Answers to some Banting questions
I love it when people ask questions and engage in dialogue to find out more about the Banting lifestyle. It means they have open minds. Minds willing to learn. This is the mark of an intelligent person. Science is not static but is constantly evolving. If the Food Pyramid guidelines (emphasising grains and carbs) actually worked, wouldn’t we all be thinner and healthier than we are today? Instead we are fatter – much fatter, and suffering from serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. So this post if for those intelligent people willing to explore new paradigms.
Where did the term “Banting” come from?
William Banting was a London undertaker who was going deaf. He consulted an ENT, Dr Harvey to help him regain his hearing. Banting also wanted to lose weight as he was struggling to walk down stairs and to tie his own shoelaces.
Harvey helped Banting to lose all his extra weight by advising him to follow a low carb eating plan. This excited Banting so much that he decided in 1863 to publish his first Letter on Corpulence which explained how he lost weight and gave guidelines of which foods to include and which to exclude. Hence why the diet became known as the Banting diet.
Prof. Tim Noakes can be likened to a modern-day William Banting who is just so excited about what he has learned, that he feels compelled to share it with others.
Why is Banting so effective for weight loss?
By eating low carb you are able to keep your blood glucose and insulin levels within the normal ranges, which promotes fat burning. Lowering your carb intake significantly helps to control cravings for sweets and starchy foods. Insulin is also a very inflammatory hormone, so for good general health your goal should be to keep your insulin levels as low as possible. The only way to do this is by eating a low carb diet.
The high fat component of the diet is what helps you eat less because fat is satisfying and takes away your hunger for long periods of time. If you speak to anyone who is Banting properly they will tell you that they only eat about twice a day, with no need to snack in-between meals. It is actually a very liberating way of eating.
The diet works very effectively for weight loss because it allows you to naturally and effortlessly reduce the quantity of food that you eat. Compare that to other eating plans which advocate reducing calories and eating low-fat. One might lose weight on these diets, but they are not sustainable long-term and people invariably put the weight back on. No-one wants to be hungry all the time. Banting is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle that has many other benefits besides weight loss. People report higher energy levels, better sleep, clearer skin, more even moods, better cognitive function, elimination of allergies and improved muscle tone to name a few.
Are carbs bad for everyone?
Carbs are not bad for everyone. Some people metabolise carbs very well and can afford to eat them without gaining weight. If you are overweight however, it is very likely that you are carbohydrate intolerant and would therefore benefit from reducing your carbohydrate intake to a level that allows you to return to a healthy weight. If you are insulin resistant or diabetic, then you need to eat low carb to control your blood sugar.
The Banting diet recommends getting your carbs from vegetables, berries and dairy products. Everyone can benefit from avoiding grains such as bread, rice, corn, cereals, pasta and baked goods. Gluten is inflammatory and dramatically affects your blood sugar balance. Wheat also contains an appetite stimulant, resulting in you eating more than you need – making it very difficult to control your weight. Grains also contain phytic acid which prevents the body absorbing calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This can put you at risk for bone-related disease such as osteoporosis. Also grains are very often genetically modified.
Why is it now ok to eat fat?
The science proves that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. It was only in the last few decades that fat was demonised and that hypothesis was based on bad science and has subsequently been debunked. So eat butter – it is very good for you! One must however avoid trans fats and seed oils which promote inflammation in your body due to their high Omega 6 content.
What foods can I eat when Banting?
- Protein such as meat, fish, eggs, pork, lamb, beef, poultry and organ meats
- Carbs in the form of non-starchy vegetables (that grow above the ground), nuts, full-fat dairy products such as Greek yoghurt and cheese as well as berries
- Fats such as coconut oil, butter, olive oil, lard, tallow, cream and the fat on meat
Why is Banting referred to as a “lifestyle” and not a diet?
Banting must definitely be viewed as a lifestyle. The moment you go back to your high carb ways, the weight will come back on. The worst mistake that people make is thinking that they can do both high fat and high carb. It just doesn’t work that way. One needs to commit and stick to the plan to lose weight and keep it off long-term.
How much fat should I eat?
You don’t necessarily need to gorge on fat. That can leave you feeling nauseous and can actually make you put on weight due to the fact that fat is very calorie dense. Eat just enough fat to make your food taste great and to keep you feeling satisfied between meals. It is actually the low carb component of the diet that allows you to burn fat and lose weight. The fat just helps you to do that without feeling hungry.
I hope the answers I have given to these frequently asked questions have enhanced your understanding about the Banting lifestyle. Please share it with others who still need to hear about this health-transforming way of eating.