Does the Banting diet affect children’s development and concentration?

On this episode of Ask Prof Noakes we chat to Prof. Tim Noakes about the subject of scientific studies on the LCHF Diet. We find out here about children eating a Banting diet and what effect it has on their concentration capacity.

Does the Banting diet affect children’s development and concentration?

We’ve mentioned the book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz, before on the Ask Prof Noakes Podcast.

Essentially what Nina Teicholz does is look at all the scientific studies around the LCHF diet and debunks many of the myths surrounding the Banting diet.

Today’s question is linked to the subject of scientific studies. Jodie submitted her question and she wanted to know if there have been any studies done around the long term development effects on children eating a Banting diet as well as on their concentration capacity.

Professor Noakes: Unfortunately not. We do have some data on children who are epileptic and were put on the diet. The diet was developed for children who are epileptic and it almost cures the epilepsy. So they can reduce their medication dramatically.
Those children do show not absolutely normal growth, but in my opinion, it’s because they’re not normal. They’ve got a disease. If you have a brain disorder, you wouldn’t expect the child to grow normally.

The Banting diet and epilepsy

Some of the arguments about children on this diet not developing normally come from that sort of story. I like to look back in history and you go to the populations that were eating lots of meat, and did not eat grains and cereals, like the Masai and like the Plains Indians in North America.

In the 1800s, the Plains Indians in North America, only ate bison and a few berries in summer. That was it. They were the tallest people on earth. Some of them were up to seven foot tall.

I absolutely can’t understand how a high protein, high fat diet is not going to make you taller than if eating a high cereal diet. The evidence historically must be that that is the case.

As far as concentration goes, my daughter’s a teacher and she tells me that the children go mad after lunch break, because they’ve had so much carbohydrates, and they’re difficult to control. Individual parents then have told me that their children’s concentration has improved dramatically when they go onto this diet, because they don’t get those emotional swings.

I know it’s happened to me. I’m completely a more placid person now that I don’t have those carbohydrate swings, and then to take it to the athlete’s David Warner, the, the great Australian opening batsman. We converted him to this diet, and he says it’s amazing. He said he is so much fitter now and his concentration is so much better. And that’s a real test, because cricket and golf are the two sports that really test your concentration, because you have to turn it on and off. He says it’s just chalk and cheese, the level of his concentration now.

So I think all the anecdotes and all the historical evidence is that that this is the diet that your brain needs. It doesn’t need to have your blood glucose rising and falling all the time, every day, as happens if you eat high carbohydrate diet.

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