Banting Is Not Balanced – I Don’t Care What Anyone Says!

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Banting Is Not Balanced – I Don't Care What Anyone Says!

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.


  1. Cholesterol Levels Are On The Up

I have had multiple patients who have seen an increase in their LDL-Cholesterol levels since they started Banting. Now that is all good if you believe Prof Noakes’ theory that LDL-Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. But I don’t believe this as it has NOT been proven in a long-term study – so if it was me, I would freak out and stop Banting.


  1. The Banting And Cancer Debate And Its Reality

How many people do you know who have been diagnosed with cancer and started eating more meat, butter and cream? I don’t know any! All the people I know who have beaten cancer or who are trying to beat it have basically turned into vegans – or vegetarians. They try and eliminate animal protein and animal fat. I agree that stopping refined sugar is an excellent strategy to try and lower cancer cell production – but I 100% disagree that an increase in animal foods lowers your risk of cancer. And this opinion is in line with current research.


  1. The Science Is Not Showing That It Is Better Than Any Other ‘Diet’

Still, there are no studies saying that it trumps other ways of eating! Stellenbosch University released a study in 2014 stating that Banting is neither healthier, nor more effective for weight loss than other diets (PLOS ONE Journal 2014). I believe in the healing qualities of oats for example – why should I make my clients cut them out then?


  1. The Banting Bad Mood

Almost every single female patient that I have seen that has tried Banting has told me that they had dramatic mood changes once they cut all sources of carbs out of their diets. So you lose weight but you become moody, miff and irritable – that sounds like fun… Naaaaaat!!!! The scientific explanation for this is that carbs raise serotonin levels in the brain. Women tend to generally function on a lower level of serotonin than men. So if you cut carbohydrates out of a woman’s diet her serotonin levels drop more than a mans would – hence she becomes moody and irritable. Perhaps a few healthy whole carbs included in her diet will help her feel happier and get her the same weight loss results!?


  1. The Public Think They Know More Than The Scientists

There have been warnings issued by some pretty big associations against Banting – like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Association for Dietetics and the Scientific Advisory Board on Weight Management in the UK. I find it crazy how laymen, with no medical background at all, think these associations are wrong. They do, after all, employ scientists who sit and study this stuff all day long – they surely have the publics best interests at heart?


  1. Marketed To All But Not For All?

I have had multiple patients who have seen an increase in their LDL-Cholesterol levels since they started Banting. Now that is all good if you believe Prof Noakes’ theory that LDL-Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. But I don’t believe this as it has NOT been proven in a long-term study – so if it was me, I would freak out and stop Banting.How many people do you know who have been diagnosed with cancer and started eating more meat, butter and cream? I don’t know any! All the people I know who have beaten cancer or who are trying to beat it have basically turned into vegans – or vegetarians. They try and eliminate animal protein and animal fat. I agree that stopping refined sugar is an excellent strategy to try and lower cancer cell production – but I 100% disagree that an increase in animal foods lowers your risk of cancer. And this opinion is in line with current research.Still, there are no studies saying that it trumps other ways of eating! Stellenbosch University released a study in 2014 stating that Banting is neither healthier, nor more effective for weight loss than other diets (PLOS ONE Journal 2014). I believe in the healing qualities of oats for example – why should I make my clients cut them out then?Almost every single female patient that I have seen that has tried Banting has told me that they had dramatic mood changes once they cut all sources of carbs out of their diets. So you lose weight but you become moody, miff and irritable – that sounds like fun… Naaaaaat!!!! The scientific explanation for this is that carbs raise serotonin levels in the brain. Women tend to generally function on a lower level of serotonin than men. So if you cut carbohydrates out of a woman’s diet her serotonin levels drop more than a mans would – hence she becomes moody and irritable. Perhaps a few healthy whole carbs included in her diet will help her feel happier and get her the same weight loss results!?There have been warnings issued by some pretty big associations against Banting – like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Association for Dietetics and the Scientific Advisory Board on Weight Management in the UK. I find it crazy how laymen, with no medical background at all, think these associations are wrong. They do, after all, employ scientists who sit and study this stuff all day long – they surely have the publics best interests at heart?

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:

  1. He is seeing results as his belly size shows you that he is insulin resistant – so he should be on a lower carb diet.
  2. He loves chop fat, soft cheeses, butter, salami and mayonnaise – so this way of eating feels free and liberating and he absolutely loves it!
  3. He probably also has high cholesterol and is on statins already (cholesterol lowering drugs).
  4. The high fat content is helping him to keep full and avoid the sugary junk that he was eating in the past.

So this is good – he is better off Banting than not. Although, if it was me, I would worry about the cholesterol. But this is up to who you believe more – Noakes or the rest of the medical fraternity The typical South African housewife however, who has 4-8kg to lose, is battling on the Banting diet for other reasons:

  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. She finds the food rich and expensive as a long-term solution.
  4. She feels her moods are low and she is not her self – she wishes she could feel happier.
  5. 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 this is good – he is better off Banting than not. Although, if it was me, I would worry about the cholesterol. But this is up to who you believe more – Noakes or the rest of the medical fraternity The typical South African housewife however, who has 4-8kg to lose, is battling on the Banting diet for other reasons:

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.

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at kellylynch.co.za

#bantingdiet #wiightloss

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