Banting Diet: Is it Low Carb?

Banting diet

The Banting Diet, a diet plan established as long ago as 1863, has had a bit of a resurgence recently. You may have come across it if you’ve done any research on low carb diets for weight loss.

Related reading: Low Carb or Keto For Weight Loss – Which is Best?

Like keto, the Banting diet requires limiting the consumption of carbs and promises to treat diabetes and high blood pressure while also helping you to lose weight.

In this article, let’s learn more about the Banting diet, how it works, and everything else you need to know about it.

What is the Banting Diet?

The Banting diet is a low carb, high-fat diet (LCHF) attributed to William Banting, an obese English undertaker, who is said to have weighed 202 pounds. He had previously unsuccesfully tried all sorts of fasts and diets to lose weight.

He eventually published a pamphlet describing how he managed to lose weight by avoiding sugar, saccharine, starch, milk, beer, and butter which he did on the advice of a doctor who treated people with diabetes rather than people who wanted to lose weight.

Related reading: Is the Keto Diet Good for Diabetes?

Bantings diet It formed the basis of modern weight loss diets and has gained popularity again in recent years, along with low carb diets like keto.

The diet limits the consumption of carbs, especially starchy annd sweet ones, allowing your body to switch to burning fats for energy. You must avoid eating foods with carb content greater than 5g per 100g.

You must also avoid all sugary foods. Like the keto diet, you will eventually achieve ketosis, where your body starts burning fats for energy, and in turn, you’ll start losing weight and reaping all the benefits that the diet promises.

Related reading: How To Tell If You’re In Ketosis Without Testing?

Related reading: Low Carb Meals for Weight Loss

Banting 2.0

A South African scientist and professor, Tim Noakes, tried the Banting diet, which he documents in a book called “The Real Meal Revolution,” and launched a diet program with the same name. He calls his version of the diet “Banting 2.0.”

While the original Banting Diet includes four daily meals consisting mainly of protein and restricted carbs, Banting 2.0 divides the process into four different phases. Like the original version, Banting 2.0 promises extreme weight loss, increases energy, and improves overall well-being.

Related reading: Does Low Carb Dieting Result In Successful Weight Loss?

Benefits of the Banting Diet

Some of the key benefits of the Banting diet are:

1. Weight loss
2. Improved digestion
3. Improved blood pressure
4. Increased energy
5. Improved sleep
6. Reduced hunger cravings.

How to Follow the Banting Diet

To ease one’s transition into a low carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle, the Banting diet is divided into four phases:

Phase 1 – Observation

Phase 1 lasts a week, requiring you to journal everything you eat to figure out how your body responds to food. You don’t need to change or modify your diet at this phase. You can follow your current diet, but you take note of everything you consume.

Phase 2 – Restoration

The restoration phase aims to restore your gut health and helps you get used to the low carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle. It lasts anywhere between 2 and 12 weeks, depending on your goals. You will follow it for a week for every 5 kg of weight you wish to lose. So, if you want to lose 10 kg of weight, the second phase should take two weeks.

You will introduce your body to different food lists at this phase. The Banting diet categorizes foods into various color groups. During phase 2, you must eliminate those from the Red and Light Red groups and eat only those from the Green and Orange lists (see below).

Phase 3 – Transformation

You will be introduced to the original Banting diet during the transformation phase, where you start to adapt to your new eating habits and reduce your carb consumption to put your body into ketosis.

To achieve ketosis in Phase 3, you must stick only to foods belonging to the Green list. It will last depending on how long you will reach your desired weight. While in this phase, you must track meals for a couple of days every two weeks.

Related reading: When To Eat Carbs For Weight Loss?

During the transformation phase, you should begin to reap the benefits of the diet, such as improved sleep, mental clarity, acne, etc.

Phase 4 – Preservation

Preservation is the final phase of the Banting diet, which should last indefinitely, starting after reaching your desired weight. It should help you maintain your weight in the long run.

The final phase is more flexible since you can reintroduce foods prohibited from the previous phases. The goal is to determine which foods you can safely eat without gaining weight.

At this phase, you will adhere to the following food lists:

  • Green – no limitations
  • Orange – moderation
  • Light Red – only on special occasions
  • Red – never
  • Gray – you are free to decide

Banting Diet Food List

The Banting diet food list is categorized into three color groups – green, orange, and red. Depending on the phase you are in, you must eat or avoid certain food lists.

Green List

The Green List consists of foods you can eat without restrictions:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Drinks
  • Condiments
  • Fermented foods
  • Some fats

Orange list

According to the Banting diet, foods under the orange group provide multiple health benefits but could hinder your weight loss if you consume them without limitations. Therefore, you must eat the foods under this group in moderation. These include the following:

  • Nuts
  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Drinks
  • Legumes and pulses
  • Fermented foods
  • Fruits and vegetables

Light Red list

You must hardly ever consume foods under the light red list, which includes the following:

  • Smoothies and vegetable juices
  • Treats and chocolates
  • Gluten-free grains
  • Flours

Red List

Foods on the red list include foods you must not eat regardless of what phase you are in the diet.

  • General foods
  • Sweets
  • Gluten
  • Grain-based products
  • Drinks
  • Dairy-related foods
  • Fats
  • Processed meats

Gray List

The Gray list includes foods that suit the Banting diet but could potentially slow your progress, so you are free to decide whether to eat them or not:

  • Treats
  • Sweeteners
  • Drinks
  • Vegetarian proteins

Final Thoughts

The Banting diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that resembles the ketogenic diet, except that the diet requires you to follow certain phases and food lists. Both diets are effective in helping you lose weight by reaching ketosis, where your body starts burning fats for energy.

Although there’s no scientific evidence on the effectiveness of the Banting diet, several studies on low carb diets suggest that they can help improve metabolic markers for treating diabetes and heart diseases. Some studies also show that the LCHF is effective for weight loss.

However, just like the keto diet, the Banting diet can be pretty restrictive for many people and may be hard to maintain in the long term.

Focusing on wholesome foods, moderately reducing your consumption of carbs, and avoiding processed foods may be a more sustainable approach to losing weight.


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