He helped a research project in which hundreds of Canadians - 80% of whom were women - in their 50s either wanted to lose weight or deal with their insulin resistance without using drugs.
The researchers developed a lifestyle intervention for four rural settings in British Columbia, Canada, with specific rules in place: avoid foods containing sugar and other refined carbohydrates, don't undertake moderate or vigorous exercise until you reach your goal weight - this was for appetite control - and introduce a "high-fat diet" for weight maintenance once target weight has been reached.
The results of the study appeared in the August edition of the SA Medical Journal.
It was found that all 372 participants experienced weight loss of more than 12%. There were also "marked improvements in their cardiometabolic profile". Triglycerides - a type of fat found in the blood that raises the risk of heart disease if too high -dropped by more than a third in 119 participants, "probably a reflection of the reduced intake of starches and sugars". The study also documented "improvements in mood" among participants with mood scores indicative of depression.
It was also found that "one-on-one lifestyle counselling" was not as effective as "participation in support groups".
The study concluded that "the creation of a lifestyle intervention model and its replication in different rural practices" was a "powerful wellness tool" that did not just empower the patients and the doctors, but also rural communities.
Although in this instance Noakes's high-fat diet was for weight maintenance rather than weight loss, it is part of a growing global trend among scientists that says high fat is here to stay.