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The Banting Diet – A Low-Carb & High-Fat Diet For Weight Loss


The banting diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, which limits the intake of carbs almost entirely.

It is considered to be a miraculous way to lose weight and first originated in 1862. It regained popularity in 2013 and is similar to the keto diet.

There are various other benefits associated with this diet including reverting type 2 diabetes, controlling high blood pressure, as well as improving energy levels and quality of sleep.

While it may be a sustainable way of life for some, others may struggle with limiting their carb intake and following this diet strictly over the long run.

This blog provides a complete rundown of how one can pursue this diet, a basic meal plan of foods to eat and avoid, and the pros and cons associated with this diet.

What Is The Banting Diet


The Banting diet is named after William Banting, an English undertaker.

He had prescribed this diet in 1862, and he lost a considerable amount of weight by restricting carbs and sugary items.

Based on the success of his diet, Banting published a booklet titled “Letter on Corpulence”, whereby he revealed a detailed strategy and guide for weight loss through the low carb method.

Hence, the word “banting” became the name of this method.

This popular diet re-emerged recently, as Tim Noakes, a South African scientist, and professor, tried the Banting diet himself and presented his take on it.

He wrote a book titled “Real Meal Revolution”, in which he laid down his own version of this diet, namely the Banting 2.0 or the RMR Banting approach.

The original Banting diet is divided into four daily meals and provides a detailed list of foods to eat and avoid, which makes it easier to follow.

According to the original version, one must consume 5-10% carbs, 15-20% protein, and 70-75% fats, while completely eliminating sugars and gluten.

However, the RMR Banting approach is a bit more complicated. It divides the process into four phases which are: observation, restoration, transformation, and preservation.

It provides structured meal plans along with multiple food lists that are detailed and fairly complex. Plus, this diet requires a more long-term approach and lifelong abstinence from foods containing sugar and gluten.

This blog focuses on the newer version of the diet, as presented by Noakes.

The Banting Diet Method


As mentioned previously, this diet is divided into four phases, aimed at easing into the transition towards a LCHF (low carb high fat) way of life.

These phases are described below:

Phase 1: Observation

In the initial phase, you should implement the diet as it is described, without incorporating any modifications.

Furthermore, you should record and journal your journey, and track how your body responds to the new diet.

Phase 2: Restoration

This phase is aimed at restoring your gut health and ensuring that your body becomes accustomed to this new way of eating.

Typically, this phase lasts for 2 – 12 weeks, the duration is based on your weight loss goal.

You should aim to follow it for 1 week for every 5 kg of weight that you want to lose through the diet.

While there is no calorie counting or portion control in this phase, you will be introduced to a series of food lists that you have to abide by.

You have to avoid foods from the Red and Red Light lists, and consume foods from the Green and Orange lists.

Phase 3: Transformation

This phase is particularly important as it introduces you to ketosis, a process through which your body burns fat to produce energy.

This gets you in a rapid fat-burning mode, and it also includes hacks like intermittent fasting, exercise, sleep, and meditation, to ensure that you avoid reaching the weight loss plateau.

In this phase, you are supposed to consume foods from the Greens list, and avoid foods from the Orange and Red lists.

This phase has no specific duration, it can last as long as you reach your desired weight target.

Furthermore, additional benefits that may be experienced during this phase include improved mental clarity, sleep, acne, and skin irritation.

Phase 4: Preservation

This phase is supposed to last indefinitely and starts when you reach your desired weight. This phase helps in maintaining your weight for the future.

However, this phase is more flexible than the previous ones and allows you to reintroduce certain foods which were previously not allowed.

The food lists should be followed in the following manner:

Green list: no limitation

Orange: to be consumed in moderation

Red: to be avoided at all times

Gray: up to you

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Foods To Eat And Avoid


The Banting diet provides a series of lists of foods that are to be consumed or avoided during this diet. These lists are described as follows:

Green list

This list includes the foods which you can eat without any restriction.

Meat, poultry, and fish: all meat, poultry, fish, seafood, offal, and naturally cured meats, for example, salami, pancetta, bacon, parma ham, jerky, coppa (capocollo), and biltong.

Eggs, and cheeses: Brie, Gorgonzola, Camembert, mozzarella, Roquefort, feta, Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental, ricotta, Parmesan, and pecorino, and homemade bone broth.

Fruits and vegetables: leafy green vegetables, green beans, aubergine, artichoke hearts, asparagus, bean and Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, endive,  courgettes, cucumber, fennel, gem squash, garlic, kale, leeks, radicchio, lemon and lime, lettuce, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, okra, palm hearts, radishes, rhubarb, rocket, shallots, spinach, snap peas, spring onions, tomatoes, and turnips

Fermented foods: kimchi, coconut yogurt and kefir, kefir butter and cheese, milk kefir, sauerkraut, and naturally fermented pickles

Condiments: all kinds of vinegar and fermented soy sauce or tamari

Fats: any rendered animal fat, butter, ghee, cream, avocado,  coconut oil, fruit and nut oils, seeds, and mayonnaise

Drinks: caffeine-free herbal teas, flavored and plain water

Orange list

These are foods that are meant to be eaten in moderation, as they may hinder your weight loss journey, despite the numerous benefits that they provide.

Nuts: raw nuts and sugar-free nut butter

Dairy: milk and milk substitutes, cottage and cream cheese, full-fat yogurt, and sour cream

Fruits: apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, clementines, fresh figs, gooseberries, granadilla, grapes, guava, jackfruit, kiwi, kumquats, litchis, loquats, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, pears, peaches, persimmon, pineapple, plantain, plums, pomegranates, quinces, raspberries, starfruit, strawberries, tangerines, tamarind pulp, and watermelon

Fruits and vegetables: butternut squash, beetroot, carrots, baby corn, calabash, celeriac, cassava, corn, golden beets, edamame, Hubbard squash, parsnips, jicama, potatoes, peas, rutabagas, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and sweet potatoes

Drinks: caffeinated tea and coffee

Fermented foods: kombucha and water kefir

Legumes and pulses: all legumes, beans, alfalfa, lentils, and chickpeas

Red list

This list includes those foods which you must avoid at all costs.

General foods: foods with added sugar, fast food, chips, and sugary condiments, such as dressings, ketchup, and marinades

Gluten: barley, bulgur, couscous, durum, einkorn, farina, graham flour, Khorasan wheat (kamut), matzo, orzo, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, and wheat germ

Dairy-related foods: coffee creamers, commercial cheese spreads, condensed milk, ice cream, and commercial frozen yogurt

Sweets: all confectionery and non-dark chocolates, artificial sweeteners, agave, canned fruit, coconut sugar, cordials, fructose, glucose, jam, malt, rice malt syrup, sugar, and golden syrup

Drinks: energy drinks, soft drinks, commercial juices, commercial iced teas, flavored milks, and milkshakes

Grain-based products: all commercial breaded or battered foods, breakfast cereals, and all crackers

Processed meats: highly processed sausages and meats that are cured with sugar

Fats: butter spreads, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, margarine and shortening, rice bran oil, and sunflower and safflower oil

Grey list

These foods are also among those that may slow down your progress in this diet, hence they are to be eaten at your discretion.

Vegetarian proteins: naturally fermented tofu, pea protein, and processed soy

Sweeteners: xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, stevia powder, and sucralose

Drinks: all alcoholic beverages, protein shakes, and supplements

Treats: Banting baked goods and sugar-free ice cream

Does The Banting Diet Help Weight Loss


While there is less research on the correlation between the Banting diet and weight loss, studies have shown that LCHF diets are effective for losing weight.

A low carbohydrate intake results in a reduction of the circulating insulin level, which leads to a high level of circulating fatty acids, and leads to fat oxidation for energy needs.

This results in rapid weight loss, while also promoting the feeling of fullness, which occurs when you increase protein intake in your diet.

By eliminating foods mentioned on the Red list, you are bound to lose weight faster as consuming processed and sugary foods leads to weight gain.

Benefits Of The Banting Diet

Besides promoting rapid weight loss, the Banting diet can also lead to additional benefits including the following :

  • Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Improved sleep
  • Normalized blood pressure
  • Improved energy levels
  • Treatment of PCOS in women
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Reduction of heartburn
  • Reduction of pain in joints
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Reduction in migraines
  • Reduction in chronic inflammation

Disadvantages Of The Banting Diet

While there are a plethora of benefits associated with this method of dieting, there are certain disadvantages that cannot be ignored.

  • A highly restrictive diet which makes long-term maintenance difficult
  • Lack of evidence regarding long term benefits
  • Unsustainable in the long run

Key Takeaway

The Banting diet is an LCHF diet that promotes weight loss by restricting processed as well as gluten and sugary foods.

It promotes the consumption of nutritious, more wholesome foods and encourages people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

However, the diet is highly restrictive and requires great discipline to implement it as a long-term lifestyle change.

Hence, it may not be completely sustainable in the long run.

Therefore, before embarking on the journey of adopting the Banting diet, one should carefully consider the pros and cons associated with it.

Remember, weight loss can never be a short-term goal, it should be considered as a lifelong journey towards healthy eating and maintaining an optimal level of weight.

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