The Banting diet is a another relatively new diet, advocated by the sometimes controversial Tim Noakes, which is similar to other low carb, high fat diets. The goal with the Banting diet is to move away from processed and refined foods, high starchy and carb rich diets and to avoid sugar all together. When we say it’s a relatively new diet, it’s more revived than new – William Banting developed this diet back in 1863, so it has a long history.
The practice of LCHF diets, including Banting, is to eat more natural whole foods, like meats, vegetables and favourable fats. Your main goal is to eliminate sugar all together – the side effects of sugar can be seen the world over, with an increase in obesity and linked diseases. Then you want you avoid processed and refined foods, especially unfavourable carbs – think of bread, cereal, flour, etc. Although Banting did allow for some starchy carbs originally, the foods back then were not processed and refined they way modern foods are, and nowadays they’re almost completely different in nutritional value.
To make it easy on yourself, you want to mix up your meals as much as possible. Eating the same veg and meat dishes will become boring and you’ll likely not enjoy the Banting diet. Initially it’s tough to not include unfavourable carbs (starches), and to find favourable substitutes which will fill you up. However, will a little research and patience you’ll find that it’s easy to plan your meals, mixed them up and it really comes down to shopping habits. If you shop right, you’ll only have those foods to choose from when making up meals.
Additionally, the Banting diet is not a high protein diet. It’s based on high fat, medium protein and low carbs. With meals, the idea is to eat when you are hungry and to eat until you are satisfied and then you stop eating. Even if you skip a meal because you’re not hungry, that is acceptable, according to Banting. When it comes to carbs, you should avoid all grains (rice, wheat, etc.) and starches and you should only eat fruit occasionally, as they contain a lot of natural sugars, albeit healthier fructose, etc.
With the proteins consumed in this diet, and in fact with any diet, it’s important to choose grass-fed or free range meats. It’s been shown that other meats don’t have the same volumes of Vitamin E, and the Omega 3 vs. 6 ratios are unbalanced because the animals never eat grass or other natural food types.
Furthermore, not all carbs are equal in nutritional value. For example, 400 grams of spinach is not the same as 400 grams of sweat potato. Sweat potato has much higher amount of natural carbs in that 400 grams. To get an idea of their individual values, look up a diet called Zone, which breaks down nutritional values of foods so you can get that 40/30/30 split right and not based it just off portion of your plate size.
Overall Banting sounds very similar to the Paleo diet, other than it advocates higher consumption and ratio of healthy fats, and with any diets, it’s best to try them out and find what suits you rather than just going with what is fashionable at the moment…