Category Archives: Real Meal Revolution Review

A review of The Real Meal Revolution Conclusion

This is the last of the reviews of The Real Meal Revolution, conclusion by  T. Noakes et al

A good marketing plan has to have 3 main parts

  1. A believable back story, not necessary true, just believable.
  2. A hero or face of the marketing campaign.
  3. Controversy.

This book has a fantastic marketing plan behind it. It has the back story, not 100% accurate, but believable. It has the hero, the nutty professor Tim Noakes. And it has Controversy! Cholesterol and eating animal fats!

I have to admire them for that. The book has sold over 100 000 I think, so that is a good profit. They are now offering a program, very expensive almost R3000.00, to extend their line.

The book, for me, was something of a disappointment. The inaccuracies and massaged facts are not acceptable practice.

If you want to buy the book as a cookbook, then that is great. The recipes are excellent. Take the story with a pinch of salt.

A couple of comments.
The authors speak of top athletes before the 1960’s. They all ate meats with fat and had little carbohydrates. There is a quote about eating bread and potatoes. Why would anyone compare what an athlete did prior to the 1960’s? All their world records have been broken by modern athletes eating a totally different diet. Not that diet is the only factor contributing to this.

Please remember Insulin Resistance (IR) does not make you fat. You become Insulin Resistant when you get fat! This is a very important distinction. The first is an excuse, the second takes responsibility. If you want to live a healthy life you have to take responsibility for it.insulin resistance

The cholesterol conundrum is still under review. I have a document from the Harvard Medical School that I am reading at the moment. I have a number of other sources as well that I am looking into.

What are your 2 most important questions you have about the Banting lifestyle? Please email them to me neil@bantingdiet.org.

A review of The Real Meal Revolution (Cholesterol) Part 4

Continuing our review of The Real Meal Revolution, cholesterol issue.

In the book and other posts on the Internet, Noakes and his co-authors refer to the cholesterol question. They always say that science has proven that cholesterol and heart conditions are not linked. In one place it is said that cholesterol is packed against the blood vessel walls to stop inflammation caused by glucose. That is a little strange. The modern view is that excess glucose in the blood causes inflammation of the blood vessels walls which then cause the cholesterol,  packed against the blood vessels walls, to break away and form a floating clot or embolism

I am not saying Noakes is wrong about cholesterol or that he is right. I wish he and his co-authors will reference the studies so we can read them ourselves. They must be independent studies and not one he carried out himself.cholesterol-levels-chart

What we must remember is that the prescription industry on cholesterol lowering drugs is a $18 billion industry in the US alone and so I’m sure the drug companies are not about to rush out and kill that golden goose.

I am also very sceptical of research paid for by drug companies, as there is a financial incentive to find what they want to. There is a very enlightening article in my favourite magazine, Scientific American, on this topic.

This is an extract of an email I received from the Harvard Medical School
‘There are several steps you can take to lower your cholesterol level, like losing weight if needed, being more active, and choosing healthy foods. Here are three simple steps toward a healthier, cholesterol-lowering diet:

Choose healthy fats. Avoid saturated fats, which increase unhealthy LDL levels, and steer clear of trans fats, which both raise LDL and lower protective HDL. Instead, substitute healthier unsaturated fats, found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.’

A direct contradiction of Noakes and company. So you can make up your own mind.

My opinion is that cholesterol is not as big a problem as the drug companies would have us believe. I do not watch the fats that I eat except for trans-fats. However, I do believe in moderation, and I do believe in exercise. It has been shown that exercise reduces your cholesterol levels as well as a host of other good things.

A review of The Real Meal Revolution Part 3

Furthering my review of The Real Meal Revolution Part 3 – Banting Diet

Let me repeat myself, I do like this eating plan. Replacing carbohydrate with fats as an energy source in our diet is a good thing. It is not a new idea, it is one that has been resurrected by the authors.

Interestingly, Mr Banting’s booklet stirred up a lot of controversy when he published it. It put the medical noses out of joint, something like today.

The more I read the book the more disappointed I become especially with Noakes. The other authors never claim to be scientists so a book written by them that was a marketing tool is accepted. However, Noakes puts his name to this book and it’s pseudo-science and tries to legitimise it. It is no wonder that his peers are criticising him, unfortunately he deserves it. I personally am very disappointed in him.

I want to discuss Carbohydrate Intolerance and Insulin Resistance.

merck manualCarbohydrate Intolerance. The Merck Manual says this about it ‘Carbohydrate intolerance is the inability to digest certain carbohydrates due to a lack of one or more intestinal enzymes. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal distension, and flatulence. Diagnosis is clinical and by an H2 breath test. Treatment is removal of the causative disaccharide from the diet.’ The most common being lactose (milk) intolerance.

You will notice the symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance, diarrhoea, abdominal distension, and flatulence, no weight gain. No weight gain because the body is unable to absorb the specific carbohydrate at all. It stays in the intestine and therefore cannot be used by the body in any way and cannot contribute to weight gain or any other bodily function except diarrhoea.insulin-resistance

Insulin resistance is a real condition. Insulin resistance is the excuse the doctors give their overweight and obese patients to make them feel better about their condition. I have heard it so often, ‘The doctor says I am insulin resistant that is why I am overweight’. Another way of saying, ‘It’s not my fault I am fat’. I feel like finding the doctor and slapping him or her a few times. You do not get fat because you are insulin resistant, you are insulin resistant because you are fat. This is an important distinction. The first, ‘I am fat because I am insulin resistant’, indicates there is nothing I can do about my weight. The second ‘I am fat and that has caused my insulin resistance’, indicates this is a reversible condition, all I have to do is lose weight.

Insulin resistance is the cells protective mechanism prevent excessive amount of glucose entering the cell. Glucose it cannot use or store. Glucose that would be detrimental to it if it were to enter the cell. From the individual cells point of view, let someone else deal with the excess glucose in the body. Reduce the amount of glucose and the problem goes away. To do this replace carbohydrates with fats, which are broken down slower resulting in a more stable glucose blood levels. Too much fats, however, will also result in too much glucose in the blood and result in insulin resistance.

Noakes says as he and other athletes such as Bruce Fordyce got older and put on weight they became insulin resistant. If it were the other way around they would have had issues with the problem when they were much younger. As they got older the intensity of their training dropped yet they probably continued on the same diet, ie their energy input stayed the same yet their energy output has dropped. I had a mountain bike accident and broke my shoulder so I haven’t been able to do any exercise for 3 months. I have continued to eat the same as before and have put on a few kilograms, and I use this type of eating plan, and have done so for years, and have never put on weight, because my energy input and output were in balance, now they aren’t.

As I said in the beginning, I like this eating plan. I have been doing it for years. The book is a marketing exercise and is full of inaccuracies and I am sorry I wasted my money on it. The recipes are good though.

For me the inaccuracies and pseudo-science of this book is a real problem. It casts doubt on a legitimate eating plan which has now been tainted by this book.

A review of The Real Meal Revolution Part 2

bad-cholesterolThis is the second part of my review The Real Meal Revolution part 2. I am making it as detailed as possible.

On page 21 the author refers to a study by Ancel Keys in 1955, which according to the author, erroneously highlighted the effects of fat on cholesterol. I have not read that study so I cannot comment directly on that statement. However I have read an article in my favourite magazine, Scientific American, called ‘The Cholesterol Conundrum‘, November 2011 by Francie Diep. This article discussed 2 studies, one in 2008 and the other in 2011. These both showed that cholesterol Scientific American, called 'The Cholesterol Conundrum', November 2011levels and heart disease are not directly linked. The 2008 study showed that lowering the LDL (bad cholesterol) did not always decrease the heart attack and the 2011 showed that increasing the HDL (good cholesterol) also did the same.

In 2011 the US doctors wrote 250 million scripts for cholesterol lowering drugs, an $18.5 billion industry. So I can understand the pressure from the medical profession and drug companies to keep this alive.

In another article I read, which compared 3 types of cholesterol altering medication, 2 for lowering LDL and 1 for raising HDL, the study showed that 2 of the 3 drugs had no effect on the final length of life of the patient, ie they a died at around the same time as the rest of the population. The 3rd drug, a statin, increased the life of the patient by 10%, but this was attributed to the anti-inflammatory effect it has on the blood vessel walls.

These articles show me that cholesterol is probably not the evil that it is made out to be. So I agree with Prof Noakes and the other authors.

As a personal story I had a male customer talk to me about the Banting Diet. He was over weight and on all sorts of medication, couple of blood pressure tablets, cholesterol tabs, diabetes tablets. After going on the diet, he lost 17kg and is now just on one blood pressure tablet. He was very concerned when he first started about his cholesterol, but his doctor has now taken him off everything except one blood pressure tablet.

A review of The Real Meal Revolution Part 1

This is the first in a number of reviews of the book “The Real Meal Revolution” by Professor Tim Noakes et al

There are disturbing errors in this book which puts the entire conclusion in doubt. It has also shaken my confidence in Prof. Tim Noakes as a man of science. Given his credentials I would have expected him to have proof read the book and to have ensured all the facts are correct.

The more I read the book the more it seems to be a marketing effort rather than a factual book. The authors tell half truths, cherry pick their facts and twist them to their needs. The disturbing things is there is no reason to do so. The diet, eating plan, life style or whatever you wish to call it, has stood the test of time, the diet has been around since 1863, about 140 years.

The way of life is fantastic, just the book is not accurate. The recipes are great though.

fynbos ecoregion in south africa

fynbos types

On page 20 there is mention of Pinnacle Point, Cape, South Africa. During an ice age around 192 000 years ago, called the Marine Isotope Stage 6, man had all but died out due to the cold dry conditions in Africa at the time. There were few places that were able to sustain human existence. One such place was Pinnacle Point. It was unique, plenty of shell fish due to the Agulhas Current and the Benguela upwelling of nutrient rich cold water from the sea bottom and the incredible variety of plants, the fynbos. The fynbos is found only in the Cape, the southern tip of South Africa. These plants produce a geophyte, an underground energy storage organ. Other plants in the world produce these but as seems to be common in the Cape the fynbos geophyte is unique in that it is not very fibrous and is easily digestible.

The book mentions that the ‘Mossel Bay man’ ate fish, molluscs, a bit of meat and tubers (geophytes) and goes on to say he was the blueprint for all of us. Later on in page 23 they write ‘The only carbs our Pinnacle Point ancestors ate would have been seriously tough tubers (geophytes) with a low glycaemic index that would have taken ages to chew’. This statement is incorrect. The very reason that man was able to survive was due to the fynbos and it’s easily digestible, high energy, carbohydrate filled, geophytes.

So to base a diet on “Mossel Bay man’s” diet would mean we would be eating high carbohydrate foods, the exact opposite of what is recommended in the “Banting Diet”.

As I have mentioned I like this way of living and the fact that carbohydrates are not good for us and that we get our energy from fats. The “Mossel Bay man” was a product of a few million years of evolution before he became cryptophytethe “Mossel Bay man” and that evolutionary process and the couple of hundred thousand years of further evolution has resulted in us.

Although the basis of their argument is incorrect their final solution is correct.

I will explain the correct process in another article.

These facts regarding fynbos etc can be verified in the Scientific American, Special Edition, What Makes Us Human, Volume 22, Number 1, Winter Edition, When the Sea Saved Humanity, Page 53.

Further reading about fynbos on Wikepedia

A review of The Real Meal Revolution

From the outset of this review of “The Real Meal Revolution” let me state my position on a couple of things.

  1. I was a big fan of Tim Noakes
  2. I think replacing carbohydrate with fats as an energy source is a good idea.

This is a summary of my review of the book “The Real Meal Revolution” by Tim Noakes et al

Use the links below to go to the detailed reviews

This book is a marketing tool, it is not a book with any other credibility. I was expecting something a lot different from a “man of science”. My faith in Professor Noakes is deeply shaken. The facts have been twisted and massaged to fit into a story for the authors. There are so many errors in facts and logic that I wonder if Professor Noakes even proof read the book.

The three main parts of a marketing plan are in place here.
1. A believable back story, not necessary true, just believable. ( The Mossel Bay Man )
2. A hero or face of the marketing campaign. ( The ‘nutty professor’ )
3. Controversy. ( Cholesterol )

It has worked for them. They have sold over a 100 000 copies I believe.

Half truths and twisted facts are the order of the day in this book. It has been reduced to a common cookbook, nothing more. Take the story and the ‘facts’ with a pinch of salt.

The really sad thing is that the concept has stood the test of time. Banting first published his ‘weight loss pamphlet’ in 1863 over 150 years. There is no need to ‘edit’ the facts except to create the controversy required to sell the book. Noakes also plays victim and hero very well. The victim being attacked by conventional medicine and the hero saving the world from obesity.

As I said before using fats instead of carbohydrates for energy is a good idea. See the Science behind the Banting Lifestyle. It has been around for more than a 150 years and has been the base for many other diets such as Atkins and Paleo diets.

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