What Banting is really about
Banting or LCHF has always been controversial, but never more so than right now. In June, Prof Noakes will face the Health Professions Council of South Africa for “unprofessional conduct”. From what I understand it is all about a tweet he wrote, where he essentially advised a mom to wean her baby onto real food instead of refined and sugary baby cereals. I really don’t know the full details, but surely this was not bad or dangerous advice? Meat, veggies and healthy fats are highly nutritious foods. How can anyone think that high carb cereal is a better option? It isn’t even real food – it is processed. What did mothers living a few hundred years ago give their babies? I guarantee you it wasn’t baby cereal. This is just common sense stuff. I believe Prof. Noakes is looking forward to the hearing, and sees it as an opportunity to educate those that have been mis-informed for so long. I have no doubt he will be well-armed with scientific evidence in support of the LCHF diet.
This week there was also an article in the newspaper about how children shouldn’t be put onto an LCHF eating plan as it will deprive them of nutrients. Oh my goodness! My children have been eating a low carb, high fat diet for the past few years, and they have never been healthier or stronger. They most definitely are not nutrient deprived, or lacking in energy. They eat a huge variety of different meats, veggies and healthy fats, plus some dairy. In our family we choose to eat REAL, wholesome, nutrient-dense food. We avoid sugar, grains, gluten, trans fats, margarine, preservatives, chemicals, GMO foods, and vegetable oils. These foods are toxic to the body and cause inflammation, which is the root cause of many diseases. Why would I feed them to my children?
There are also no nutrients found in grains that cannot be found in fresh veggies. Another important thing worth noting here is that nutrition science states that “carbohydrates” are not essential. Did you know that? The body actually has no need for carbs, as our own amazing bodies can manufacture all the glucose we need. This is human biology. No-one can dispute this fact. Now I am not in favour of children going very low carb, unless they are insulin resistant, or are already suffering from type 2 diabetes. But, there is certainly nothing wrong with children avoiding all the inflammatory foods I listed above. Children’s brains desperately need fats to develop, and therefore they should be eating butter, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and fatty meat. Making children eat a low-fat diet is not doing them any favours, and could even stunt their development.
Another misconception, and often used argument against an LCHF diet, is that a high protein diet is unhealthy, and places strain on your kidneys. When people use this argument it just demonstrates to me that they really do not understand the LCHF lifestyle at all. LCHF stands for low-carb/high fat, so where exactly does the high protein come into it? Banting or LCHF does NOT involve eating a lot of protein. In fact you end up eating less than before.
A favourite argument often used by naysayers, is that by cutting out whole grains you are depriving your body of fibre. What they fail to realise is that vegetables are packed with fibre, and veggie fibre comes without the toxic effects of gluten. Gluten can damage the lining of your gut (leaky gut syndrome), which can lead to chronic fatigue, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, depression, brain lesions, anxiety, ADHD as well as skin issues such as acne or eczema. Having a leaky gut is a serious health condition, and very often it comes without any gastro-intenstinal complaints, so people don’t make the link between their gut health and their symptoms. If you are presenting with any of these ailments, and your doctor has no idea about leaky gut, then the best thing to do is to find a doctor who practices functional and integrative medicine. They will know how to test for this, and what to do to help you get well again.
Here is another myth often used against Banters: “All that saturated fat is going to clog your arteries and give you a heart attack”. Scientifically this is just not true. If your doctor is still spouting this nonsense, please find another one who is more clued up with the latest research. Your doctor should be telling you to eradicate sugar from your diet – not saturated fat. They also should not be putting you on a statin drug based on a total cholesterol score. Before taking a statin drug be very, very sure that you actually need it, and that the benefit of taking it outweighs the side effects (of which there are plenty).
“We have scientific evidence which shows that lowering our intake of saturated fat has paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks.” – Aseem Malhotra (Cardiologist)
When did things become so messed up? Why is it ok to give your 6-year-old a sugar-filled soda, but the moment you say that you put butter into your children’s morning smoothies, they look at you as if you have completely lost the plot. It is accepted as normal for mothers to feed their babies refined cereals packed with sugar, but when a person tries to advise a mother to feed her baby real food like meat and veggies, he is made to “stand trial”? I just don’t get it.
At the simplest level, Banting is about eating food that makes you healthy, and avoiding foods that promote obesity, and cause disease. Have people been so brainwashed that they have completely lost their common sense? My hope is that they will find it again before it is too late. Their health and the health of their children depends on it.