How it all began

My identical twin sister and I have a family history of high cholesterol (or is it? See the section on cholesterol). Having had it tested a few days apart from each other earlier this year it became a topic of discussion at our grandmother’s birthday dinner. We were debating the big C with our brother when we hit on the differing theories surrounding the dietary causes of cholesterol and how to deal with it.

I innocently remarked that it would be interesting for Jeanne and I to each follow one of the contrasting eating plans to see what happens. I then added that it would be great to get the input from Professor Timothy Noakes and a few months later that is exactly where we are.

What’s the Aim?

“Let me start by saying that this is not a professional scientific research project. The results won’t be conclusive and may wobble a bit as we get under way. For a watertight experiment you’d need everything we do to be 100% regulated, many many months of following the diets and many more sets of twins doing exactly the same thing.

What this is, is a public interest project. Why? Because high carb vs high fat/protein diets are what the public is interested in right now. Jeanne and I and almost everyone we know is asking the question:

“Which eating plan should I do? If only I could do both at the same time and see what happens.”

Well, being genetically identical twins we can do exactly that.

We’re medically healthy and relatively fit individuals who share a genetic footprint and can be literal guinea pigs for Jo and Jo-anne public. We’re not taking on the medical academia, we’re the ‘you’ out there taking on these two eating plans to see what happens.”

How it will work

“Professor Timothy Noakes graciously agreed to assist me in the project, as were Jamie Smith as Project Manager and Rael Koping as Dietician.

Rael has devised eating plans for Jeanne and I and will touch base with us throughout the two-month period to see how we’re doing. Jeanne will follow the high fat/protein diet and I’ll be going the high carb route. Our food intake will be hunger driven and therefore the amount we consume will be uncapped.

Jamie has set up the following tests and manages the project in general:

  • Blood pressure
  • Hip and waist circumference
  • Weight
  • Resting metabolic rate
  • Body fat percentage

We will also be doing fortnightly blood tests at Pathcare to track our changes in the following:

  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Total Cholesterol
  • Triglycrides
  • Fasting insulin
  • Fasting blood glucose
  • Ketones
  • HBA1c

Once the two months is up I will publish an article detailing our journey and the results, and then go on to do a few months of the high fat/protein diet to double check our findings. This leg of the project won’t involve the same level of testing but I’ll track my weight, body fat percentage and a few of the more basic elements for healthy living.”

Our Diets

“As mentioned above, I will be doing the high carb diet and Jeanne will be taking on the high fat/protein diet.  It’s important to note that the eating plans are both very balanced – the point is that we’re two normal people eating what everyday people would eat according to these two dietary philosophies – they’re not ‘diets’ as the word is classically understood.

Our guidelines in terms of the macronutrient composition of our diets are:

High Carb: Fat% 20, Carb% 65, Protein 15%

High Fat/Protein: Fat 65%, Carb 16.3%, Protein 18.3%

Here is a list of some of the foods we’ve been assigned:

HIGH CARB PLAN – Low GI Bread, Oats, Wheetbix, Provitas, Rice, Couscous, Pasta, Cottage Cheese, Low Fat Yoghurt, Cucumber, Banana, Tomato, Apple, Guava, Squash, Marrows, Mushroom, French Salad, Lean Meat

HIGH FAT/PROTEIN PLAN – Eggs, Kippers, Beef Biltong, Chicken, Beef, Cheddar Cheese, Greek Yoghurt, Sweet Pepper, Celery, Asparagus, Mushroom, Tomato, Onion, Spinach, Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Avocado, Guava, Orange, Apple, Rye Vita,

A large portion of my energy comes from carbohydrates and most of Jeanne’s energy comes from proteins and fats, but be assured that the rest is made up mostly of of fruit and veg.

Finally, we’ve been asked to eat breakfast, lunch and supper with snacks in between.”

Our Exercise Regimes

“I was wondering how I would be able to create a relatively equal exercise playing field for Jeanne and I given our very different life-styles.  The fact is that although I’m a full-time Mom and don’t have time to go to gym like Jeanne does, we are almost identical in terms of fat percentage, weight and muscle tone.  This is because I run around after two small children, lifting and carrying them and their paraphernalia and being up and about from morning till night.

The solution came just before we started the project when I came across BodyTec at the Steenberg Shopping Center just up the road from where I live. With this new way of training, Jeanne and I get the equivalent of 3 x 90 min weight/toning sessions in just 20 mins a week.  Although this isn’t something prescribed to us by Prof Noakes or Jamie (Project Manager), I believe it will tick the exercise box for our purposes. Jeanne will add a bit of cardio on top of that and that should get us to about the same level.  (Please click on their logo to get more information).”