Carbo-Load of Crap

By T.J. Murphy

In Nutrition, Running

December 24, 2015

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T.J. Murphy explains how he ditched his traditional running diet, lost weight, didn’t bonk and felt better.

On Aug. 9 The New York Times published “Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away from Bad Diets.” The report focused on Coca-Cola’s financial support of a group of scientists pledging to fight the obesity crisis by calling for more exercise rather than intake of fewer calories.

The article created a backlash that set Coca-Cola in full retreat, and chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that stated the company would be more transparent about its funding of research. Kent’s piece created an additional wave of criticism.

Dr. Tim Noakes, best known in some circles for his research on hydration, is one of those who has in recent years publicly reversed his position and openly attacked soft-drink companies for their support of high-carbohydrate diets. In a January 2015 Primal Blueprint podcast, Noakes blamed high-carb diets for race fields crowded with “fat runners.”

“We have a half-marathon in Cape Town, and we did a study on the field. We found that 30 percent of the runners in the field were insulin resistant and obese,” Noakes said.

In a November 2014 Australian Broadcast Corporation interview, Noakes talked about his role in the overconsumption of sugar.

“I spent 33 years of my life telling athletes that they must carbohydrate load ... . And I was the first in the world to produce these GUs that people lived their races on. ... I apologize because that was completely wrong,” he said.

“GUs” are small packages of semi-solid energy paste, some with caffeine, that an endurance athlete can consume for an approximately 100-calorie infusion of carbohydrate. Noakes was referring specifically to Leppin FRN Squeezies, which he helped develop in the early 1980s. “FRN” was an initialism representing the inventors: F for Bruce Fordyce and R for Bernard Rose.

The N stood for Noakes.

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