"The banting diet is dangerous," warns dietitian

"The banting diet is dangerous," warns dietitian

Are you trying to lose weight and thinking of trying the banting diet? You need to read this first. 

Sad man on a diet
Sad man on a diet/ iStock

Banting is one of the most popular dieting methods used by people who are trying to lose weight. 

Although most diets discourage the intake of fatty foods, the banting diet is made up of a list of foods that are high in fat. It includes a small number of carbohydrates and no intake of starch. 

READ: Plant-based diet works wonders for no-nonsense Djokovic

Mmatlou Rapholo, a dietitian based in Gauteng, says banting is not the best way to lose weight as it can cause further health complications.

She says the banting diet cannot be done for a long period of time.

“If we say something is working, it should be able to be sustainable. So, in terms of banting, it is not sustainable. You can’t be on it forever,” says Rapholo.

She adds that being on it for a long period can cause health complications, one of them being coronary heart disease.

“The risk of coronary heart disease is very high because it recommends high fat, low carbohydrate intake and mostly, it also recommends bad fats,” she says.

READ: Can diet help cancer treatment? Study in mice offers clues

Rapholo adds that banting promotes the intake of “bad fats, and those fats have the potential to clog veins, which in the end can cause a person to have heart disease.”

The dietary reference intake (DRI) for fat in adults is 20% to 35% of total calories from fat. When it comes to saturated fats, which are promoted in banting, Rapholo says the recommended amount is less than 7% of the total calories.

“In terms of the fat requirement, we are supposed to be having less than 7% of the total calorie from saturated fats. Once it becomes more than 7%, it poses a risk. When we look at banting, they are actually advocating more of the saturated fats, far more than the 7% which is the recommendation,” says Rapholo.

“Another reason why banting is not advisable is that it actually discourages the carbohydrate intake."

READ: Meat-heavy low-carb diets can 'shorten lifespan': study

“Carbohydrates are the main source or the main fuel for the body, so as soon as you don’t take the carbohydrates which are a high source of energy, the body will go to a different source for it to have energy. So, mostly it goes to break down fat into energy which is not the right way, and that causes what we call Ketosis, which is the breakdown of fat to provide the body with energy,” says Rapholo.

She adds that this is dangerous.

“The body is not supposed to solely get the energy from fat. The main source should be carbohydrates,” she says. 

Rapholo says a good diet should be inclusive of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

“So, when we say a diet is the best, it should include the carbohydrates, the fats, the proteins, the sugar etc. So, with banting, it says no starch at all. You must only take protein and fats, so it is not advisable,” says the dietitian. 

Rapholo adds that what makes people gain weight is not the intake of starch, but the amount of food they eat.

To know how much fats, starch, and carbohydrates you are supposed to eat, Rapholo says it is best to visit a dietitian who will look at your body weight and advise on a good diet plan. 

Image courtesy of iStock/ tommaso79

Show's Stories