By now most of you will have heard of at least one of the following terms : the Paleo diet, LCHF, The Tim Noakes diet or Banting. Some of you may be trying it out with varying degrees of success and I find in a lot of instances there is a great deal of confusion regarding the concepts. I will try to explain it in simple terms in order to provide greater clarity.

–    Firstly Tim Noakes did not invent the diet, it was devised by Dr William Harvey and his patient William Banting in the 1860s. The principle is to limit the intake of carbohydrates particularly refined carbohydrates and sugars and increase the consumption of fat.

 

–    Eating carbohydrates and sugar requires your body to “process” the resultant glucose and sucrose in your bloodstream. The pancreas secretes insulin in order to direct the glucose to the liver and muscles. The effectiveness of this differs from person to person and some individuals (Tim Noakes being one of the better known) are particularly ineffective. The result is that the pancreas has to over secrete insulin which eventually can lead to adult onset diabetes or insulin resistance.

–    The Paleo diet is not the same as Banting with two main differences. The Paleo diet encourages the consumption of fruit and not dairy while Banting encourages dairy but recommends a limited intake of fruit, preferably berries or apples rather than high carb fruits.

 

–    Both diets recommend lots of vegetables, particularly green leafy ones.

–    Both diets are based on removing grains, sugars and high starch foods such as potatoes and rice from your diet.

–    Both diets are NOT about eating lots of meat!

–    Protein consumption is encouraged particularly grass fed, pasture reared meat, eggs, offal and fish but the Banting approach promotes a higher fat consumption in order to kick start a metabolic process called ketosis : this is when your body burns fat to provide energy instead of carbohydrates. This only occurs when you limit your carbohydrate intake.

So what should YOU do?

  1. Question everything – what works for one person may not work for you.
  2. Keep an open mind – The flat earth society still have a lot of members.
  3. Try it out if you think it may benefit you – whether you are looking to improve your energy levels,  lose weight or prevent diabetes.

If you do try Banting remember that you can’t pick and choose the parts you like. If you do, you will not reap any benefits as you have to limit your carbohydrate intake. If you do try it out give it a month before you pass judgement. Remember too that some people are lactose intolerant and might have to remove dairy products from their diet. Find the combination that suits your body.

Watch out for hidden carbohydrates and sugars. Processed foods contain a lot of added sugar so check the labels and avoid anything that has a long list of ingredients or has items you don’t recognise.

If you want to watch one man’s personal experiment on himself over a month take a look at www.watchcerealkillers.com

Don’t get too depressed at the thought of giving up croissants though, there are many delicious meals and dishes you can still have and you don’t have to hold back when the pork crackling comes around.