The Banting Diet 101: History, Benefits & Guidelines

Low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets are all the rage right now.

But before the Ketogenic Diet went mainstream, there was another diet promoting the consumption of LCHF foods.

This LCHF diet trailblazer is known as the Banting Diet.

What is Banting?

Well, to tell the full story, we’ll need to take you back to the mid-1800s.
In 1861 an obese British undertaker, named William Banting, asked his doctor how he could lose weight. The doctor came up with a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) eating plan that also included moderate to high protein levels.
According to Mr. Banting, it was a great success. So much so that he wrote a public letter describing his successful attempt at weight loss. Soon after, the Banting Diet grew in popularity across Britain, and eventually abroad. People who were “Banting” became known as “Banters.”
As a result, the diet was included in medical textbooks until 1959 when LCHF diets were replaced by the exact opposite approach: LCHF diets or “heart-healthy” diets. As dietary recommendations shifted, so did people’s eating habits. [1]
Then, in the 1970s, the obesity epidemic hit America.
Naturally, there were multiple factors to blame, such as the rise in popularity of fast-food chains. But many believe the shift in dietary recommendations was a major contributor.
So why does the Banting Diet sound familiar?
The dietary guidelines are similar to that of a popular diet craze in the late 20th century: The Atkins Diet®. It also bears some similarities to the Keto Diet, which has surged in popularity since 2017.
And now, the Banting Diet has experienced a resurgence due to Tim Noakes, a scientist from South Africa who wrote a book called “The Real Meal Revolution.”
So, why do different variations of LCHF diets keep coming back under different names?
For many people, LCHF diets offer several promising health benefits.

How the Banting Diet Works

Noakes (the South African scientist) has redefined the Banting diet to fit the needs of people in the 21st century. So, when most people talk about Banting, they use the Noakes guidelines, which include:
Banting includes four stages that follow a specific order:

  • Observation: Watch what you eat, think about it and about how it affects you.
  • Restoration: Sugar-free, gluten-free, medium-carb – gets you ready for rapid fat burning by replenishing gut flora and nutrients in the body.
  • Transformation: Consume only sugar-free, gluten-free and low-carb foods.
  • Preservation: Continue to consume sugar- and gluten-free foods, but carb levels can vary depending on individual needs.

What Can You Eat When Banting?

When banting, colors depicite how often you can eat various food classes.

  • Green: Green means go! You are free to eat these foods on the Banting Diet.
  • Orange A: Generally speaking, foods in this category are permitted within moderation.
  • Orange B: These foods are not allowed during the transformation phase, but can be eaten in moderation otherwise.
  • Light Red: The “light red” category includes foods that should hardly ever be eaten.
  • Bright Red: Foods that fall under this category should never be consumed on the Banting Diet.
  • Grey: Foods listed in this category should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Here’s a list incliding foods that are in each color group:


  • Eggs, meat (including poultry and naturally-cured meat like bacon and salami) and seafood. Pretty much what you’d expect from a high-protein diet.
  • Non-starchy veggies, like avocado, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spinach.
  • Firm cheeses (e.g., cheddar) and hard cheeses (e.g., parmesan).
  • Fats like butter, mayo without preservatives, olive oil, nut and seed oils, coconut oil, rendered animal fat.
  • Other foods, like bone broth, coconut yoghurt, kefir and seeds.
  • Permissible drinks include caffeine-free herbal tea, water and certain homemade flavored waters.


Orange A:

  • ¼ cup of cottage cheese, cream, cream cheese, full-fat yogurt, sour cream, milk and soft cheeses.
  • Half a closed-handful of vegetables and fruits like berries, corn on the cob, peas, pineapple and sweet potatoes.
  • One closed-handful of raw nuts, biltong and homemade sugar-free nut butter.

Orange B:

  • Fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, peaches, potatoes, watermelon.
  • Dried legumes.
  • Caffeinated tea and coffee.


Light Red:

  • Flours like almond and rice, polenta (once you’ve reached weight goal)
  • Gluten-free pasta, oats, some rice (whole-grain, sushi, jasmine), quinoa (if you can maintain ideal weight)
  • Fruit or yogurt smoothies, vegetable juices without added fruit juice (if insulin and weight under control)
  • Dark chocolate, honey, dried fruit, pure maple syrup (only if fully under control


Bright Red:

  • It’s a long list, but basically includes fast food, sugar, artificial sweeteners, most sweets, foods containing gluten, commercial breakfast cereals, battered food, highly-processed meats and proteins, condiments with sugar like ketchup and salad dressings

A full breakdown of Banting meal plans and foods lists can be found in Noakes’s book.

The Benefits & Side-Effects of Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets

The Banting Diet is one of the many low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets to go mainstream.
To help you know if LCHF diets are for you, here are some of the reported health and lifestyle benefits they may offer:

  • Long-Term Weight Loss Compared to HCLF Diets: Studies suggest that LCHF diets may be more effective at achieving long-term weight loss goals than high-carb, low-fat (HCLF) diets. [2]
  • Reduced Metabolic Risk: Several studies show that LCHF diets may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and obesity. [3]
  • Improved Weight Loss vs. HCLF Diets: Studies show that LCHF diets may slightly improve weight loss efforts compared to HCLF diets when both include reduced caloric intake. [4]
  • Help Reduce Acne: In some cases, acne breakouts can be triggered by processed and refined carbohydrates. LCHF diets may aid in reducing these types of skin outbreaks. [5] [6]

Possible side-effects of LCHF diets:

  • Potential Constipation: LCHF diets may lead to constipation. However, those symptoms can be countered with adequate fluid and electrolyte consumption. [7]
  • Decreased Athletic Performance: Consuming fewer carbohydrates reduces the amount of glycogen your body can tap into for energy during exercise, which can impair performance and increase fatigue. But long-term adaptation to a LCHF diet may help counter these effects. [8] [9]
  • Potential Increase in Saturated Fats: LCHF diets encourage the consumption of fats, which can lead to an increase in saturated fat consumption if you’re not careful. Be sure to consume unsaturated fats whenever possible when following an LCHF diet.
  • CNS Affected During Exercise: LCHF diets may cause the central nervous system (CNS) to fatigue during exercise, leading to lethargy, tiredness and reduced motor functions. [10]

Order Home-Delivered LCHF Meals

So, are you ready to give the Banting diet a try?
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hours at the grocery store to find delicious Banting-friendly meals. With Factor, you can order low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) meals from the comfort of your home or office. They’ll arrive safely on your doorstep fully-prepared and ready to eat in 3-minutes or less.
To learn more, head here.



Share this Article

written by

Underscore Editors

Underscore Editors