The Banting Diet: How prescriptive is it?

On this edition of Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we talk about following the Banting Diet and how prescriptive you need to be. Don’t get caught up in being told what to eat, exactly how much of it to eat and when to eat it.

Are you a puppet-on-a-string when it comes to dieting?

On this edition of the podcast we talk about following the Banting Diet and how prescriptive you need to be. Many people have tried various ‘diets’ to lose weight over their lifetime and they get caught up in needing to be told what to eat, exactly how much of it to eat and when to eat it.

Many people start following the Banting diet and want to be prescribed to but that is a slippery slope to be on because not everyone is the same. People vary in size and in appetite, in metabolism – you have got to be very careful eating a prescriptive diet, don’t you?

Prof Tim Noakes: I think so. Let’s just talk about water briefly for a moment. Humans, or creatures, evolved and we have got this incredible thirst mechanism which works perfectly. 100%. Until you’re really old, then you do tend to under drink a bit.

But if you are otherwise healthy, your thirst tells you exactly how much to drink and when to drink. Then industry came along and said you can’t trust thirst, you must drink ahead of thirst. It was completely wrong and caused all sorts of problems.
I usually give the example that lions look pretty lean and healthy to me in their natural environment. They don’t have a dietician sitting on their shoulder saying ‘Mr Lion today you ate a buffalo, tomorrow you can only eat an impala’. That doesn’t happen.

You need to eat when you’re hungry on the Banting Diet

The lion eats what is in front of it. It goes to sleep for three days if it eats a buffalo and then after three days wakes up and says ‘I’m feeling a bit hungry, let’s go hunting again’. That is the way humans should be. We were like that.

That was until we started eating these convenience foods, and the high carbohydrate foods – which completely hijack your appetite and make you perpetually hungry.

The key is you have got to get rid of the hunger and control the hunger with proper foods. My point is, when you control your hunger, then your body is regulating properly. Whatever you eat then is appropriate.

We have to get away from these addictive eating behaviours and these emotional eating behaviours and respond only to real hunger.

Eat only when our body says ‘Yes you are hungry, you must now eat’. I believe it will tell you what foods you should eat. We didn’t have science 2 million years ago, or 1 million years ago to guide us. All we had was our knowledge and our hunger, and the drive to eat certain foods at certain times of the year. That is how we should eat.

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