Carbs vs Protein?
wife and I are both ‘semi-retired’ ultra-distance runners who have been
struggling with our weight since reducing our running. My wife has recently
been diagnosed as pre-diabetic and has reduced her sugar intake drastically.
She is also trying to reduce her cholesterol. I am generally in good health,
but have to reduce my weight by about 8kg to get my BMI to 25. We read about
Prof. Tim Noakes, who has lost weight on a high-protein, low-carb diet. Always
trusting his opinion in the past, we started following his diet, using Dr
Atkins’ new book. It has been four weeks and we have not seen any drastic
reduction in weight, but would like to persevere with it. There seems to be a
lot of disagreement amongst dieticians on the effectiveness of it, and some
claim it to be dangerous to your health. – CHRIS
Noakes’ eating plan has caused quite a stir in the health industry. I get asked
about it daily, so I decided to call Tim myself, as I too have always respected
his views. I came to the conclusion that we are all trying to achieve the same
thing, but we are going about it in different ways. The end goal is to control
blood sugar and reduce stress on the pancreas in releasing insulin. Dieticians
know that a low-carb diet can achieve quick results, but we also believe that
we can get the same results following a more balanced way of eating, and this
includes a certain amount of carbs. The results may be slower, but they are
generally more palatable and sustainable.
prevents us from advising a low-carb diet are the consequences it can have if
not followed correctly. We see many people who have previously been on low-carb
diets and that have managed to lose weight, but then gain the weight back, and then
extra! According to low-carb diet advocates, there is no danger in terms of
kidney stress and bone health because you actually eat less in total, including
fat and protein, therefore no extra stress on the kidneys, etc. This may be
true if you follow the diet correctly, but how many people actually achieve
athletes, it seems that the verdict is out. According to Tim, people training
for shorter distances and at a higher heart rate would need more carbs to
sustain them. Longer distance athletes, who are running at a slower pace and
lower heart rate, can actually do well on a low-carb adapted diet. My advice to
you would be to find a dietician who can supervise and tweak your diet and
amount of carbs you need in order to achieve your weight and health goals.
Modern Athlete Expert
am training for my first Comrades and have always been a runner, but have not
done marathon distances before. I have suddenly been hit with what appears to
be ITB, and the physio has not been very helpful. Could you give me an
indication as to how long ITB takes to heal and whether I can run through the
pain? I have heard of ‘swim running’ to maintain fitness. Do you know how
beneficial it may be? – HAYLEY HARPUR,
The ITB is a band that runs
from the outside of the hip to attach just below the knee on the shin bone. As
the knee bends while running, the band may make contact with the bony protuberance
on the outside of the thigh bone, causing inflammation. The painful spot usually
disappears almost immediately once running is ceased, but will return once
running is resumed. It seems to be more prevalent in novices tackling long
distance running for the first time, and can be associated with wearing shoes
that are too hard, or more commonly with weak hip stabilising muscles.
Treatment includes running
within limits of pain and stopping once pain increases. It is important to
stretch and ice regularly, and strengthening of the hip abductors is essential.
Other treatments include physiotherapy, releasing the band with myofascial
release, anti-inflammatories, needles and taping. An injection of
hydrocortisone is sometimes prescribed, although seldom successful. A small
surgical procedure can also be performed, but should be considered only as a
last resort. ITB can take from a couple of weeks to several months to settle.
Cycling, swimming and pool
running are good alternatives to maintain fitness while recovering, and place
virtually no impact stress on the body. With pool running, the increased motion
resistance means the body has to work harder, resulting in improved strength
and fitness. Use a flotation jacket to keep your head above water while your
feet don’t touch bottom. Keep your head up and back straight, and lead with
your toes, sweeping your legs backwards and forwards. Bend your arms at right
angles and pump them up and down.