Nutrition journey – Part 2.1: Banting

Take a seat on the bandwagon

Diets come and diets go. Leaving us wondering which are sustainable, safe and effective.

To bant or not to bant, that is the question. A question that is continuously causing rage among health professionals as more and more South-Africans jump onto the Banting bandwagon.

Tim Noakes, Professor of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Cape Town promotes, the Banting diet through his book, The Real Meal Revolution.

Lets take a seat on the bandwagon and learn more about the Banting diet.

(Please note that I am only sharing the facts and my professional opinion, it is still each individuals choice to which lifestyle and diet they follow.)

  • General Banting principles

    • Mainly animal protein (meat, poultry, eggs & fish)
    • Saturated animal fats
    • Coconut, olive and macadamia oil
    • Some cheeses and dairy (full cream)
    • Some nuts and seeds
    • Fresh vegetables (grown above the ground such as green leafy vegetables, cabbage, peppers etc.)
    • A few berries
  • 10 Golden Banting rules

    • This is not a high protein diet. It’s a high fat, medium protein, low carbohydrate way of eating
    • Choose real foods that look like what they are, and cook them from scratch (Avoid processed foods)
    • Fat is not the enemy. Enjoy it!
    • Eat only when you are hungry; eat until you are satisfied – then stop.
      1. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. You won’t die if you skip a meal
      2. Stop snacking. You won’t need to – it’s just a habit.
      3. No sugar, it’s an addiction and probably best avoid it totally. If you really need it, substitute wit Stevia. No artificial sweeteners
      4. No grains of any kind
      5. No (or very, little) fruit. Think of it as a sweet rather than a health snack.
      6. Embrace eggs. They’re healthy, satisfying and very good for you

The Banting diet categorize food into 3 groups

  • Green

    It’s the all you can eat list, here you may choose anything you like without worrying about the carbohydrate content.

    Animal Protein:

    • All eggs
    • All meats, poultry, seafood and game
    • All offal



    • Cottage and cream cheese
    • Cream, full-cream yogurt and milk
    • Hard and soft cheese



    • Any rendered animal fat
    • Avocado and cocnut oil
    • Butter
    • Duck fat

    All nuts and seeds (Except cashew nuts)



    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Asparagus
    • Artichoke
    • Aubergines
    • Avocados
    • Broccoli & Cauliflower
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Cabbage & Sauerkraut
    • Celery
    • Leek
    • Mushrooms
    • Olives
    • Peppers
    • Pumpkin
    • Radishes
    • Spring onions
    • Tomatoes
  • Orange

    Food on this list must be eaten in moderation


    • All fruits



    • Butternut
    • Carrots
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Honey
    • Cashew nuts
  • Red

    Food in the red group should be avoided entirely. This food is high in carbohydrates, sugar and fructose and harmful to your health.

    Baked goods:

    • All flour from grains: wheat flour, cornflour, rye flour
    • All forms of bread (crackers and rice cakes)
    • All grains: wheat, oats, rye
    • Beans (dried)
    • Battered foods
    • Brans
    • Breakfast cereals, muesli, granola of any kind
    • Cakes, biscuits, confectionary
    • Corn products – popcorn, polenta, maize
    • Couscous
    • Pastas, noodles, ice
    • Sorghum
    • Thickening agents such as gravy powder, maize starch or stock cubes



    •  Beer, cider
    • Fizzy drinks (sodas) & carbonated water
    • Lite, zero, diet drinks of any description
    • Dairy / dairy-related products
    • Cheese spreads, commercial spreads
    • Coffee creamers
    • Condensed milk
    • Fat-free anything
    • Ice cream
    • Puddings
    • Soy milk



    • All seed oils (safflower, sunflower, canola, grapeseed)
    • Chocolate
    • Commercial sauces, marinades and salad dressings
    • Hydrogenated oils including margarine, vegetable oils, vegetable fats


    Fruit and vegetable juices

    • Fruit and vegetable juice of any kind
    • Dried fruit



    • All fast food
    • All processed food
    • Any food with added sugar such as glucose, dextrose
    • Sugar, sweets and syrup



    • All unfermented soya (vegetarian “protein”)
    • Meats cured with excessive sugar, Vienna sausages


    Starchy vegetables

    • Beetroots
    • Legumes, Peas
    • Parsnips
    • Peanuts
    • Potatoes (regular)

Reason for weight loss

Patients on the Banting diet see an initial drop in weight and cholesterol because the body is in carbohydrate deprivation. Therefore the body seeks an alternative energy source.

Firstly glucose from the liver and glycogen from muscles are withdrawn to supply energy, this already lead to weight and largely water loss.

After these glucose and glycogen stores are depleted the body moves to the next possible energy source which is fatty acids in the liver, thus fatty acids are broken down to glucose to supply energy (this process itself burns energy) and cholesterol levels drop.

Unfortunately the proses of converting fatty acids from the liver to glucose, produce a harmful by-product called ketone bodies which in large amounts (ketosis) place a big load on the kidneys to be excreted. Ketone bodies has a particular smell which could easily be detected in the breath.

In the short term cholesterol levels could drop due to fatty acid breakdown in the liver, but over the long run the large amount of saturated fats consumed, will form deposits on the artery walls leading to arteriosclerosis.

Application of Banting

Banting could be beneficial as short term solution where rapid weight loss is essential to perform surgery.

Diabetics could also benefit if a short term Banting is applied to control glucose levels.

Long distance athletes could see some benefits from Banting as low intensity, long during activities depend upon fat stores for fuel. In fact Tim Noakes himself is a ultra-marathon athlete hence the benefits he reaps from Banting.


There is no doubt that Banting made headlines several times before. Some good, some bad, some results, some with little.

It is very important to remember that there are no one size fits all diet, no two bodies are the same. Each individual reacts differently to food and exercise.

Also no diet is all bad or all good. In fact Banting has some excellent rules, other rules just need some adapting and some are the rules should go.

  • Do include unsaturated fat in your diet in moderation, but aim to eliminate saturated fats
  • Moderate protein intake is perfect, choose lean cuts and take note of the cooking method.
  • Do include carbohydrates in the form of whole grain vegetables and legumes, motely choose carbohydrates from the low GI list
  • Choose real food in it simplest form and cook it from scratch (avoid processed food)
  • Sugar is an addiction and should totally be eliminated from the diet as far possible. Foods are already loaded with sugar, do not add more (eliminate carbonated drinks totally)
  • Do embrace eggs. Try to make 1 whole egg + 1egg white to reduce cholesterol
  • Fruit contains excellent and vital vitamins and you should stick to your 2 fruits per day.
  • Also for a healthy, working metabolism you need to consume a small healthy snack, meal every 4hours
  • Swop full cream dairy for low fat versions.
  • Banting ban foods like sugar, white starch, battered and baked foods, beverages like alcohol ad carbonated drinks, fast food and processed food/meats – if you eliminate this from any diet a significant weight loss will occur. Try to add unsaturated fats in moderation and very limited saturated fats to these rules and you will lose even faster. 


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