What Is The Banting Diet?

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The Banting diet, created by William Banting in 1862, is often considered to be the very first “low carb” diet. William Banting is known as the first person to actually write out a diet plan that was constructed around consuming fewer carbohydrates. In addition to designing the diet, he also wrote about his own personal experiences with his plan, as well as how he came to understand the ideas of the diet.

William Banting was an overweight person that suffered with weight issues for most of his life. During treatment for an unrelated medical problem by Dr. William Harvey, Banting stumbled upon the solution for weight loss. Dr. Harvey had recommended that Banting change his diet, and reduce most of the starches and sugars he consumed to help relieve his medical problem. Banting found that these substances were primarily responsible for the body developing fat, and eliminating or reducing such foods caused the pounds to drop off.

The initial plan that Banting followed allowed for four meals per day that contained protein from meat, fish, or poultry; green vegetables; a small amount of fruit; one piece of dry toast; and several glasses of dry wine. You might be surprised that Banting consumed toast, however at that time it was thought that toasting bread removed most of the starch. Today we know this is untrue. It was also believed that pork contained starch, so it was banned from the diet. We also know this is not true today.

Banting was quite strict about his diet, and stuck to only the above-mentioned items. He consumed no root vegetables (including potatoes), no extra sugar, no sweetened drinks, and no pastries or desserts. Banting was thrilled when he began to drop weight at a rate of about a half a pound per week, and lost a total of fifty pounds. He was so amazed with his personal results that he decided to publish his diet, thus leading to the world’s first diet book.

Actually more of a pamphlet rather than a book, Banting titled his work “Letter On Corpulence Addressed To The Public.” The book was published four times and was even translated into French and German. Over 68,000 copies of the book were sold in just five years. This was really quite something to be proud of considering over half of the population could not read.

Today, low carbohydrate diets are still followed. What has worked for over one hundred and forty years is still thought to work today. Even though the diet has been modified over the course of time, and more nutrition has been added, the basic principles remain the same. The Banting diet was truly a groundbreaking discovery that changed the world forever.

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