The Carb-Sane Asylum: The real diet of William Banting that “cured” his obesity

bantingdiet, wiightloss

Few men have led a more active life – bodily or mentally – from a constitutional anxiety for regularity, precision, and order, during fifty years’ business career, from which I have now retired, so that my corpulence and subsequent obesity was not through neglect of necessary bodily activity, nor from excessive eating, drinking, or self-indulgence of any kind, except that I partook of the simple aliments of bread, milk, butter, beer, sugar, and potatoes more freely than my aged nature required , and hence, as I believe, the generation of the parasite, detrimental to comfort if not really to health.”

“I am now nearly 66 years of age, about 5 feet 5 inches in stature, and, in August last (1862), weighed 202 lbs., which I think it right to name, because the article in the Cornhill Magazine presumes that a certain stature and age should bear ordinarily a certain weight, and I am quite of that opinion. I now weigh 167 lbs., showing a diminution of something like 1 lb. per week since August, and having now very nearly attained the happy medium, I have perfect confidence that a few more weeks will fully accomplish the object.

I just bit the big financial bullet and, upon discovering that it is available in Kindle form, purchased William Banting’son Amazon.com (it’s only $2.99, or you can read it online at Eades’ site which I found later, it’s also available in full text here – ht C.Grashow). I do not think there’s a low carb diet book and/or author that hasn’t at least referred to Banting’s weight loss as the quintessential example of low carb in all it’s glorious action.

So it wasn’t just carbs, it was also butter and milk.  Ahh but surely he was eating a ton of fat and calories?  Of course in the next paragraph:

Of course the low carb advocates have always seized on this as advocacy of the first low carb diet.

I wonder about the proscription against pork and yet the mention of bacon as an option for breakfast, but adding up we have a maximum of 14 oz of meat (except pork), poultry, game or fish (except salmon).  He also ate 3-4 slices of dried toast (or equivalent) and a small amount of fruit (like half a small apple).  On top of all of this he consumed up to 7 glasses of wine (or spirits in the evening).

I put an approximation of this into nutritiondata.com and maxing out all serving sizes and here is the result:

Now that’s a well balanced diet!

Basically he was on a low carb, moderate fat, high alcohol diet.  This was apparently an improvement upon:

My former dietary table was bread and milk for breakfast, or a pint of tea with plenty of milk and sugar, and buttered toast ; meat, beer, much bread (of which I was always very fond) and pastry for dinner, the meal of tea similar to that of breakfast, and generally a fruit tart or bread and milk for supper. {KL 136-138}

So … bread was a food Banting clearly was prone to overeating, and often with milk and/or butter.   He was likely not protein deficient, but not getting as much as when he ate some meat with each meal.  And if he was drinking this much on his new diet, he drank at least this beforehand including beer.

Interestingly he didn’t eliminate bread entirely.  He had up to 4 slices a day.  He lived to be 81 for what it’s worth.

Why now? Well this letter was cited yet again in a recent “study” by Taubesian newcomer Tim Noakes, that was
miraculously published
in the South African Medical Journal. I plan on blogging about that shortly and figured this made for a post on its own.

Editing in some classic quotes as I come across them:

I ought, “it seems,” to have excepted veal, owing to its indigestible quality, as well as

pork for its fattening character


; also

herrings and eels (owing to their oily nature), being as injurious as salmon


.  {KL 350-351}

Step away from the bacon.

… not only should potatoes be prohibited, but parsnips, beetroot, turnips, and carrots.

The truth is, I seldom or ever partook of these objectionable articles myself, and did not reflect that others might do so, or that they were forbidden. {KL 252-253}

OK … take away a few grams of carbs for the carrots I used.  Silly me, I didn’t realize they were so objectionable 😉

I can now also state that eggs, if not hard boiled, are unexceptionable, that cheese, if sparingly used, and plain boiled rice seem harmless.  {KL 355}

Turned on to safe starches long before their time!  I wonder what’s wrong with hard boiling eggs?  Use cheese sparingly … but rice (plain, not drenched in butter) is harmless!   (Oh … and no pork fried rice for you!)

Editing in some classic quotes as I come across them:Step away from the bacon.OK … take away a few grams of carbs for the carrots I used. Silly me, I didn’t realize they were so objectionable ;-)Turned on to safe starches long before their time! I wonder what’s wrong with hard boiling eggs? Use cheese sparingly … but rice (plain, not drenched in butter) is harmless! (Oh … and no pork fried rice for you!)

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at carbsanity.blogspot.com

#bantingdiet #wiightloss

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