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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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.