The Banting Diet: What Is It and Why You Should Get On It

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While the Banting diet has surged in popularity over the past few years, its origins go back over a century. London resident William Banting invented the diet in 1861. He wrote a book on his experiences after using the system to lose weight.

The basic principles of this diet can be found in many more “fad” diets today. In many ways, the Banting diet was one of the original methods to eschew carbohydrates in favor of higher protein and fat intakes.

Before you adopt this diet for yourself, it’s essential to learn about the fundamental principles of the method. After explaining the core aspects of the system, we’ll also discuss the benefits of adhering to the Banting diet and the few downsides.

Evaluate the central tenets of the method and read the positives and drawbacks carefully to determine whether or not the Banting method is the right strategy for you.

Basic Facts About the Banting Diet

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The Banting diet, as mentioned above, is centered around avoiding carbohydrates and eating more significant amounts of protein and fat. When evaluating the specifics of the method, however, it’s important to draw the distinction between William Banting’s original guidelines for healthy eating and the modern version of the Banting diet, popularized with Tim Noakes’ book Real Meal Revolution.


The modern Banting strategy advocates giving up nearly all carbohydrates. A devoted Banting dieter generally gets only five to 10 percent of their total daily caloric intake from carbs.

This includes refined carbohydrates that many diets target, like pasta and white bread. However, the Banting diet goes further. Other rules restrict your intake of simple carbohydrates like fruits, and whole-grain foods like brown rice and farro.

The Banting method completely outlaws added sugar. If you struggle with sweets or always eat some sugar as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, the Banting diet could be a difficult transition.


Fat is the primary source of calories for Banting dieters. Fatty foods like eggs, dairy, and oils are unrestricted. In many ways, the Banting diet resembles other popular ketogenic diets which emphasize fat as the primary source of calories.

These diets are designed to put your body in ketosis — a state where it burns ketones (found in fat) rather than glucose (found in carbs) for energy. The Banting diet emphasizes good, natural fats like avocados, olive and coconut oils, and fatty fish.


Protein intake on this diet sits in between fat and carbohydrates. It’s expected to make up a medium percentage of your total calories. Clean, unprocessed proteins like fish, poultry, and natural red meat are preferred. Avoid processed meats like bologna and cold cuts, and stay away from meat products cured with lots of sugar.

Plant-based proteins like nuts and lentils can be consumed occasionally, provided they don’t lead to excess carb consumption. The same goes for dairy proteins like yogurt, though you can eat eggs and hard cheeses anytime.

Portions and Stages

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William Banting originally advocated for four slightly smaller meals each day. The modern Banting diet encourages users to eat only when they feel hungry and stop eating when they feel full — not when they’ve cleaned their plate.

Snacking is a no-go for Banting adherents, as well as drinks. You’ll have to kiss that beer after work goodbye on this diet.

The diet works in four main stages: first, you observe your normal eating patterns and identify the problems. Next, you begin to cut back and replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut by eating a diet with moderate amounts of carbs and free from sugar in gluten.

The third stage is where the aggressive weight loss begins: cut out all carbohydrates from your diet, monitor your portions more tightly, and continue to eat both gluten- and sugar-free. Finally, the “preservation” stage reintroduces a small percentage of carbs and keeps the other restrictions in place to keep you at a sustainable weight.


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When done properly, the Banting diet can aid in weight loss and encourage a healthier diet by cutting out carbs and processed foods. The changes can be drastic in the short term, though over the long run the extraordinarily low levels of carbs allowed in the diet may not be healthy.

If you’re considering the Banting diet, you may want to modify the preservation stage to focus more on portion sizing and sustainable eating while consuming healthy carbs like whole, unprocessed grains and sweet potatoes.


The Banting diet offers a unique approach to food that promises to help you lose weight quickly. It’s also much simpler than many competing diets, with an intuitive guiding ethos that makes healthy eating easy.

If you’re looking to shed a few pounds and recenter your diet around clean, natural foods, then this diet is a great way to do it.

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