The Banting Diet

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Show Notes KCP002: The Banting Diet


Terms & Definitions (2:49)

Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are found in almost every type of food we consume, and while they come in a wide variety of forms, the most common types of carbohydrates are sugars, fibers, and starches. The basic role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with glucose, that can then be used as energy to fuel the body. One gram of carbohydrates provides the human body with 4 kilocalories (kcal) of energy.

For the non-diabetic person, carbohydrates are not necessarily a problem. But for those of us who have a metabolic disorder like diabetes, 1 gram of carbohydrates can raise our blood sugar by 6 to 8 mg/dl. For example, that regular size, not the king-size snickers bar that you just ate contains 33 grams of carbohydrates which will raise your blood sugar by 198 – 264 mg/dl. In addition, any carbohydrates that are not immediately used for energy are then converted into fat and stored for later use. So the bottom line is that carbohydrates not only raise your blood sugar, they make your fat.

Low Carbohydrate Diet – A low carbohydrate diet is any diet that restricts total net carbohydrates to less than 100 – 125 grams per day. Considering that on average a so-called “balanced” diet generally contains about 300 grams of net carbohydrates per day, 100 – 125 grams seems quite low. On the other hand, if your goal is to get into a state of nutritional ketosis, then you may only be able to eat 20 – 50 grams or less of net carbohydrates a day. If this is the case, then a diet in which someone eats 100 – 125 grams of carbohydrates doesn’t really appear to be low carbohydrate.

So, depending on your perspective, this amount of daily carbohydrate intake may seem really high or low. This is where many people get confused when they hear someone talking about a low carbohydrate. Many people new to this way of eating assume that if a diet is considered a low-carbohydrate diet then it is a ketogenic diet, but that is not always the case. I am a diabetic, and my personal goal is to keep my net carbohydrates less than 20 grams a day. In addition, there are many people who do not consider a diet to be ketogenic unless you keep your total net carbohydrates for the day less than 20 grams, but this is not necessarily true.

Ketogenic Diet – Is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet in which the total number of carbohydrates consumed in a day keeps you in a state of metabolic ketosis. Generally any diet in which the total carbohydrate count consumed in one day is less than 50 grams is considered to be ketogenic. Carbohydrate restrictive diets such as a ketogenic diets promote the process of ketosis for fat burning and blood sugar control.


The Banting Diet (07:40)

William Banting was a notable British undertaker that suffered from obesity. At 5′ 6′ he weighed 202 pounds and as he stated could not tie his own shoes and had to walk down the stairs backward, nor could he walk very far without being winded. After seeing several medical advisers, Banting finally discovered Dr. William Harvey. Dr. Harvey had recently been attending some lectures by the physiologist Claude Bernard in Paris where one of the topics was how to treat patients with diabetes using a low carbohydrate diet. Based on the information gained in these lectures, Dr. Harvey believed that both sugar and starchy foods caused obesity and that it’s effects could be reversed by avoiding foods that contained starch and sugars such as bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer, carrots, turnips, beetroot, parsnips and potatoes and any other foods that were saccharine (excessively sweet).

Following this diet, Banting lost 35 pounds in 38 weeks (9 ½ months), and eventually lost a total of 52 pounds, and reduced his waist by 12”. Banting’s health dramatically improved to the point in which he stated he felt better than he had for more than twenty years. He could now walk up and down stairs easily, his joints no longer hurt, he had extra energy and was no longer easily winded. Banting was so happy with his results that in 1863, he wrote and published his now famous ‘Letter On Corpulence (Obesity)’. By 1869, his pamphlet had sold more than 63,000 copies with all proceeds going to a variety of charitable organizations.

In 1863, William Banting self published his ‘Letter On Corpulence (Obesity)’. The first 2,500 pamphlets he had printed, he gave away for free to anyone who wanted a copy. After that copies were sold at cost. In these pamphlets he wrote down his low carbohydrate way of eating and how it affected his health.

Foods Allowed: Most vegetables (see below), any meat or wild game, (except pork or veal), although bacon is allowed. Any fish (except salmon and herring), Any fowl, coffee, tea, red wine, and hard liquor. Foods Allowed In Moderation: Fruit, toast, and rice. Foods Not Allowed: Bread, butter, milk, cheese, sugar, beer, carrots, turnips, beetroot, parsnips and potatoes. Fatty meats such as pork (bacon is allowed) and veal.

Breakfast (Between 8 – 9AM)– 4 to 5 ounces of any meat, fish, or fowl, large cup of tea without any milk or sugar, 1 ounce dry toast (6 ounces solid food, 9 ounces liquid).

Lunch (Between 1 – 2PM) – 5 to 6 ounces of any fish except salmon, or any meat except pork, any kind of poultry or game, any vegetables except potato, 1 ounce of dry toast, and two or three glasses of claret, sherry, or Maderia (10 to 12 ounces solid food, 10 ounces liquid).

Tea ( 5 – 6PM) – 2 or 3 ounces of fruit, a rusk (tea biscuit) or two, large cup of tea without any milk or sugar (2 to 4 ounces solid food, 9 ounces liquid).

Supper (9PM) – 3 to 4 ounces of any fish except salmon, or any meat except pork, with a glass or two of claret (4 ounces solid food, 7 ounces liquid).

Nightcap (optional) – A tumbler of grog (gin, whiskey, or brandy without sugar) or a glass or two of claret or sherry.

While the Banting diet was considered one of the first low carbohydrate diets to become popularized. It is interesting to note that there are still some foods on the approved list that today we would consider to be too high in carbohydrates to be included in a low carbohydrate diet. Foods such as rice, toast, fruits, and tea biscuits which can still contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates were allowed in moderation. In addition, butter, pork, veal, salmon, herrings and other foods that were considered to be to high in fat to be healthy and were to be avoided. So we can see there was still some fear that fatty foods made you fat and should be avoided.

Although Banting listed his personal individual meal plan in his pamphlet as an example of the diet he followed, he stated that the quantity of the food eaten should be dictated by one’s individual hunger, not a specific regimen. He also surmised that the quality of the food was more important that the quantity. Banting did not necessarily believe or recommend that a person needed to eat four meals a day, rather he wanted his readers to know specifically what he ate and when each day. In essence, he encouraged people to eat according to their appetite as long as they ate the approved foods.

By examining Banting’s personal meal plan it appears he consumed somewhere between 50 and 80 grams of carbohydrates per day. This would indeed make it a low carbohydrate diet, however I am not sure that I would call it a high fat diet due to the fact that he recommended restricting high fat foods such as butter, heavy cream, cheese, pork, veal, and fatty fish such as salmon and herring. What we see however is that even 150 years ago it was proven that a low carbohydrate diet, moderate fat diet was effective in reversing obesity.

The Banting diet is still popular today, and has undergone quite a bit of revision over the last 150 years. But it has been over shadowed by more popular diets such as ‘Atkins’, ‘LCHF’, and the ‘Paleo Diet’. There are plenty of websites that have information regarding the Banting diet with revised foods lists, and other nutritional information. You can also read an online copy of Banting’s original ‘Letter On Corpulence (Obesity)’ by clicking on the highlighted link.


You’ve Got Mail (21:08)

Sarah asks what was the most difficult thing that I encountered when starting on my ketogenic diet?


Recipe Of The Episode (24:00)

There are a lot of different approaches to making bone broth. The most common is either cooking the broth on the stove on in a slow cooker for 12 to 24 hours. There is however a faster and more efficient way, and that is to use a pressure cooker. I believe the best bone broth comes from cooking one or two whole birds and reserving the cooking liquid and then after you have de-boned the carcasses for other meals, add the bones back to the cooking liquid and add the remaining ingredients. Making bone broth this way gives the final product a depth of flavor that cannot be beat. However, many people make excellent tasting bone broth with just leftover bones. The following recipe makes about 2 quarts of bone broth.

2 to 3 pounds beef, chicken, pork, or rabbit bones
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, with the Mother
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
mirepoix, optional (see below)

Place bones in your electric pressure cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water until the pot is ¾ full (my instant-pot holds 4 liters, so I fill it with liquid to the 3 liter line).

Let the bones to sit in the water with the vinegar for 30 minutes. The idea behind this is that this allows the vinegar to begin to soften the bones and helps to leech out the minerals from the bones into the broth. This increases your cook time, and to be honest, I do not think that it matters when you are using a pressure cooker, but I do not mind the additional wait time.

If you are using an Instant-pot electric pressure cooker, Select the ‘Soup’ button and change the pressure setting to ‘low’. Then set the cook time for 2 hours (120 minutes). When the timer is goes off, unplug your Instant-pot and allow it to depressurize naturally.

All that is left to do is to strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the bones and or any vegetables or herbs that you may have added to the pressure cooker. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. We like to store some of our bone broth in individual one cup portions and the remaining in glass Mason canning jars which we can for later use. Smaller portions of bone broth can be put in plastic ice cube trays and frozen, then stored in zip-lock bags in the freezer. This makes it easy to heat up a few cubes if you just want a hot cup of bone broth or need to add body to a soup or sauce.

So that’s the quick and easy way to make bone broth, but if you want to take your bone broth to the next level then you need to roast the bones. The roasting of beef, pork, and lamb bones in the oven adds a depth of flavor that you just do not get from simply boiling the bones. The great thing is that it only takes about half an hour. To roast the bones, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees then place the bones in a roasting pan in a single layer, and lightly coat them with olive oil and place them in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off check the bones, they should be a deep rich brown color. If they are not, then roast for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Once the bones have been roasted to perfection, toss them in your stockpot of pressure cooker. Now another key to developing great flavor is to take a small amount of hot water and add it to the roasting pan after you have removed the bones. Then take a wooden or plastic spoon and carefully scrap all the bits from the pan (aka fond) and add them to your stockpot or pressure cooker.

Think of this base recipe as a blank canvas and you are the artist. You can add so many different vegetables, herbs and aromatics to this basic bone broth depending on your personal tastes. Some of my favorite additions in no specific order are: garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, kombu (dried seaweed), and Korean red pepper paste (gochujang). The skies the limit, so experiment and enjoy your creations.




Todd’s Instant Pot Bone Broth Recipe

Banting’s Letter On Corpulence



Banting, William. (1863). Letter On Corpulence. London: Haerison.

Eenfeldt, Andreas, M.D. (2014). Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution: Advice And Recipes To Improve Your Health And Reduce Your Weight. Skyhorse Publishing.

Phinney, Stephen M.D., Volek, Jeff, Ph.D. (2011). The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity LLC.

Phinney, Stephen M.D., Volek, Jeff, Ph.D. (2011). The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity LLC.

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