News & events


Is the low fat diet the worst dietary advice in history?

22 October 2014
12:30 - 13:30

Chair: Prof. Charles Hongoro PHHSI/HSRC
Prof. Tim Noakes UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, UCT

Date:  Wednesday, 22 October    Time: 12:30  – 13:30

Venue:    VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban

The seminar by Prof Noakes  on “Is the  low fat diet the worst diet in history?” is part of a series of seminars organised under the Analysis of non-communicable disease policies in Africa (ANNPA) study. The purpose of the study is to build capacity and the knowledge base for the utilization of multi-sectoral approaches in policy formulation and implementation for NCD prevention in the region. 

Globally the main NCDs are cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung disease. The study analyses the South African NCD policies with a specific focus on the “Best Buys” – interventions that have significant public health impact, are cost-effective and can be implemented. Unhealthy diets, high blood sugar and physical inactivity are among the risk factors for diabetes. 
Prof Tim Noakes examines one of the chronic NCDs, diabetes, and addresses  elements of its prevention and control.  The adoption of the high carbohydrate low fat diets after 1977, as the official global (healthy) eating plan, has been followed with an epidemic of obesity and diabetes that appears uncontrollable.
Prof. Noakes believes that the cause of obesity and diabetes is due to the provision of addictive, highly processed foods, which induce over-eating in susceptible individuals. Thus the cure for the obesity epidemic is to reduce the consumption of highly addictive, carbohydrate-rich foods. This can only be achieved by substituting high fat, high protein foods. Unfortunately the public has been misled to believe that such diets are unhealthy because they increase the risk of heart disease. There is no good evidence for this belief.
The diet debate is critical for South Africa because it is my contention that a healthy population cannot be developed if our children are exposed to high carbohydrate diets from an increasingly young age. The optimum development of the brain at all ages requires diets that are high in protein, and especially fat, and low in refined carbohydrates.

The seminar may be attended in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban

RSVP by 21 October
Cape Town: Ray Adams (021) 466 7936,  12th Floor, Plein Park Building, Plein Street, Cape Town
Durban: Ridhwaan Khan (031) 242 5400,   1st Floor, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor
Pretoria: Arlene Grossberg (012) 302 2811,  1st  Floor, HSRC Building, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria