The good, and the not-so-good of banting.
When it comes to a new fad diet or trend, we’re not easily convinced – nope, not at all. But with a lot of chatter in the health world surrounding the rather old, but new Banting Diet, which claims fat is not the enemy and weight loss is easy, we admittedly perked up and wanted to know more.
So what is all the fuss about? Well firstly, it’s not to be confused with the Paleo Diet though they both do encourage eating “real” foods rather than processed and refined food-like substances. The name is derived from Mr William Banting himself, a London undertaker who in 1861 was prescribed a weight loss plan that consisted of low carbohydrate, high fat food (LCHF).
But it wasn’t until Dr Robert Atkins appeared with his famous Atkins Diet in 1972, did eating fat start to rise in popularity. Since then the diet has been dusted off and re-worked, and now with banting-friendly restaurants popping up all over South Africa and social media goers like Banting Babe giving it a try, it seems everyone is on-board the banting train.
The Banting Rules
There are no tedious recipes or complex calculations with this one – the principles are simple: eat foods that are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and are medium in protein. Only eat when you’re hungry and stop when satisfied. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, before you sign along the dotted lines there are a few big no’s to be mindful about. There is no sugar, no grains (of any kind), no fruit or very little, and definitely no snacking allowed. You can also say goodbye to that afternoon beer or cider, too.
But what you can do is, embrace the love for foods like avocados, coconut oil, eggs, fatty fish (these are the good fats). And be sure to stock up on proteins like salmon, lentils and chicken. Dairy foods such as yoghurt, milk and cheese are okay (phewf!).
How it Works
Banting is all about eating clean and fresh – no nasties thanks. And ensuring that your diet is rich in good fats, with minimal to no carbs (you didn’t need that slice of bread, did you?). Sure, you can ditch the sugar, fruit and grains, but you also need to eliminate unnecessary eating or snacking. A change in eating habits combined with a healthy exercise plan promises to help lose those unwanted kilos and have you feeling great in no time.
So what do the experts think? Kara Landau (aka Travelling Dietitian) – founding manager of Corporate Nutrition Melbourne, author and media spokesperson – says that banting loses her support.
“Although there are some positives in that it promotes removing many refined grains, artificial additives and sweeteners, and oils with poor omega 6 and omega 3 ratios, as well as increasing many vegetables and portioning out protein sources reasonably, it also terms highly nutrient-dense vegetables such as a beetroot as a forbidden food.
The diet appears to be trying to put the body in a ketogenic state to assist with fat loss, however the rules around which types of fats are acceptable do not completely align with current known nutritional science. For example, on the diets main website they refer to nuts leading to weight gain (particularly in women); however there has been continued evidence found over the years that points very much in the opposite direction to this.”
If you’re used to having a 3 pm sugar hit, you might feel the effects of this diet the most. No sugar may mean zero energy for you, while some obsessives claim that the new way of eating promotes nothing but vitality and strength. But everyone is different, you know.
So if you’re thinking of making the switch, chat to a health professional to ensure it’s the right one for you. Bant over.