what is banting?

Banting is a low-carbohydrate, high healthy fat (LCHF) lifestyle, named after William Banting, the first person to make it popular in Victorian England. In 2013, The Real Meal Revolution was published and co-authored by Professor Tim Noakes and Nutritional Therapists Sally-Ann Creed with 2 chefs. In 1972 Dr Robert Atkins did a very close version of the lifestyle in his The Atkins Diet – but the lifestyle has since been honed to fit modern life. Banting helps the body switch from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat for energy.

Is Banting the Same as Atkins?

Not really – Atkins has 4 phases, but with Banting there are no phases, just healthy eating in a particular way which helps fat loss. Contrary to popular opinion, Banting is not a high protein diet, but a moderate protein one. It’s a low-carbohydrate eating style, with a normal amount of healthy fat.

Can I eat as much as I like?

No definitely not. Eating too much of anything is a mistake. The secret is to eat mainly from our green list, eat healthy fats, good quality protein and low-carbohydrate vegetables. One wants to avoid foods which have more than 5g/100g carbs in the beginning at least, until weight is normalised.

Do I have to work out ratios of fats to protein and carbs?

Not at all. Eat when hungry, don’t overeat, and eat mainly green vegetables, a decent sized piece of animal protein (the size of the palm of your hand excluding fingers), and base your fat on the size of your thumb. Don’t work on ratios. But if you want more fat, feel free to eat the fatty cuts of meat, eat the fat on the meat, and cook in the safe, healthy fats. Eating a good breakfast, lunch and dinner will ensure that you don’t get hungry between meals and snack. Hunger is the biggest enemy of weight loss.

What can I eat?

You can eat mainly from the green list in the red book, as these foods generally contain less than 5% carbs. The orange lists will have foods from 5-25g carbs per 100g, and the red list is either going to be toxic food or very high carb foods.

Some useful websites include:

Low Carb is Lekker

Diet Doctor

No Bun Please

Sally-Ann Creed

So what can I eat and what can’t I eat?

Get the book “Real Meal Revolution” and follow the lists – Green list items contain less than 5% of carbs per serving, orange-list items contain less than 25g of carbs per serving, and red-list items are all no-nos.

What is Ketosis?

Please don’t be put off by fancy names! Ketosis is something which is best followed in special cases, but you don’t have to go into ketosis to lose weight. If you are an uncontrolled diabetic, this may be helpful for you (always work with your doctor or health professional), and certainly it’s been used in the treatment of epilepsy for a long time in children. However, by cutting your carbohydrates down, you will still lose weight and be healthier. You will still burn fat for energy on a lower carb diet, without resorting to a very low carb diet. It is also not recommended that children follow a very low carb diet unless supervised by a medical professional. It’s all about balance and common sense at the end of the day. Ketosis is something you can cycle in and out of if you wish – but you do not need to remain religiously in ketosis indefinitely unless you fall into a special group of people who do best in this state. Women tend not to do that well in constant ketosis as they may find their metabolism will slow down after a while, so keeping between 50-80g carbs a day is generally ok, with the average around 50g for most people. Some people will even go into ketosis at 50g, so you may need slightly more carbs – but get these from your veggies, not grains. Balanced Banting is what this lifestyle is about!

What about the ketosis monitoring devices?

These are proving to be inordinately inaccurate. Don’t worry about this, just eat real food, eat less carbs, and enjoy the new-found health and vitality (plus weight loss) you will enjoy.

What about Alcohol?

This is probably the most asked question after ‘can I eat chocolate’. We don’t encourage alcoholic beverages when banting – they are high in carbs you’re your weight loss will slow down (or pick up). Have a treat now and again, but don’t make this a habitual daily event. Spirits (vodka, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey, Scotch, brandy and cognac) are generally carb-free, and dry wines and bubbly are better than sweet. However… you will find your weight loss will slow down – alcohol is still a toxin and needs to be processed by the liver. And no matter what you drink, you will find it may slow weight loss or cause slight weight gain, so perhaps experiment and see what works for you.

What about dairy products? Do they slow weight loss?

Sadly, yes – in most cases. Some people are fortunate and don’t have this problem, but in the end remember that there are carbs present, and dairy products are high in lactose (a sugar), and your weight may either stall or pick up. If you have found you are losing weight on dairy and have no respiratory symptoms – enjoy it freely. If not, try giving it up for a month and see what happens.