy now let me extend it a bit further so now I was always interested in marathons and Ultra marathons and what interests me is what happens after three hours when you glycogen depleted because you if you're a good athlete and and running at six minutes a mile which is you know 3 45 a k and you run 50 miles there's going to be a point where you'd run out of glycogen it's it has to happen it can't you can't go for five hours on glycogen so what happens when you when you suddenly fall off the cliff and you've got no glycogen left I don't know what you do you have to slow down because your fat burning fat is not going to be up to capacity on the other hand if your fat adapted you can do those five hours on fat alone so you're never going to fall off the edge at the end and that's where I think the I would go along with your analogy that you've got what you need the fat is what your muscles need and you can burn it now let's take your example your assumption is that when you're doing that high intensity exercise you can't be burning fat well you could be burning fat up to 100 of your VO2 max and supplements with phospho creatine or or ATP that's in the muscle you might not need to even break down glycogen or anyway it's there so I quite agree with you you've you've got the much but your base is much higher to which you add Prospect creatine breakdown and ATP breakdown yeah and everything start down here and you add if you're already at your limit because you can't burn fat you're already using glycolysis to a great extent then you're going to cut the same amount of ATP and phosphor creating to break down so that but that's that's one argument but I I honestly think that nutrition has very little do with exercise performance and that's another another strange argument and the reality is if the body was designed that the flu that your your muscles were dependent on on energy production for performance sorry I must rephrase that a bit the point is the body can't allow you to push yourself Beyond a certain limit so where your ATP falls in the muscles which is the old model that when you're running out of energy your muscle can't produce ATP well if you can't produce ADP you have to go into rigor the muscle has to go into Rigo and the brain's not going to allow that to happen so the brain anticipates okay listen you want to exercise this amount I'm going to allow you to do it for a short time but then I'm going to cut it off and you're not going to be able to recruit muscle and your work performance will go down so so I think one of the problems is people like myself and other exercise physiologists because we had to be important and we had to be able to explain things we said it's all glycogen or it's ATP but it's not it's the brain the brain is there to check that these things don't run out and so we I think the public have been misled running public and the sporting public that it's all about nutrition it's not about all about nutrition it's it's rather more complex than that it's how much you slept the night before it's what your mood is like and I'm reading the beautiful book by Patrick sang who who's a family who trained Elliot kachogi from her child from a little child and he's he said it's the total being that's what makes the athlete it's not that much carbohydrate to eat the night before I I tend I tend to agree I I mean I as someone that has been you know low carb for a good majority of my life but I mean I have to say the difference in my performance between being higher and higher carb for me is maybe 150 grams at the most but it's negligible it really is a negligible difference uh what comes what comes down to it is the level of stress the level of uh you know my mental state by as you would obviously call it my central Governor you know it's that is a that is a very big piece for me and what drives my ability to push through and it's it's very little to do I find that sometimes all that carbohydrates provide for me is almost a psychological stimulus where I feel like because I consume some watermelon I I want to burn it uh it's not I don't even know if it's physiologically doing anything that's providing me anything more than if I was in a completely depleted State yeah let me just a massive one provides are there to our discussions currently I'm I'm writing a paper which I've been working on for about a year and it looks at all the studies of carbohydrate ingestion during exercise or before exercise before during and there are a number of studies where you can't explain the carbohydrate effect and the only effect you can use is that it's a central stimulant that it's a drug and I'm very certain that that for example how one hour time trial no question ingest carbohydrate during the race you'll do better I would never argue that metabolism doesn't change no no measurable difference the the the way carbohydrates work is your experiment you have to set up the experiment so the control group the blood glucose drops during exercise I.E the placebo group then you'll always find an effect of carbohydrates if their blood glucose doesn't fall you won't find an effect that's in a longer event in a short event you'll almost always find an effect of carbohydrate but it's not metabolically doesn't do anything so what is it doing it's acting in the brain so I I honestly think carbohydrate is a drug and that's why Tour de France cyclists use it so much because renewed cycling six hours a day you often need a stimulant and I think that's the I think that's the key stimulant that they use or and that's why I've I've got in a sense as you've said triathlete friends who are high high fat diets but they said sometimes in the triathlon I need that carb to give me that lift that stimulus so I think that's where we've gone wrong carbohydrate Metabolic Effect is to prevent your blood glucose falling that's it and that you can only do by taking carbs during exercise so that's why you have to take a little bit of carbs during exercise otherwise the main effect is on the brain it makes you perform better because you get a lift and that lift can be achieved by just often putting the sugar in that or carbohydrate in the mouth as well yeah we've seen that in some interesting data I've seen that you know recently I just uh just swishing it around in the mouth and even spitting it out can have a a similar effect um and that is I mean we're seeing that replicated that wasn't just one or two studies I've seen that a few times and then uh and even with if I recall I might I don't want to butcher this but it was basically a straight malted x-ray or something that wasn't even sweet if I recall so it wasn't even something that was sweet where we could we could hypothesize that yes the the taste of something sweet might kind of amp you up a little bit but even in cases where there were carbohydrates that were not sweet um am I mistaken or did I I mean I think I think that's what I saw that's right the problem is that you know the the placebo control is is always incredibly difficult in these studies so athletes all the athletes we test by and large they believe that carbs work so that therefore when you get in a laboratory and they know they're taking carbs it's going to give them a lift just on the base of a placebo so that's the problem if then taste it they're going to feel that that's a benefit to harm so that that it's Placebo control is incredibly difficult in in science and the other thing is we're all biased towards finding what we think is true of course of course the runners themselves when we're testing them they're judging that he's watching you and saying and watching what you're doing and that influences their their performance yeah no absolutely I think we all experience that you know as athletes it's uh in you can consume anything and if you believe it's going to work it's it's ultimately going to work yeah what about as far as recovery is concerned when you're not talking about performance you're talking about potential insulin sensitivity and all this and you know you look back at the old uh you know Fitness World not necessarily endurance world uh but even just the fitness Community bodybuilding world for so long it was you've got to capitalize on insulin sensitivity for proper uh you know glycogen resynthesis and everything like that do you think that insulin sensitivity still plays a role as far as recovery as far as glucose uptake in an athlete not necessarily in an unhealthy or metabolically deranged person where they're clearly insulin resistant once you are let's say already insulin sensitive does more insulin sensitivity help you and the problem with instant sensitivity is it's based When You're 15 or 20 and it's getting worse from that moment onwards true and the more carbs you ingest the worse it gets so I think if I I think that the reason why you exercise is to be healthy the reason the foods you eat you should be also to keep you healthy and I just worry that uh sure there's maybe 10 of the population are exquisitely healthy and they can eat what they like and they can take as much carbohydrate and the instant sensitivity will remain for the rest of their lives but the majority the vast majority just get more and more insulin resistant particularly if they're eating obviously High carbohydrate diets so I I don't think it's justifiable to tell people to eat High carbohydrate diets or to load up with carbs post exercise unless you're absolutely certain that this is one of the 10 in the population and but we don't do that and in our recent paper we showed that 10 of this group of recreational athletes who are training hard we're pre-diabetic and we did the most simple test we did the continuous glucose monitoring and they became absolutely Rock Bottom normal once they went on a high fat diet the traces of abnormal glucose control completely reversed and it was really interesting it was the ones who burnt the most fat who showed the best change so it seemed that these people one Theory might be that they that their mitochondria were damaged by high carbohydrate diets but as soon as you put them back on a high fat diet the mitochondria could cope well that reduced inflammation and you got better I just I listened to athletes and Dave Scott who was a high carb athlete when he won the Iron Man five or six times he says he will never tell another athlete to eat High carbohydrate diet because he realizes it damaged him he could have done better he said I would have gone 40 minutes faster Dr nags if I had footage or died when the try when I was doing the triathlon but he said you can't survive if you eat a high carbohydrate diet now that could be because it's nutritionally deficient or because it could be inflammation and I think it's the inflammation story that's so important and that you recover much better on a high fat diet and I'm waiting for the studies to show that there is some one study I know of where Ketone supplements help the athletes recover more quickly over a period of time it wasn't just one day it was over a period of time so my bias is to think that ketosis is going to help recovery and by reducing inflammation do you think that even in a non-low carb athlete let's say a moderate carb athlete I would consider myself a moderate carb athlete and I use myself again anecdotally here I probably on average consume between maybe 80 and 100 grams of carbs per day and I run probably 40 miles a week and resistance train heavily four to five days a week so I train a lot but still considering how much I train I consume a pretty low carb diet so you know if I complete a 10 mile run and I'm almost always fasted when I train because it's just how I prefer to train probably more than likely I'm producing ketones anyway um the natural state of ketosis even not nutritionally induced just Excellence is called exercise induced ketosis if that's an appropriate way to call it do you think by just hey let me take a little bit of time before I replenish let's ride this ketogenic wave a little bit uh it could actually be beneficial it's not quelling inflammation to a point where it's a detriment to il-6 and ultimately hindering recovery yeah I think the amount of exercise you're doing is going to burn up all that carbs and so that you'll be you want you won't be highly incidentized during exercise or during the rest of your day you know one of the other things just mentioning it is that exercise drops your instant remarkably quickly it's astonishing so that if you were to eat a breakfast of 50 grams of carbs which I'm sure don't you probably distribute your carbs during the day your insulin will drop like that the moment you go out and do that 10 mile run at the end of the your incident will be exceptionally low and your glucose will also be low that's the one thing that really can get the glucose out and ins and down is is exercise so if we were to measure your insulin over 24 hours you you wouldn't find that it's high it most of the time it's going to be pretty low interesting yeah that makes sense I mean obviously as we've seen what I've seen myself is you know the harder I push I tend to get quite a quite a dramatic glucose Spike and then a pretty aggressive drop right probably just a stress response at first and then uh you know towards the latter half of my workout it's uh it's a very sharp Cliff you know very sharp drop I also accept that there's probably a degree of peripheral insulin resistance with myself just given that I'm uh you know I also I might be a little bit of an outlier as I ran my first marathon when I was 11 years old and I've had a theory that you know epigenetically I may have made myself very very fat adapted at a very young age to wear uh I don't know if you know some of my story but it's kind of interesting how I was a marathon runner and then I ended up ballooning up to 300 pounds or so in my 20s and was very overweight and made myself diabetic and you know it's things have never been fully right since then you know it's amazing what just a few years of being very unhealthy can do to your metabolic Health um so I still suffer to this day where it's you know I wake up with relatively High fasting glucose but at the same time being a low carb person I accept that there's some of that peripheral insulin resistance but it's not until I start exercising that things drop it's like my homeostasis is a little bit higher and then once I'm moving it balances out yeah I was going to make that point if your glucose goes up during exercise I think that means you're insulin resistant and I was classically like that too in when I was 28 doing lots of training running marathons we we studied myself on a low carb and a high carb diet and my glucose always went up but then but when I looked at the literature the glucose should stay normal during exercise or if you if it's gone up before it should come down so my response was abnormal but but I didn't realize it at that time so I think if your glucose goes up during exercise that's a marker of insulin resistance well I mean this was my workout this morning yeah yeah it was a hard workout but I mean I woke up around woke up around 88 and then you know my workout mid workout was all the way up to 169 right so yeah see one of the one of the problems in diabetes is glucagon the action of glucagon and that's classically glucagon effect that glucagon drives glucose production so your your liver's pumping out glucose even though the muscles using more glucose it's not not enough to regulate the problem as you know is that all that showed me is that you went from five grams of glucose in your bloodstream to five and a half that's the total amount of glucose in your bloodstream but it looks terrible on the graph yeah but it's you're you're out by half a gram of glucose in five liters of blood that's all the error in your metabolism and that's enough to to cause pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes wow that's wild I mean what obviously what that graph doesn't show is you know my insulin of course and uh but it's yeah I find it always interesting that there's just a lag you know halfway through the workout then things catch up and then there's a drop off um you know if I were to go out the front door right now and uh and really run at 80 for two miles and really push it very hard do you use something brutal like a 5k I always joke like I run marathons and Ultra marathons because 5Ks are too hard so it's uh you know if I were to go out and do something like that you probably see a pretty aggressive drop um yeah you know but when I'm resistance training it's a completely different world so do you think that the implementation I know you're not an expert in this world but you know monounsaturated fats omega-7s we're kind of seeing some of this literature out there talking about how that could help with insulin sensitivity um especially in metabolically unhealthy people you know does that warrant more research do you think that's there's something there uh do you think there's something beneficial there or is it really just the absence of carbohydrates for people that are metabolically unhealthy that's more important yeah I think one would be wrong to think that we can explain everything on Purely on carbohydrates because if you look at the what people's how the diets have changed in the United States but in almost all other countries what really changed was the increase in the polyunsaturated fats the consumption of polyunsaturated fats and and whereas the natural animal fats have gone have progressively decreased over the last 60 80 years and that we have to consider that that is just as important as the high carbohydrate does but it's escaped attention and I don't know why that is there's been little money I guess to study insulin resistant and the effects of the Omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids on it so yeah I think that that's an area that's worth looking into I I know in my own diet I find it difficult to get lots of Omega-3s it was short of eating lots of of fish or that's it's kind of difficult and when you go and look at the supplements you worry that those Omega-3s or else they're all fermented and they're not going to be good for you so I think that that's an area that's very worthwhile studying yeah no I completely agree I mean I do notice that my glucose control seems to be better when I'm on a low carb diet with high amounts of olive oil high amounts of macadamia nut oil uh you know really focus on the monounsaturated fats that are a little more stable I tend to notice that I have much more control than if I say completely throw that all to the wind and you know go only lean meats or only go high saturated fat without the implementation of monounsaturated so again that's all my own n of one right but but no but you're not in any one you're more than that because you're the the canary in the cage going into your mind because you you obviously are so sensitive that your body responds very quickly in particular ways like putting on weights and now you've noticed this I would take it very seriously I would I'd use you as a study I mean because if you wonder you really only need one experiment in life that's the key that you want to answer a question you got to get the right subject and do the right experiment and you are obviously a classic example of the type of person that needs to be studied to see how did the monounsaturated fats affect you or the polyunsaturated fats and see what happens I would you're a case study waiting to be done yeah well I'm I would volunteer myself because it's very uh it's it's intriguing I mean I've definitely noticed it's why I got passionate about what I do in the first place is because I've always taken an interest in in the interesting things that happen and I've always understood that I'm an outlier and understand that I've got kind of extreme examples but but with that you know I noticed a very very strong differences if I'm having uh if I'm eating a lot of let's say almonds or a high omega-6 type nuts I notice a very significant difference in my ability to manage carbohydrates effectively within my body whereas if I'm switching that more towards a Mediterranean focused where I'm really doing a lot more in the way of olive oils and doing a lot more uh you know I follow largely a Mediterranean low carb diet that's pretty much what I do because that is the only way that I can actually manage my glue glucose properly and the only way that I get proper cognitive function so it's while maintaining athletic performance can do do you have you tried coconut oil I'm just asking so interestingly enough yes I have and for the first four or five years of my weight loss I was living off of coconut oil you know that was a a very big piece for me and uh you know what I would find is that it actually did affect a number of things it affected uh my glucose a little bit negatively but not as much as say you know straight pulmonic acid like if I was going with a straight like uh even palm oil or going with another kind of saturated fat so definitely had a different impact there um yeah it was definitely not the same as if I'm having olive oil or avocado or macadamia nut oil very interesting because I'm not going to try that on myself because I have a good response I respond well to coconut oil yeah I would get a lot of energy from it and I would definitely notice athletic performance improvements um so what I would notice is that and I'll I'll give this as a caveat you know direct like C8 MCT oil is like crack cocaine for me so I hyper respond to that so perhaps I don't respond as well to the lauric acid to the longer chains but I do respond really well to like the chc10 because I mean it's it's to the point where that was I would give that to myself during longer runs because it wouldn't once I adapted to it it wasn't affecting me digestively so I would bring little packets of MCT oil maybe again once again psychological right but you know nine ten miles into a run just have a little bit of MCT oil and I'd perk right back up uh but I've always noticed that I respond very well to that not as much with coconut oil interesting so I'll be looking into that a little bit more with with greater intent because I always you know you always I always look at the anecdotes or the paradoxes and and your metabolism tells me that you're the perfect person to study the role of polyunsaturated monounsaturated fats on glucose control yeah it's it's wild all the way down to uh complexion circles under my eyes uh like quality of my skin it's really unreal uh but I tend to when I go low carb and I don't eat a lot of poly or monounsaturated fats I really too try to skew it towards the monos more you know I find myself eating probably too much in the way of saturated fat uh just because I default to that so there's there's things that I have to take into account as a result I'm eating more red meat I'm eating more saturated fat that way whereas when I'm more Mediterranean I'm eating more lean turkey lean fish lean chicken and I'm adding my fats sort of quote unquote exogenously if you will they're coming in from uh you know seeds and they're coming in from from nuts and oils so perhaps there's that equation as well right yeah I mean I did also notice my you know again I've been on a low carb diet for I guess close to 12 years now you know my total cholesterol is about 170.

You know it's like but when I was consuming when I was consuming coconut oil it was a little bit higher it was closer to you know it was just a hair over 200. granted the lot can change in 12 years so I'm not saying that coconut oil was a problem or was bad but I definitely think my lipids look better now than they did five or six years ago one of the things you know before we you know kind of wrap this up I always like to give practical takeaways you know if someone is let's just say a moderately healthy person there maybe just a little bit overweight they're not completely metabolically dysfunctional they're not an extreme athlete but they listen to what we're talking about they're like saying okay well what are practical pragmatic things that I can do to get myself more fat adapted to get myself into this state what what are a few things that people can do just as takeaways yeah I think the first thing that people the first mistake people do must make is that they have a sugar addiction or a carb addiction and you have to address that and I'll guess that was your problem yes when you when you put on lots of weight and that you address that so maybe you can answer that question yes that was a a huge huge huge component I mean that was uh that was probably the biggest problem I wouldn't even say I was consuming a very high fat diet at that point in time I was uh you know it was heavy heavy sugar I was drinking you know eight or nine monster fully leaded Monster energy drinks per day um yeah you know and it just turned into a vicious vicious cycle ultimately to a point where it was a really bad time of my life where I was you know I would I would drink eight or nine Monster energy drinks and then take benzodiazepines at night to calm myself down it was not a good not a good time of my life but uh so but yeah probably close to four 450 grams of carbs per day I mean pretty ridiculous yeah so I think that that's the first point you have to get the the Cravings under control that's all the people that we help we help them by getting rid of their cravings and they do that by eating the diet that you're prescribing either the Mediterranean diet or or more animal-based animal saturated fat based diets people must eat real foods you mustn't eat Ultra processed foods and you can't be healthy we're eating Ultra processed foods it doesn't matter how far you're running or how much you're swimming or how much you're cycling if you're eating Ultra processed foods as the main staple of your diet you're not going to be particularly healthy so that my takeaway is that eat healthily and then your performance will be good but your long-term Health which is what the key is and I think that being in a healthy state will improve your performance much more than eating a specific so-called athletic diet I don't I don't see that there's an athletic diet there's a very healthy diet and that's the diet one needs to eat that makes complete sense do you feel that micronutrients and micronutrient deficiency play a role in our ability to athletically perform or you know because again there's people out there that will say that it really doesn't matter as much as just the sheer macronutrient composition of our diet um but obviously I'm inclined to think that's not true I'm inclined to think that micronutrients play a very big role but I'm curious your take on that or if you've seen anything that paints a very clear picture of that it's a completely understudied area because the macronutrients are the ones that are studied and you know I've been in this field for what 40 years and it's always macronutrients we don't talk about micronutrients and what we've shown is macronutrients make no difference so that's so that's the key I don't I don't believe the macronutrients really make any difference but the micronutrients could well but the only argument against that is that you look at the world's best marathon runners and they are eating a micronutrient deficient diet I have no doubt about it it's a highly grain-based diet and it's not a healthy diet so you can get by in some way how is it maybe that those remember we focus on a tiny proportion of all the world's runners and they might be there only because they don't have a micronutrient deficiency because they're metabolically slightly different that's a very good point we've got microbiomes different and the I had I also had a theory that just depends on what you said you look at okay most Ultra marathoners most Ultra endurance athletes their their diets are nutritionally void of a lot of micronutrients like you said heavy grain based okay well in that same vein we also see the highest instance of upper respiratory infections and a lot of time you know they try to correlate that with glutamine they try to correlate that with just running their bodies into the ground and I'm thinking just as you said I can't help but think is this their diet because I've grown up around Runners and seemingly healthy people with uh that a lot of times and you've probably seen it too some of these Runners can be tremendous Runners but when they're 50 years old they look like they're 70.

Yeah and absolutely and it's like is it the micronutrients or is it just the uh amount of Ross that they've generated by beating their bodies up we may never know but I mean I have to ask those questions right because it's like is their diet just void of the nutrients of their immune system is suffering I mean it's uh it's hard to tell well I think also I think that micronutrients vitamins as well and I would go back to to other people um Western price for example I just missed his name for a second who goes around the world and discovers people eating their traditional diets and being much healthier this is in the 1930s as you know and what did he say it came down to special foods and with and it turns out it was William D3 and K2 probably two of the key vitamins that that were important and this is a sad story but the guy who Who I Really aspired to be like who taught me my PhD who would not allow me to eat any saturated fat who would throw away the bacon and the eggs he literally would come in if he saw you eating baconetics he'd throw it on the floor he died a crumpled up old man with dementia and the answer in my view was that he just not didn't get enough fat he didn't get enough of the fat soluble vitamins and his spine just collapsed and I'm at now 73 looking around people my age and I look and see are they in this position have they got the the Dead Man's Curve or are they able to do that have they got some flexibility in their spine and I just think that the more carbs you eat you just get into this position that movement of course with training will help but I just see that inflexible spine from from Bad nutrition and then at my age I should probably be in an old age home because but there in the old age home everyone looks terrible because what are they eating they're eating this rubbish the cereals and grounds and then but that's interesting now coming back to your points that the the scientists who are studying Runners with shin splint particularly girls they say oh it's because they're not getting enough calories that that's not the story they they're not getting nutrition proper nutrition that's what's happening and they they nutrition nutritionally deficient and they're not getting the micronutrients that they need makes complete sense I mean to me it's the body is perfectly capable of using its own on hand Energy Systems and I think when we look although I understand thermodynamics I understand that discussion I'm not I'm not trying to discount it because I know people like to kind of attack that but I think that we also need to understand that the body is very very keen on being able to pull from its existing stores and that includes a recovery and uh I think the problem is quite the opposite is we we baby the body almost too much in that sense you know we don't allow it to actually utilize its own stores now and then so we've in essence sort of enabled it like you enable a spoiled child right actually yeah quite agree with you and you know the fact that's the world's greatest athletes uh the in East Africa come from the poor communities and they haven't had great nutrition but yet they have survived and somehow they've survived and been successful tells me that the body is really capable of doing a more remarkable things oh that's amazing man well um before we go where can everyone find you and can you just uh talk a little bit about the Knox Foundation just so everyone can know where to find you and what you're all about sure Thomas so my father died of type 2 diabetes and I watched him die and because I was a medical doctor I should have been able to help him but of course I couldn't because he followed the same standard treatments which kills you if you have diabetes so I developed type 2 diabetes probably genetically but also because of the high carb diet and the highest polyunsaturated fat diet that we ate and I've reversed it on the low carbohydrate diet and so I basically should already have com significant symptoms and complications because my dad died 10 years after the diagnosis I'm now 13 or 14 years after the diagnosis so I'm not saying I'm going to live forever but I'm doing okay now and I think it's only because of the low carbohydrate diet so I wanted to educate the public and Physicians about the low carbohydrate diet so we formed the Nokes foundation and our Focus was originally to do research on low carbohydrate diets and bring this to the public and next month we have one of the real achievements of the next Foundation which is astonishing we got 62 of the world's leading low-carb people to write chapters for a textbook which we're coming out in one month's time 250 000 words of the very best people describing what low carbohydrate diets do for every single organ in the body it's a medical textbook the first medical textbook and what we show is the low carbohydrate diet is the most studied diet in the world it's also the most effective so now no one is going to be able to say there's nothing we don't know anything about the low carb diet it's dangerous there's the evidence so that was the first thing the second thing we've done is that developed an organization called the nutrition Network because we focused we wanted to focus on teaching doctors the low carb movement and so we have a series of programs that we offer on via the Internet and people can purchase these programs and teach themselves all about the low carbohydrate diets and its use in in medicine so those are the two of the main functions our third one is eat better South Africa campaign where we tried to get good nutrition to the poorest people and to show that that even poverty people in poverty can still eat a much better diet than the diet that they're currently eating so those are some of the things we're doing and the fourth thing we're we're about we're trying to raise money and I just mentioned that we're trying to raise money for a for a documentary on my career and life and that's being organized by Danelle O'Neil who produced the film the serial killers and a couple of other very famous documentaries so that would be one of the fourth projects that that we're doing well I'll put a link down below to the kickstarter for that as well thank you so much that would be lovely so if you want to contact me you can follow me on on Twitter at Prof terminals I'm quite controversial as you can see and I'll tackle I tackle issues of the day and I just think we are we've got many real issues that go well beyond nutrition in the world today absolutely man absolutely and you know I I love I love your piece on uh people want to check some stuff out there's some an interesting piece you've put out on academic bullying which I think is very fascinating and very very real and it happens on on social media too where you sort of if you if you have any opinion that is slightly different you tend to get uh you know just a cloud of noise surrounding you and it's uh it's it's right yeah so anyhow it's just interesting so everyone can kind of check that stuff out too well uh Professor I appreciate your time and uh I'll make sure I link out to all your social channels and everything below and you have a good evening there thank you it's been a privilege and a pleasure to speak to you thank you and I wish you all success with everything you do

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