To bant or not to bant

The danger of the Tim Noakes diet lies not in the diet itself, but in using it to lose weight and not as a permanent lifestyle change. The sad reality is also that using the diet as a permanent lifestyle is impossible for most normal human beings.

I must admit, I did not do a scientific, representative, randomised, triple-blind, placebo-controlled study with independent control groups to come to the following conclusion.

The diet, if used as a ‘permanent lifestyle’ is not bad at all, it is actually a good diet. But – yes the dreaded but – if you cheat on this diet or stop following the diet you will regain all the weight you have lost and even put on more weight. Did I say that following the Tim Noakes diet for the rest of your life is impossible for most of us?

During the past 15 years at Hoogland Health Hydro I have seen diets come and go. Somewhere someone is already inventing a new diet, even more elaborate than those that already exist, and The real meal revolution of Tim Noakes is just another one. It is just another low carbohydrate calorie-controlled diet. Yes, you may eat more fat on this diet, but it is still a low calorie diet with lots of restrictions.

Somehow Tim Noakes created the impression (intentionally or unintentionally) with his talks that you can eat unlimited amounts of fat and meat (protein) as part of the diet. If you read his book, the following on page 51 states clearly:

Don't eat too much protein [emphasis mine] We can't stress this enough. This is not high protein eating [once again, emphasis mine]. You shouldn't need more than 80g of meat with any meal. The main aim is reducing carbs, then increasing fat. Protein stays the same or it could even decrease [I really want to emphasise this!]

Three meals a day gives you 240 grams of meat for the day.

He continues with his “Ten commandments of beginner banting”

1. Eat enough fat [. . .] Small amounts (your body will tell you how much) will make you feel full.

2. Eat enough vegetables

3. Don’t lie to yourself. Eating carbs [. . .] can be detrimental.

4. Don't snack

5. Don’t over- or under-eat

6. Don’t eat too much protein [Did I emphasise this?]

7. Be alert. You could be eating secret carbs.

8. Avoid too many fruits and nuts

9. Control your dairy

10. Be strong [Really strong, I mean superhumanly strong. See my next comment]

The meaning of his tenth commandment only really becomes clear when you look at his restrictions. If you make the Tim Noakes diet (Banting diet) your lifestyle diet you may not eat the following – never ever! (Just a few examples.):

All forms of bread

All grains

Corn products

Muesli

All seed oils

Chocolate

All fast food

All unfermented soya

Vienna sausages

Couscous

Pastas, noodle

Rice

Beetroot

Legumes

Peanuts

Peas

Potatoes

Honey

Beer

Fruit juice of any kind

Ice cream

Conclusion

On the banting diet, according to Tim Noakes, butter is ok, it seems that you can eat unlimited amounts of pure butter to your heart’s content – if your body tells you to do so. But why will you eat pure butter? Butter is something you put on freshly baked bread, toast, warm potatoes; it is like a Romeo without his Juliet.

Final conclusion

None of the people that I have met who have followed the banting diet could stick to the diet and all of them regained all their weight and more.

Last word on the Banting diet for now

Yes, I know that you will tell me that someone you know, knows someone* who lost a lot of weight on the Banting diet and are still on the diet (lifestyle).

*I think I met that person yesterday. The person lost about 16,45kg and decided that enough weight was lost and that from now on carbs will be added on weekends and when they go out for meals. Cake will be eaten on special occasions (Did I mention that you should be strong?)

Dr Heinz Meier (PhD)