.....and the truth about fat
So the big news this week in the world of entertainment was that Tom Hanks has Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). I got excited when I saw this. Not in any inhumane, uncaring manner. No, I was excited because I thought about the impact of star power on health issues.Read More
Dear Mr Brennan
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! on achieving 3rd place in the “Biggest Selling brands in Ireland” groceries ranking!
Brennan’s Bread really is an iconic name in Ireland – I would love to know how you got there? The fact that bread is so cheap to make and really popular must have been a great help, right?Read More
Research conducted into the Nutritional content of infant commercial weaning foods in the UK has revealed that the foods are unfit for purpose i.e they lack the nutrition required by growing infants. Further, the sugar content of baby foods was found to be pretty extreme.Read More
Why did the chicken cross the road?
I will give you $1 billion (in cash, not bitcoins) if you can answer correctly. I promise.
So now you have a few choices. You can choose to make something up and hope I am a very honest billionaire (due to the mega success of the Cereal Killers movie of course) who shares your very precise view of the world about why chickens cross roads. Alternatively, you could try gathering a large number of chickens and observe them crossing a road, draw a conclusion from that and construct what you believe to be a “correct” answer accordingly.Read More
While the benefits of Grass Fed Meat are a given, the affordability factor is often used as an excuse for NOT consuming it. Now this is a Great 8 Fatty Food so I figured it was important to counter these claims in a measured manner. The measure I’m referring to is of course financial – because that seems to be the crux of the matter!Read More
The war on processed food will not be won with medical facts or an abundance of real food. Sure, they are pieces of the puzzle, but big lies backed by big $ DOLLARS create perceptions that over time manifest as reality – however distorted.
Coke wins because they create the playing field before inviting debate – their turf, their terms.
Now I am a big fan of Seth Godin (marketing genius!).Read More
Malcolm Galdwell’s “BLINK” is a tremendous read. In a (macadamia preferably…) nutshell, Gladwell tells us that experience married to a fearlessness to make decisions on gut instinct can in fact be a powerful recipe for a successful outcome. The caveat of course is that you must have the experience in the first place.
No-one can deny that Tim Noakes has such experience.
Whether applying the central governor theory to performance, framing exercise associated hpynotremia (EAH) as a “thing” or dipping Lewis Pugh in freezing cold water to come out with “anticipatory thermo-genesis,” Tim Noakes has challenged norms, chunked information and changed perceptions of the role sports science plays.
He has BLINKed because he is qualified to do so.
If (as some are now saying) he is an anarchist, then he is more of the Beatles than the Sex Pistols variety. That he has delivered so much to his profession and increasingly, the general public in South Africa (and beyond) is just a fact. The accusations that he has suddenly “lost the plot” or that he is straying outside his boundaries in a world where pop stars peddle diet drinks is just preposterous.
Among sports scientists, his ability to transcend the confines of an industry built around elite sporting performance – some 0.001% of the population? – is unique (can you name another sports scientist?).
He is relevant.
The pretenders to his throne, the straw men of “science”, ask for data and proof and assurances.
But they are missing the point.
When Tim Noakes BLINKs, it’s time to THINK.
The great man “retires” today, but the lion of the Lore will roar long into the night.
Disclosure: Tim Noakes featured in Cereal Killers and he’s back again in Cereal Killers 2. The view from his shoulders is pretty cool….
One of the underlying benefits of becoming fat adapted is the ability to quite comfortably thrive without food for 10, 12 or even 16 hours. While filming Cereal Killers 2 during the summer I unexpectedly reaped the benefits of this thanks to “the fastest way to Heathrow” (i.e The Heathrow Express).
After 60 days of planes, trains and automobiles and laden down with budget film makers’ baggage (think schoolboy with too many satchels), the prospect of rush hour Tube traffic and soaring temperatures in central London was pretty grim. 60 minutes on a tube or 15 on the The Heathrow Express? I decided my hard drives and I would play it safe and travel at speed, in comfort.
Having skipped breakfast earlier in the day (no grand plan, I just do so now and then when I don’t feel hungry) and enjoyed a hearty lunch of bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomato, my plan was simple. 2 hours in the airport would leave ample room for dinner and stocking up for the connecting long haul flight the following day.
Unfortunately, the Heathrow Express had other ideas -
18.10 Ahhhh yes. We cruise out of London Paddington. ETA 18:25. Flight departure time 20:20 and I am checked in. It’s all good.
18:15 I am curious how the “fastest way to Heathrow” could be so bold as to come to a complete halt…..
18:25 Shouldn’t we be in Heathrow?
18:30 The politely timid apologies (and excuses) dry up and we retreat to London quicker than the English football team.
18:40 Change to a shiny new train (also promising to be the fastest way to Heathrow)
18:50 This is clearly not the fastest way to Heathrow either.
19:00 For the first time in the 15 year history of the Heathrow Express there are no staff or ticket collectors to be seen. Anywhere. We creep to a halt, again.
19:10 Encore un fois? The French do slower food and faster trains than the Brits. They also beat them in football, eat more fat and have less heart attacks.
19:20 I am watching London go nowhere through my window, wishing I was on a TGV with wild boar saucisonne – the fatty acid real food marvel I had in my pocket (but not for long) 10 days earlier.
19:50 My flight is boarding but I am still on the fastest way to Heathrow.
20:10 Purchase new flight departing NOW (then nearly miss it too).
07:30 (NEXT DAY) I see food again – a full 18 hours after yesterday’s lunch. That’s no crisis. In fact, fasting has some incredible benefits for the body so it’s reassuring to know that eating like a Cereal Killer can make it much easier to try.
Top tip – F.A.T is also pretty useful for long haul travel – that plane food ain’t much fun!
And of course…LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I personally don’t schedule fasts. They just happen now and then when my body feels like a break and the fat burning engine is roaring.
Don’t Fear Fat!
Cereal Killers 2 – “RUN ON FAT” is fat burning it’s way through a 30 day kickstarter campaign right now. Are you running with us yet?
1. What exactly is a low carb diet to you folks? Is it 50g, 100g or 160g per day? No-one seems to agree on this and let’s face it you’re pretty smart people so this should be easy to agree on. Can’t you all just pick a number out of a hat or something? It’s all a bit confusing.
2. Are you in a hurry? Dietary interventions for health trials typically last a minimum of 4 weeks and up to 12 months in some cases. Why do some very smart folks think that a 5 or 7 or 14 day fat adaptation period is sufficient for an objective analysis of the fat fueling hypothesis?
3. “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” When you study “performance” at a single point in time is that not a bit like studying a room through a keyhole? Do you like to dance yourself?
4. Does recovery or career longevity not interest you very much because you’re in a hurry and it’s not as sexy as performance? I ask because fat adaptation seems to lower markers of inflammation which must be helpful for those things, right?
5. If an athlete habitually eats say 75g/carbs and 70% fat daily but then 1-200g/carbs on the day of a competition, would you say that athlete is not LCHF at all and is in fact a carb cheat? Should carb cheats be banned?
6. The current world high jump record is 2.45 by Javier Sotomayor. It’s been around way too long. Mutaz Essa Barshim jumped 2.43 this year. Now, I know he’s lean as hell but if he could drop even 0.5kg on a well formulated LCHF diet and retain his power don’t you think that might help him get there or would the ketones kill him first?
7. On a scale of 1 to 10, how scared are you of ketones?
Cereal Killers 2 – RUN ON FAT is coming soon
This question struck me yesterday after an enthusiastic barrage of tweets from sports scientists, nutritionists and carb fueling evangelists reacting strongly to the “Run on Fat” narrative (their word but we like it!).
The exchange went on for some time, gathering new participants, interested followers, and supporters on both sides. Even Zach Bitter (world 12 hour ultra record holder) chimed in. Aside: Hope to meet him one day – schoolteachers have my respect, but when they can also run non stop for 12 hours faster than anyone on the planet, that’s another level right there.
Anyway, this all seemed fairly healthy at first even if there was some confusion from the get go. The initial tweet that kicked it all off suggested that “the future of endurance performance is LCHF.” While this would be consistent with our narrative, the reposte (that there is no evidence supporting lower carb fueling for high intensity Olympic sports) that triggered the escalation was a bit like ordering a latte in a tea house – close to relevant but nonetheless misplaced. The tweeter was unknown to me but seems to be a respected Canadian sports scientist.
That being the case, since when does a very qualified sports scientist not understand the significance of the term “endurance” in the context of performance? And since when do myriad others of a supposed scientific persuasion jump in without checking the authenticity and origin of the narrative?
These are some smart folks, so it strikes me that the only logical answer is when they choose not to. That their pistols are cocked and carb loaded makes sense. Carb loading does what it says on the tin. It works. It’s easy to prescribe, understand and follow. Heck, the science has even supported it since Ron Hill won the European Marathon title as far back as the late 60s. It is the Acropolis of sports nutrition. I have done it myself. Why bother questioning it?
The problem is this. Sports science looks at performance from a very acute, performance centric perspective. The positive implications of a low carb fueling strategy reducing inflammatory markers in an athlete don’t really add up to much in that context.
Or do they?
Athletes and coaches know that nailing it on the day is a multifactorial process. The scientists do too, but they will never 100% replicate the competitive environment in a lab and they know this too. They do what they can with what they have. That they will never have enough is the very reason they get to do what they do.
When Sir Steve Redgrave developed Type 2 Diabetes just 3 years after powering his way to a 5th Olympic rowing gold medal, the scientists were long gone. They were not there because they don’t care. A retired Redgrave is just beyond their scope now. But did decades of carb loading (as would have been advocated by GB Rowing nutritionists) to fuel his superhuman performances contribute to his illness? It is a valid question with implications for athletes and their advisors.
Is there not a duty of care beyond the field of play?
If you ask them they will say Redgrave is an anecdote. But if he is an anecdote now, was he not an anecdote when he won 5 golds? Prof Tim Noakes believes no athlete requires more than 200g of carbs/day. Could Redgrave have trained in a lower carb state with some strategic carb uploading on race day to similar effect? If the greatest Olympian of them all had switched his energy tank towards fat adaptation, would he not now be diabetic?
We don’t know.
As filmmakers we ask questions and try to answer them best they can. The narrative we use to do so is in our world equivalent to the data our scientifically minded commentators are screaming out for – it is what we use to weave a story, build drama and ultimately reach and deliver a conclusion.
It is revealing, refreshing and welcome when scientists respond as they did yesterday. I hope they come back with the increased heart rate variability required to engage in a more thoughtful exchange.
Sprinters need carbs they scream? Yes, of course they do. Powerlifters? Different. Split second explosive events where power to weight ratio matters enormously are interesting in this context.
Take high jumpers. That’s an Olympic sport, right? If a high jumper can knock 0.5kgs off an already lean frame, improve their power to weight ratio and reduce niggles with those lowered markers of inflammation accessible with a low carb diet, that could be the 0.5% he/she needs to win.
1968 Olympic high jump champion Dick Fosbury (below) did not wait on “science” to identify a quantum shift in the technique of his chosen discipline. The Fosbury flop (the technique you see used to this day) put its predecessor – the “western roll” – to sleep and the sport moved on to breach the 8 foot barrier. More than any scientist, the great Cuban Javier Sotomayor has Fosbury to thank for that achievement. He knows it and the scientists know it too.
Sotomayor competed at 81kgs. At a weight of 80 or 80.5kgs with no loss of power, what could he have done?
How could the possibility of adding 1 cm to the high jump world record not interest a sports scientist?
In the fat adaptation debate, the lazy scientific eye looks to Kenyan endurance athletes who eat 75% carbs. “Look!” they shout. We all need carbs!! Thankfully, the dreamers and the thought leaders look to the sky and think how much higher Sotomayor may have flown with 0.5 kgs less on his 6’5” frame.
Kobe Bryant didn’t wait for a double blind trial to tell him what his body already has. Likewise Mitchell Johnson, ICC Cricketer of the Year and the fastest bowler in the world right now (who happens to be built more like a 400m Olympian) has the skin folds and a fat fuelled 150 mph arm to prove it’s working for him. But there is only one Mitch Johnson. Should he not stop until a double blind trial tells him his low carb, high fat regime is paying dividends?
It’s like this.
The horse has bolted.
The athletes are coming.
And so are we.
Disclosure: The movie Cereal Killers 2: “RUN ON FAT” is not financially supported, endorsed or influenced by any third party commercial or other interests. We are raising funds and pre-selling on kickstarter through Dec 13, 2015. Support us here.