Banting, LCHF, Paleo, Atkins, and Ketogenic diets, they’re all the same right?, well not quite. Before you even consider giving up your beloved carbohydrates you should have an understanding of what each diet comprise.
The basis of these diets is the limitation of carbohydrates, a higher proportion of fat, moderate proteins but most importantly the elimination of sugar, processed foods, grains and legumes. A number of recent studies shows that low carbohydrate diets makes it easier to lose weight and control blood sugar.
The first thing you will notice is the higher fat proportion, and before you are hyperventilating you need to understand a very basic fact in Nutrition. The human body is created in such a wonderful way that it could utilize energy from both fats or carbohydrates. By limiting your carbohydrates your body will adapt to use fat as the main source for energy. Remember, this a low carb diet not a NO CARB diet, unless you only eat meat in its natural state and butter you will still consume small amounts of carbs. Yes, lettuce have carbs too, so does bacon and ham due to a sugar and salt solution used in the process to cure the meats. Eggs also contain trace amounts of carbohydrates ( 0.6g per egg) so does dairy products due to the lactose present.
The same logic goes for your fat intake on a low carb high fat diet. If you limit your carbohydrate intake you cannot expect your body to function properly without supplying enough fat for energy, unless you are comfortable chewing off your own arm out of hunger.
Let’s start with Banting?
Banting is a more familiar word for South Africans introduced to us by Prof. Tim Noakes and made popular through his best seller The Real meal Revolution. The LCHF(Low Carb high fat) diet consist of the theory of what early humans ate 200,000 years ago. Tributes are also made in his book to William Banting a 19th-century undertaker from London who experienced such extreme weight loss that his name became synonymous with low-carb dieting, from there the name “Banting” used instead of “dieting”.
The dietary guidelines are simple, eat whole, unprocessed foods and limit your carbohydrates. There’s a green list that contains all the foods with 0 g to 5 g carbs per 100 g, a orange list that contains food with 6 g to 25 g carbs per 100 g and off course your Red list with all the foods that you are strongly suggested to avoid. For more information and recipes read more here.
In general the term low carb high fat diet refers to just that, low carbs, moderate protein and high fat that is not associated with a specific person like “banting” with William Banting or Tim Noakes or The Atkins diet like with Dr. Robert Atkins.
When you search for LCHF diets on the internet people like Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt pops up. Dr.Andreas Eenfeldt, is a Swedish medical doctor and the founder and owner of DietDoctor.com. Dr. Eenfeldt together with 16 co-workers runs this brilliant site with a comprehensive list of foods allowed and tons of additional information regarding the LCHF diet, for example; how many eggs are you allowed to eat?, How to achieve optimal ketosis , intermittent fasting and what IF your cholesterol is higher after following a LCHF diet.
Another great leader in his field of weight loss with LCHF methods are Dr. Eric Berg a chiropractor who specializes in weight loss through nutritional and natural methods and also the author of The 7 principles of fat burning and developer of the 4 body type systems of weight loss. Anyone who is mildly interested in LCHF diets should subscribe to his You Tube channel. Dr.Berg generously provide you with all the medical answers you need on your journey and give you an in-depth look in understanding other factors that contribute to successful weight loss including shifting your goal and focus on getting healthy, your energy levels, your sleep quality and having a look at your exercise regime.
So where does Ketogenic diets come from then?
Well the Ketogenic diet was primarily used to treat difficult cases of epilepsy in children. Again a diet that is high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. The individual need to reach a stage of nutritional ketosis in order to get fat adapted whereby the body burns fat for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates as the main source of energy supply. Your typical LCHF diet might also bring you to nutritional ketosis should your carbohydrate intake be low enough. Most LCHF dieters depend on this state as your body will use your own fat stores as energy source basically turning your body into a fat burning machine!
If you are not sure what your macro’s (Protein fat and carb ratio daily) should be on a LCHF diet then have a look at this nifty Keto calculator created by Martin Ankerl a software developer with interest in nutrition, specifically in the ketogenic diet.
So where does Paleo fit into the picture?
The Paleo diet is based on what it was like to eat way back in time, like the caveman used to, the same principles applies of no processed food, sugar and grains but the consumption of dairy is probably the most significant difference between Paleo and a standard LCHF diets as most Paleo dieters don’t consume dairy. Fruit is not necessarily a no-no when eating the Paleo way unless your goal is to lose weight, then it’s advisable to cut back on fruit due to big amount of natural sugars it contains.
Rob Wolf is your go to guy if you need to know exactly what Paleo is? Rob Wolf , author of The Paleo Solution, is a former research biochemist and one of the world’s leading experts in Paleolithic nutrition. Another great Paleo site is from Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple that was a professional marathoner and triathlete and also the author of The Primal Blueprint, his blog is filled with up to date information on everything you need to know living a healthy the primal way. If clean eating is more your thing then Paleo living might be your better option compared to a standard LCHF diet.
But isn’t all this just like that Atkins diet?
No, the Atkins diet is associated with Dr. Robert Atkins who was an American physician and cardiologist best known for the Atkins Diet, a popular but controversial way of eating that required close control of carbohydrate , emphasizing protein and fat as the primary sources of dietary calories and controlling the number of carbohydrates from vegetables. His weight loss plan was originally in Vogue magazine in 1970 and was long known as the Vogue diet.
The Atkins diet compose of 4 phases. Unlike LCHF, keto, and Paleo, artificial sugars and all nuts are allowed on Atkins, as well as some grains depending on which phase you are in. Atkins is also known for their line of Atkins products which includes shakes, bars, treats and frozen meals. The Atkins diet’s focus is primarily on restricting carbohydrates and not so much on eating whole foods that’s unprocessed.