I am SO tired of talking about Banting. The minute people hear I am a dietician – they are like a moth to a flame. I am also so tired of seeing ‘Banting Menu Boards’ outside struggling restaurants – trying to make a quick buck on the marketing tidal wave that Banting has made. I am also so tired of trying to fix what Banting has done to so many of my patients.
When faced with a Banting question in a social setting, I try and keep calm and very professionally give my one liner that I hope shuts them up, “If Banting was working – I would be out of a job, and I am not!”
This being said, the questions have forced me to write one last blog post on this topic. I am ready for the ‘Banting Cult Fraternity’ to lash out at me like they did when I wrote my last blog post on ‘My Thoughts On The Tim Noakes Diet” – but I feel strongly enough about the below points to fist fight anyone throwing punches my way.
I must first clarify that Banting does have a place in the nutritional management of diabetic or insulin resistant people. That’s it! The Banting Diet can safely be used to manage that ‘at risk’ group of our South Africa society – not for your ‘Average Joe South African’. I will even go as far as to say that I recommend LOWER carb diets for this ’at risk’ group when I consult them. I do not however, recommend the ‘carb elimination and fat purge?’ part of it.
I also want to clarify that I have spoken to tons of people who claim they are Banting - but they say things like “ I don’t eat cream or butter or red meat” – so then you are not Banting! Also, those of you who are cutting bread, alcohol and breakfast cereals out of your diets but are still eating apples, oats and quinoa – you guys are not banting either… Banting is no grains, no fruit (other than berries really,) no dairy and LOTS of animal fat.
So here are my personal observations as a dietician and as a human being as to why I do not think you should be Banting.
- Cholesterol Levels Are On The Up
- The Banting And Cancer Debate And Its Reality
- The Science Is Not Showing That It Is Better Than Any Other ‘Diet’
- The Banting Bad Mood
- The Public Think They Know More Than The Scientists
- Marketed To All But Not For All?
Prof Noakes agrees that his diet is not for every body – but then why has he marketed it to everybody? Why did he kick off his marketing campaign to the lay public and not to the cardiologists, endocrinologists and dieticians who work with diabetics daily? He will answer this question by saying. “In my opinion, most people are insulin resistant these days”. Well if they aren’t then this diet could have catastrophic effects on their health – then what!? There is no disclaimer saying ‘Before starting the Banting Diet have your insulin levels checked and if they are normal, do not follow the diet?
The typical South Africa middle aged man is doing the best on the Banting diet. A typical fat bellied, inactive, meat loving 50-60 year old. He loves Banting for a few reasons:
- He is seeing results as his belly size shows you that he is insulin resistant – so he should be on a lower carb diet.
- He loves chop fat, soft cheeses, butter, salami and mayonnaise – so this way of eating feels free and liberating and he absolutely loves it!
- He probably also has high cholesterol and is on statins already (cholesterol lowering drugs).
- The high fat content is helping him to keep full and avoid the sugary junk that he was eating in the past.
- She has always eaten pretty healthily – so eating fat and fat and more fat is freaking her out. She is sub-consciously worried about the long-term effects
- She isn’t losing as much weight as her husband and that is annoying her – as she is stricter and more aware than he is!
- She finds the food rich and expensive as a long-term solution.
- She feels her moods are low and she is not her self – she wishes she could feel happier.
- She craves bad carbs when she is emotional and very little can take this craving away… So she often succumbs and then sits with guilt.
So how can we be recommending the same diet to both of them?
If you want my opinion – eat with caution. I am seeing far too many ‘Ex-Banters” who are now sitting in my office with bigger problem on their hands than before they started Banting.
Take the good advice out of Banting, which is ‘move back to whole foods’ – but do not eliminate whole food groups (grains or fruit) and do not over compensate with others (animal fats). A ‘Clean Approach’ to eating makes much more sense to me – whole, unprocessed, fresh and nutrient-rich food from all the groups available to us!
Balance is the key to health – and Banting is NOT balanced, I do not care what anyone says!
If 'Clean Eating' sounds more reasonable to you - why don't you try one of my Online Clean Eating Guides? They contain daily meal plans, shopping lists, recipes and more.