Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Prof. Noakes and the banting debate have come and gone. Needless to say he’ll be back (he likes PE). For the moment the storm has passed. Those entrenched in their high carb eating habits (the same people who seem to dislike him intently), can take a deep breath, pull up the couch, switch on the telly and relax.

As Tim (I had the pleasure of having coffee with him, so we’re kinda on a first name basis) says, “I’m an extremist”, so stirring passions comes with the territory. It’s worth mentioning that this extremism arose after becoming diabetic through his decades-long use of a strict high carb diet. It was quite by chance that he was exposed to the low carb/high fat (LCHF) nutritional approach. His life (utterly) changed from the moment he became seriously interested in this approach. His ‘aha’ moment with carbs came when he realized just how little was needed in order to maintain a healthy, lifestyle-disease-free body. He backs his approach on the basis of 24-plus scientific studies that validate the LCHF approach.

You may or may not buy what the Prof advocates. There are learned voices that question the approach – this isn’t a bad thing. In short, it isn’t the Holy Grail – it may work wonders for some and for others not move the scale much at all. But before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, you might want to consider that there are elements within the Banting approach that hold true for all eating lifestyles. These are the good bits; the bits that matter.

Everybody is the same; every body is different – know your own 

We’re all human so the same broad body principles apply, but each person – each body – is the sum of many different variables and is therefore unique. So the first bit to keep is this: know your own body. Know what makes you tick, what foods work, what foods don’t.

Go natural and organic as often as you can, and cut out the junk

Modern foods, especially processed foods, contain components designed to make you enjoy the experience but which give the body very little else of value. Our bodies are designed for the natural stuff. Processed carbs, sugar, starch and additives are the things to watch out for. Organically, humanely and ethically grown foods are the things to add. Budgets and access differ, but with a little work you can find the right vendors for your budget.

The 80/20; the 90/10; the good/bad ratio

Our bodies are quite capable of handling some rubbish, but each person’s threshold will differ. So give yourself a break, have that occasional chocolate but keep these foods to a minimal component. It’s not that carbs are evil, it’s the amount of carbs we consume (and what we do to those carbs before they’re eaten) that’s doing the damage. So experiment and find your own balance. If your staple diet is chocolate then maybe (just perhaps) you need a rethink.

It’s all down to you

Ultimately you’re the captain of your ship. You decide what to eat and when, who to listen to, what to ignore, who to idolize and who to vilify. My work is to help clients see through the forest, to find their own path, but ultimately my advice and coaching is only as effective as a client allows it to be.

So, listen to what Prof Noakes advises and listen to the Banting critics. Keep the bits that matter. You’re wise and intuitive enough to chart a course to your own happy body. Would you want it any other way?