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The Banting Diet

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Banting is a low carb, high fat diet that has become very popular in the last decade due to its dramatic weight loss results. The origins of this diet date back to 1862 where it was conceived in its most basic form by its namesake William Banting. When the original diet was created it was based around having four meals per day consisting of a protein, 25- 30g carbohydrates and a fruit for dessert. The diet was then reworked and brought back into the public eye by South African scientist Tim Noakes in his book The Real Meal Revolution in 2015.  

The Banting Diet: Is Weight Loss Possible? 

The modern version of the Banting diet works off the knowledge that when we reduce our carbohydrate intake it stimulates our bodies to use stored fat as an energy source, which makes Banting very effective when it comes to weight loss. This way of thinking means that some of the foods that are restricted in this diet may be nutritionally good for you; like berries, bananas and legumes, but in this diet must be eaten in moderation so it is not as simple as merely eating a balanced diet. This programme is recommended alongside and exercise and mindfulness regime to create a healthy body and healthy mind and can also account for some of the resultant weight loss.

So how does Banting work exactly? This heavily restrictive diet works off a daily calorie intake ratio of 65- 90% fat and 10- 35% protein. They make use of food lists to categorize foods on a scale from green being foods you can eat all the time to red, which you should never eat while Banting. These lists help to layout which foods are most favourable so you can plan your meals with some guidance. The diet itself has four main phases: 

1. Observation

This lasts a week and consists of keeping a food diary and noting down the effects that different food have on your body while consuming your normal diet. 

2. Restoration

This stage takes between 2 to 12 weeks depending on how much weigh you want to lose. During this time you are attempting to restore your gut health by eating only from the orange and green food lists. 

3. Transformation 

During the transformation period you will only eat foods from the green food list. This stage lasts as long as it takes for you to reach your goal weight. 

4. Preservation

The final period is indefinite and it starts as soon as you reached your goal. At this point you can start reintroducing some foods from the orange list into your diet in moderation. Since you would have been doing this diet for a long time at stage four so the preservation period is the time when you use the knowledge you have gained about the effects of different foods on your body and adjust your diet accordingly to maintain your weight. 

What Can You Eat On The Banting Diet? 

The Banting diet is based on food lists that makes it very easy to figure out what you can or can’t eat. Foods are classified as red, light red, orange or green depending on how well they fit eithin the Banting diet and not on their health benefits in general. The red and light red foods should be avoided as much as possible while the green and orange foods are more favourable. These foods include: 

  • Green

    Orange

    Light red

    Red

  • meat, eggs, butter, avocados, leafy greens, lemons

    smoothies, chocolate, honey, gluten free grains, flour (including rice flour)

    nuts, dairy, berries, bananas, legumes, caffeinated drinks

    fast food, sweets, gluten in any form, processed meat, processed fats like oil and margarine

What Do You Eat For Breakfast When Banting? 

Generally a lot of go-to breakfast foods like yoghurt, berries, oats and flour pancakes are not on the green or orange list but there are some delicious alternatives. A popular choice is reworking pancakes to make a low carb version using cream cheese and almond flour as a base. Luckily, for those who love a hot breakfast, eggs and meat are right up there on the green list so bacon and eggs are always on the menu, just make sure that its accompanied by gluten free toast. Click here for recommendations for toasters. Some dishes that you could try are steak and eggs, bacon and cheese omelettes and cauliflower hash browns with mashed avocado.   

Can I Eat Bread While Banting? 

No, unfortunately not. Gluten is one of the major elements on the Banting diet red list so traditional bread is a no go. However there are gluten free bread options on the market that you can use as an alternative that closely mimic the real thing. If you are interested in trying out the banting diet but you really don’t want to do without bread we have a great gluten free bread recipe to satisfy all your cravings. 

Is The Banting Diet Healthy? 

Overall the Banting diet is very effective for weight loss due to its fat burning effects but not enough studies have been done into this diet for us to know the effects it could have on the body long term. While on the one hand it helps you lose weight, makes you feel more energetic and helps control blood sugar levels; on the other hand, there is evidence that it may increase calcium loss which can affect your bone health. It is also worth noting that a lot of foods that are cut out in this programme form the basis to a healthy vegetarian diet so vegetarians should avoid Banting if they want to maintain their health. 

The Banting Diet: Summing Up 

At the end of the day everyone’s body reacts different to different foods so if you want to lose weight Banting might be an option. However, as with all diets, you should always consult your doctor before embarking on a new diet to make sure you are doing so as safely as possible. No amount of weight loss is worth losing your health over. 

Amy Hand
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