BST Nutrition



Disclaimer & acknowledgements:


This information is based on information Dr Andre’ Hugo has obtained from the books listed below. It is shared because of his concern for the epidemic of obesity and associated poor health, which is becoming a feature of our society.

Dr Hugo does not claim to be an expert in the field of nutrition – anyone who follows this advice does so at their own risk. Prior to taking this advice, everyone, and especially people with compromised health, should consult their doctors or dieticians.


Summary – (all you need to know):


  • In order to lose weight you have to eliminate carbohydrates (even low GI carbs) from your diet, because carbs trigger high blood insulin levels and insulin keeps fat trapped in the cells
  • Weight loss is only possible when you maintain a low blood insulin level
  • Carbohydrates are addictive so it’s best to just give them up as opposed to trying to reduce your intake
  • Even yellow vegetables like corn, butternut etc. should be eliminated – instead eat lots of green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage etc
  • Fruit spikes your insulin levels more than any other food – insulin drops your blood sugar and you feel hungry
  • Dairy contains quite a lot of carbohydrates and is one of the most common food allergies/intolerances– eliminate milk and yoghurt, and don’t have too much cheese
  • All alcohol is very high in calories and disrupts your satiety centre – even white alcohol & dry wine
  • Unfortunately sweet-tasting diet drinks also increase your insulin levels, so even though they have no calories, they disrupt your metabolism and make you fat
  • Try drinking water during the day and treat yourself to a sparkling water or soda with low-cal lem-lime (low in cals and not sweet) and a slice of lemon at night
  • The good news is that you can eat as much protein and fat (excluding transfats like sunflower oil and margarine) as you want. Protein and to a lesser extent fat, trigger the satiety hormones leptin and depress the hunger hormone ghrelin. So protein and fat are appetite suppressants and also do not spike your insulin levels
  • Poor sleep (less than 7-8 hours) stimulates the hunger hormone ghrelin
  • Protein and fat sustain a prolonged steady release of energy so that you don’t get hungry quickly and a low level of insulin is maintained
  • Eliminating carbohydrates to lose weight is not a new concept. In 1918 a New York cardiologist, Dr Blake Donaldson, successfully used this approach to treat 17 000 obese patients.  This approach was accepted as common knowledge from 1920’s until the 1960’s when the focus shifted to the fatty (cholesterol) accumulations lining the coronary arteries of heart attack victims (during post-mortem examinations). Dietary fat was mistakenly blamed for these fatty arterial plaques and low fat diet became an obsession, promoted by medical world and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) However, it is now known that carbohydrates in our diet raise our cholesterol and not the fat in our diet
  • Between 1943 and 1952 Stanford, Harvard & Cornell Medical Schools independently published their diets for obese people stating that carbohydrates should be avoided and unlimited, meat, fish, birds, all green vegetables, eggs and fruit (excluding grapes & bananas) – These guidelines are now generally accepted except for the fruit because of the high fructose (sugar) levels in fruit
  • In spite of these recommendations the USDA adopted the Food pyramid in 1997 (1) and promoted it as being the healthy way to eat, most of the medical world bought into this fallacy, resulting in ever increasing levels of obesity, heart disease and cancer (1)
  • The basic message of Atkins in 1972 (Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution) has been proven to be correct and numerous studies notably one by researchers from Stanford university in 2007 have proved that eating a diet high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight and keep it off (8)
  • The high carb diet has been amazingly profitable for fast food, soft drink and sports drink companies as well as sectors of the agricultural, medical and pharmaceutical industries. Unfortunately it has not been kind to our friends, family and coworkers (2,3)
  • One should snack on biltong and almonds, pecans, macadamias or small amount of cheese (if you are not lactose intolerant)

The Basic Physiology of dieting – (more than you need to know):


  • The only way to reduce weight is to keep blood insulin levels low (1- 4)
  • Carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, sugars and fruits are the main cause of high insulin levels. The more refined and sweeter they are the more insulin is secreted (1- 4)
  • Even before you eat – especially carbohydrates – the blood insulin level is raised in anticipation (1)
  • Insulin removes blood sugar (glucose) from the blood partly by trapping glucose in fat cells
  • High blood glucose is toxic to all organs, not least the brain
  • Hormone dependant lipase (HPL) can extract glucose out of the fat cells for energy, but only in the presence of low insulin levels in the blood
  • Carbohydrates are addictive – they attach to the same receptors in the brain as cocaine and heroin
  • Like all addictions, often the best way of recovering from them is to go “cold turkey” – so no carbs at all while losing weight (except those in the recommended vegetables)
  • There are no essential carbohydrates so you will not suffer any nutritional deficiencies by eliminating them from your diet
  • Even yellow vegetables like corn, butternut etc should be eliminated because they have a high carbohydrate content – eat lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage etc instead
  • People who are at their ideal body weight & do not have insulin problems can safely eat moderate amounts of carbs and fruits
  • Calorie counting is not important. If you don’t eat carbohydrate you will not eat too much
  • Calories are not equal. 2000 calories of carbohydrates a day for example could make you fat but you could lose weight on 2000 calories of fat and protein
  • The good news is that you can eat as much protein and fat (not transfats like sunflower oil and margarine) as you want
  • Protein and to a lesser extent fat, trigger the satiety hormones leptin and suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin. So protein and fat are appetite-suppressants and also do not spike your insulin levels
  • Ketones are produced in the liver from fat that we eat and from fatty acids mobilized from our fat tissue. Ketosis is a natural state during the metabolism of fat with ketone levels before breakfast of 5mg/dl or the 5-10 mg/dl during a carbohydrate restricted diet. Mild ketosis is a desirable state since the brain and nervous tissues run more efficiently on ketones than they do on glucose
  • Ketoacidosis on the other hand is a pathological state as in uncontrolled diabetes with ketone levels exceeding 200 mg/dl
  • Carbohydrates do not suppress hunger (1)
  • Carbohydrates do not give you energy – they steal your energy and make you tired and ill from diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs because your cells are so used to receiving the signal from insulin to urgently remove glucose from the blood that they become resistant to the signal (insulin resistance) and the pancreas has to produce ever higher levels of insulin to protect your brain
  • Alzheimers and most cancers are associated with metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes and is now thought to be caused by high blood sugar and high insulin levels and some researchers refer to Alzheimers as type 3 diabetes (1)
  • This means that you live with constantly high levels of insulin which causes the body huge stress
  • Insulin causes Sodium retention by the kidneys which causes high blood pressure
  • Your body responds to stress by producing cortizol – chronically high levels destroy your metabolism
  • Cortizol and insulin work together to leach the Calcium from our bones, leading to osteoporosis. Some of this Calcium is excreted (risk of kidney and ureteric stones) and some is deposited in the lining of your arteries leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) (3)
  • Calcium supplementation is known to increase the risk of stroke and heart attack but magnesium supplementation is better because magnesium works synergistically with calcium reducing the calcium requirement. Magnesium also relaxes constricted arteries, lowering blood pressure while providing the right building materials for healthy bone (3)
  •  High stress levels destroy your libido and fertility because cortizol production competes for the same hormone production pathways that produce sex hormones
  • Fruit spikes your insulin levels more than any other food – this drops your blood sugar and you feel hungry
  • The only fruits you should eat every day are 1 small avocado and up to 4 tomatoes per day
  • All alcohol is very high in calories and disrupts your satiety centre – This includes white alcohol and dry wine
  • Unfortunately anything sweet spikes your insulin so drinking sweet tasting diet drinks or using sweeteners in your tea and coffee, are no help at all
  • A hormone, LPL (Lipoprotein lipase) works to make us and our fat cells fatter, whereas Hormone sensitive lipase HSL works to make us and our fat cells thinner
  • Insulin switches on LPL and switches off HSL and also works to create new fat cells
  • When you exercise LPL (lipoprotein lipase) decreases on our fat cells and increases on our muscle cells. This releases fat from our fat cells so we can burn it in our muscle cells. Unfortunately this reverses when we stop exercising and LPL activity on the fat cells shoots up to restock whatever fat they lost during the workout
  • After exercise we get hungry because the muscles crave protein after exercise to restock glycogen, fat and protein for rebuilding (1)
  • Exercise is very good for you for many reasons but not for weight loss
  • High insulin levels increase the LPL activity on the fat cells especially those around the abdomen, so pre-diabetes, diabetes type 2 and insulin resistance make you fat
  • Fat accumulated around the intestines (omental fat) acts as an endocrine organ producing hormones called adipokines. This contributes to metabolic disorder by leading to a chronic sub-inflammatory state that could play a central role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (5)
  • Metabolic disorder exists when an obese person has type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. When your metabolic disorder is cured, you will feel more energetic and you will be much more inclined to have some exercise
  • Many people with weight problems have got food intolerances so it’s safer to eliminate the major causes of food intolerances/allergies – these are grains, dairy and legumes. Nuts can also be a problem but most people with nut allergies know about them
  • Leaky gut syndrome: Can be caused by food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, stress, stomach flu, antibiotics, and just about anything that irritates the gut lining. Leaky gut refers to an abnormal permeability of the stomach and intestinal wall, allowing incompletely digested proteins to enter the blood stream. These proteins trigger an immune response and increase the likelihood of additional food allergies (5)
  • It is a misconception that grains are necessary for normal gut motility or that carbohydrate restricted diets cause   – there is plenty of fibre in vegetables (3)
  • Drinks: Only drink when thirsty (2). Drink sparkling or still water during the day, and, in the evening, make your sparkling water more interesting with, for example, low cal lem-lime (not sweet), a slice of lemon, lots of ice and a strip of lemon grass
  • If you drink tea (rooibos is better because it contains anti-oxidants) or coffee, have these without sugar, sweetener or milk for 1 week, and you will probably prefer always to drink it this way. No more than about 4 cups per day of either. Drink decaffeinated coffee after lunch to make sure you have 8-9 hours (3) sleep a night.
  • One of the features of our modern diet is a disturbance in the omega 3: omega 6 fatty acid ratio. This ratio should be 1:1-1.5 but our modern western diet results in a 1:6 ratio, because of the poor oils we ingest like sunflower oil and margarine (transfats)
  • Grass fed beef has a good balance of omega 3 to omega 6 and lower levels of antibiotics and hormones. If you cannot get grass fed beef, don’t eat a lot of the fat and take omega 3 supplements
  • Eat fish like hake, salmon, pilchards, sardines or shellfish at least once a week but large fish like tuna or swordfish no more than once a week because large fish like tuna have higher concentrations of mercury, which is toxic
  • Eating animal fat even lard actually lowers your blood cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol fraction (HDL & fluffy type LDL) – if you do not eat carbohydrates
  • Cholesterol especially bad cholesterol (LDL & small dense type LDL) increases when eating a high carbohydrate diet
  • Keep your sleep cycle normal: You must have a pitch-dark room so that your body can form melatonin, which enables sleep. You should have a naturally higher cortizol level in the morning, to get you up and hyped for the day (aided by caffeine). cortizol naturally drops to medium levels by mid-day, dropping to low levels at night. Stress, insulin and keeping irregular hours disrupts your sleep and spike belly-fat creating cortizol (9)
  • There is growing evidence that a diet high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids is largely to blame for a shift in the ratio between Th1 and Th2 immune cells causes increased production of IgE and certain cytokines, predisposing people to allergies (5)
  • Inflammation from food allergies/intolerances is thought to play an important role in atherosclerosis, arthritis, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome as in Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis) and a host of other health problems (5)
  • It is though to be possible although extremely difficult to maintain good health on a vegetarian diet (4). A lot of knowledge and regular blood tests are necessary to ensure that you do not suffer nutritional deficiencies.
  • Pregnant or lactating mothers and growing children can almost certainly not thrive on a vegetarian diet and will probably suffer from nutritional deficiencies, which could have dire consequences (4,6)
  • Soya consumption of more than 25 g per day is recommended since higher levels have been shown to be associated with hypothyroidism, so this previously recommended source of protein for vegetarians should only be eaten in moderation (1 soya patty is 80g)
  • Soy is a phytoestrogen, and therefore acts in the body much like a hormone, so it’s no surprise that it interacts with the delicate balance of the thyroid’s hormonal systems. High consumption of soy products are also proven to cause goiter (7)
  • Cheat day: Tim Ferris believes that you should have a cheat day, the same day each week, when you can eat whatever you like.  This has psychological advantages to counter feelings of deprivation for foods that you love (like fruit or even junk food). There are also physiological advantages because the basic metabolic rate slows down on a diet and according to Tim Ferris, cheat day elevates the metabolic rate to a higher level


Useful measurements:


  • Body mass index: Weight in Kg divided by length in metres squared. A value of 25+ indicates that you are overweight (ideal weight plus 10%) and a value of 30+ says you are obese (ideal weight plus 20%) (1)
  • Waist to hip measurement: Take the average of 3 measurements of the narrowest part of your waist usually above the belly button and divide it by the measurement around your hips. In males this should be 0.9 with 0.95+indicating a weight problem. In females this should be 0.7 with 0.8+ indicating a problem (1)


Exercise again:


For most people, exercise sabotages your diet but those fortunate few, who can successfully exercise and control their appetites, will lose weight faster because as your muscle mass increases you burn more energy even when not exercising (3).


For optimal cardio-vascular exercise you should push your heart rate up to 85% of it’s maximum  (220- your age). Intense exercise stimulates fat burning growth hormone and releases feel good endorphins


A good general principle is that one should not embark on an exercise program that you are unable to sustain long term, because the muscle you build will turn to fat when you stop exercising. Exercise need not be strenuous, for many people 2 hours of Yoga per week, and a few kilometers of walking or cycling are sufficient to maintain reasonable body tone and this intensity of exercise is generally sustainable indefinitely. 20-30 minutes a day of walking has been shown to reduce heart attacks and stroke by as much as 30% (3,4).





  • Age and sex specific multivitamins
  • Vit D: Even though we live in a sunny country, we avoid the sun because of skin cancer concerns and most of us are severely vitamin D deficient.
  • Vit D is critical for a host of metabolic functions like Fat metabolism, cancer prevention, autoimmune control, fertility, cardiovascular disease, has an anti-inflammatory action and counters insulin resistance & diabetes types 1&2
  • Vit D deficiency has been shown to play a role in almost every major disease
  • Vit D test: Correct test is called 25 OH(hydroxy) vitamin D. Range for optimum health is 50-80 ng/ml.
  • Vit D3 dosage:

–       Above 45 ng/ml take 2000 IU daily if fair & get more sun, but 4000 IU daily if older, darker and get less sun

–       35-45 ng/ml:  5000 IU of vit D3 daily for 3 months under doctor’s supervision then recheck

–       Less than 35 ng/ml:  10 000 IU of D3 daily for 3 months under your doctor’s supervision then recheck

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Most of us need at least 1000mg per day to restore the Omega 3: Omega 6 ratio. Our diets are too high in Omega 6
  • Magnesium – be sure there is adequate magnesium in your multivits and supplement if you have low bone density (osteoporosis)





  1. Why we get Fat and What to do about it: Gary Taubes
  2. Changing Beliefs: Tim Noakes
  3. The Paleo Solution: Robb Wolf
  4. The 4-Hour Body: Tim Ferris
  5. The Inflammation Syndrome: Jack Challem
  6. The 4-Hour Body Review: Eric Parker
  7. Anti-thyroid isoflavones from soybean: isolation, characterization, and mechanisms of action, Divi RL; Chang HC; Doerge DR, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA, Biochem Pharmacol, 1997 Nov, 54:10, 1087-96)
  8. The Battle of the Weight Loss Diets. Presented on YouTube by C Gardner, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center
  9. Master your Metabolism: Jillian Michaels with Mariska van Aalst

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