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Professor Tim Noakes

Prof Noakes was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1949. As a youngster, he had a keen interest in sport and attended Diocesan College in Cape Town. Following this, he studied at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and obtained an MBChB degree in 1974, an MD in 1981 and a DSc (Med) in Exercise Science in 2002.

In the early 90s, Noakes teamed up with Morné du Plessis to drive the founding of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). The Institute was built to provide a facility that would primarily fund research in sports performance. The application of this research would provide sports personnel of all disciplines with the means to improve. Noakes and du Plessis also wanted to use it as a platform to build public interest in the country’s top sports people and build state pride.

Prof Noakes has published more than 750 scientific books and articles. He has been cited more than 16 000 times in scientific literature, has an H-index of 71 and is rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

His book, Lore of Running, is considered the “bible of the sport”. Among his other published works are: Rugby without Risk; Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket co-written with the late Bob Woolmer; his scientific autobiography, Challenging Beliefs, and Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports.


Cannes Grand Prix Award - 2002

In 2002, Prof Noakes was awarded the International Cannes Grand Prix Award for Research in Medicine and Water for his work on exercise-associated hyponatraemia (EAH). This work is considered one of the 40 most important “persons or events” in the sport of running in the past four decades.

Elected as Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (UK) - 2008

In 2008, he was elected an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (UK), the first foreigner recognised as such. That same year, he received the Order of Mapungubwe, Silver, from the President of South Africa for his “excellent contribution in the field of sports and the science of physical exercise”.

Lifetime Achievement Award - 2012

In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Research Foundation for his contribution to sports science research and in 2014 the Gold Medal of the Southern African Association for the Advancement of Science.

Marathon Man

He has been physically active all his life and has run more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, including seven Comrades Marathons. Now well into his sixties, he still runs 21km races regularly.

  • Prof Noakes
  • Prof Noakes
  • Prof Noakes

The Start of a Revolution

After coming across research which denounced current international dietary guidelines as fallacy, Prof Noakes started researching the effects of carbohydrates, proteins and fats on the human race.

After his research convinced him that a high fat, low carb diet is the healthiest option for many, Prof Noakes founded The Noakes Foundation in 2012.

After being left frustrated by a decline in his personal health, Prof Noakes has made it his mission to reverse this global trend. The Noakes Foundation is the catalyst for this change. It seeks to reveal what genuine healthy nutrition looks like and, in doing so, make a difference in the lives of millions of people.

The Legacy of Prof Noakes

Prof Noakes retired as Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town in 2014 and is now an Emeritus Professor at UCT. While his career has seen him involved in some controversial circumstances, love him or hate him, you cannot deny his contributions to scientific research.

The Noakes Foundation's Research and its Team