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.
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 the “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