Ready for the Banting Diet?

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Earlier, we did a story on the Keto or Ketogenic Diet, which involves putting the body in a state of ketosis to induce weight loss. It is difficult to adhere to, and has its share of sceptics. The Banting Diet works on similar lines and dates back to the 1860s in Britan. We asked experts what they think of the modern-day version of the Banting Diet.

A brief background

l This diet is essentially a low-carb high-fat diet named after the first person to try this diet, William Banting, way back in 1862. Banting was a very obese British undertaker who experienced significant weight loss after following a diet that was low in carbs and high in fat, prescribed by his doctor William Harvey. The diet gained buzz due to Tim Noakes, a well-known sports and nutrition professor who popularised it in his book, The Real Meal Revolution. The book provides detailed explanations on this complex diets with number of dos and don’ts and recipes for dishes. The diet is also known as the Tim Noakes Diet.l The emphasis here is on increasing fat, decreasing carb intake whereas protein intake in your diet should be moderate. Speaking of fats, it means eating the right kind of fats (mostly animal fats) and minimum amount of carbs (25g to 50g per day). As for proteins,  fish/ meat should not be more than 80g with any meal. However, the rule of thumb here is 50-50 per cent meat and veggies, and the fat quotient fat should be included in that.

Foods are divided into three lists

Green list: This is a list of foods whose carbohydrate content is 0 to 5g/ 100g and you can eat them with worrying about anything (eg. veggies, animal fat).Orange List: This list is made up of foods that should be consumed in moderation containing between 6g and 25g of carbs per 100g (eg. fruits, carrots).Red List: This list contains all foods which should be avoided as they will be either toxic (eg. Seed oils, soya) or high-carb foods (eg. potatoes, rice, baked goods, etc).

Some rules of this diet

The Banting Diet calls for having animal fat on the belief that animal fat does not make one fat, and one needs to have it. The principle here is to consume them in small amounts at a time make you feel full and stop you from overeating.Though dairy is considered good, it does contain carbs and can pose a hurdle to weight loss in some people. So avoid eating too much dairy.Fruits contain natural fructose and are considered to be “good” sugar. But when following the Banting Diet, sugar is sugar and so even consuming natural sugar should be in moderation. Nuts might lead to putting on weight in some people, especially women, so consume a small handful occasionally.Alcohol is to be avoided but if one wants to indulge in it on some social occasions, then choose spirits, which are generally free of carbs. Also, dry wine and champagne is okay. But no mixers as they contain sugars.Don’t overeat or undereat. No snacking. Exercising is not compulsory.

Expert speak

This diet focuses on reducing carbohydrates at a drastic level and increasing fat levels particularly animal fats, and moderate amount of proteins. Animal fat contains more amount of saturated fats and cholesterol which may increase your risk of acquiring a heart disease and increasing bad cholesterol levels, opines Pallavi Srivastava, fitness nutritionist, proprietor – Q-Slim Fitness Studio, adding that the purpose of this diet is to shift the source of energy from carbohydrates to burning fat. It is good for hugely overweight or obese people as it’s good for quick weight loss, but can cause muscle fatigue, heart palpitations, with many side effects, thus following this for longer run is not advisable.

“This kind of diet cannot be followed lifetime/long duration. Once you stop following the diet, it will lead to weight gain. One can also land up with nutritional deficiencies. It can also lead to gastrointestinal disturbances due to sudden change in the meal pattern,” warns nutritionist Amreen Shaikh, Wockhardt Hospitals.

Shaikh doesn’t think so, saying that because Indian meals are rich in carbohydrates. Most of Indians are vegetarians who cannot fulfill their need protein and also would not like to include protein supplements in their daily diet. Nutritionist Karishma Chawla, Eat Rite 24×7, says that  considering the Indian diet is high in carbohydrates especially those with a high glycemic index, a diet like this would help for a brief period.

Would they recommend it for weight loss?

“For quick weight loss one may opt for the Banting Diet, but most of the weight loss seen here is the water loss or muscle loss. As the body enters ketosis, you begin to lose muscle mass, and muscle fatigue sets in. Following this kind of pattern can show initial symptoms like tiredness, headache, irritability, etc with a long run symptoms like kidney stones, and a load on many vital organs of the body. It may also  cause deficiency diseases if proper supplementation is not taken care of. Also, your body might not react normally once you introduce carbs later to your system and it may get even more difficult to lose weight further after the initial weight loss, thus I will not recommend this diet to my clients for weight loss,” Srivastava concludes. It’s a no from Shaikh too, as it is not recommended for long term, she says.

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