On today’s Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we take a look at the ‘traditional’ thinking on nutrition and how to make it easier for your child to understand the LCHF diet without them being confused and influenced by their peers and teachers. We received an email from a concerned parent.
They are having a problem trying to explain the benefits of the Banting diet to their child. She says their son has a teacher at school who is dead against the Banting or LCHF diet. This child’s also had years of people telling him at school that he shouldn’t be eating fat because fat is bad for you.
Now the parents are giving him fat. He’s a bit confused and this parent is trying to make things a bit easier to understand for the child who is 13 years old. What’s the best way to explain the Banting or LCHF diet to kids?
Professor Tim Noakes: That’s a difficult one. I think that the way I explain it, is knowledge changes. When I give my talks and what I’ve written in Real Meal Revolution and elsewhere, is that we changed our diet in 1977. It changed on the basis of commercial reasons because big business wanted to promote grain sales in the United States of America.
Our thinking was flawed
It wasn’t because of any health reasons for the public. The change was not scientifically based. There was absolutely no evidence showing that if you changed to this grain-based diet, you would become healthy.
Forty years later we know we’re more obese and more diabetic, and that is almost certainly a direct consequence of our dietary change.
I think it’s a really good way to educate children is to teach them that actually knowledge changes. I always ask, do you know why do we have universities? Because we know everything? No, to teach us how stupid we are and the mistakes we make, and that knowledge moves on. If we knew everything, we wouldn’t need to have any universities.
We wouldn’t have professors. But we need professors and universities, because we don’t know the whole truth. I always tell my students 50% of what I tell you is wrong, but I don’t know which 50% it is. You’ve got to, we’ve got to work on it and find out which 50% it is.
So I think that children need to be educated. That knowledge is not absolute, and truth is not absolute. It changes. There is very good evidence that we got it all wrong when we started to tell people to cut the fat.
There is so much literature now about it.
Again, if the father’s confused he has to read the book, The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teichert. (Buy the book in South Africa here or internationally here) If he reads that book and still thinks that fat is bad for him, well then he must continue to cut fat out of the diet.
But if he reads that book and realises that fat has been demonised, and in fact it’s the sugar and the carbohydrate that should have been demonised, he will have learned something and his own health will benefit, and his children’s health will benefit as well.
It’s now time to move on
So in summary, children need to be taught at the age of 13 that truth is not absolute. It changes. We used to think the world was flat and so on, but we don’t think that anymore.
We used to think that the earth was at the centre of the universe. We don’t think that either anymore. Once we thought that fat causes heart disease. Now we know it doesn’t. We’ve got to move on.