I’ve been following a low carb/low carb high fat/banting lifestyle for just over two and a half years now. And if half the health & fitness experts were to be believed, I should NOT have achieved what I have achieved. In fact, if half of what you read about poorly researched, ill informed proponents of the high carb low fat diet, were true, well I’d have dropped dead of a heart attack by now, worst case scenario, or best case scenario, I’d have cholesterol through the roof, have no energy and be a lethargic, starving, person whose body was eating her own muscle tissue just to survive.
Wow. I look terrible hey?
And for those of you haven’t followed my journey, just as a point of reference, I tried to find a photo of me but it was hard to find a before photo, mostly because I hated having my photo taken previously because I felt horrible, this was the best I could do, so here’s your point of reference:
So, from my own experience, if you’re considering the banting lifestyle, this is what I want to tell you:
Fat digestion and metabolism happen via completely different pathways than the ones used for carbohydrate metabolism. The first major difference in the digestion of fats relative to carbohydrates is that the breakdown and absorption is a much slower process. Most fats are broken down slowly in the gut via a series of enzymes called lipases and eventually make their way into the blood stream as free fatty acids. Like sugars, once in the bloodstream free fatty acids can be used for energy (via the process known as ketogenesis) or stored in adipose (fatty) tissue for later use.
Yes it’s true. When you first start switching from burning carbs for fuel to burning fat, you will feel tired. You may suffer from what’s known as “carb flu” but it only lasts a few days and then guess what happens? You have sustained energy for MUCH longer periods and because lchf meals are higher in calories, you will also be fuller for longer. No more midafternoon slumps, no more peaks and valley’s in your energy levels, just consistent and sustained energy to go the entire day.
Banting is LOW carb not NO carb!
This is my biggest bug bear with so called health professionals who bash banting. They will tell you that removing an entire section of the food pyramid is unhealthy. Well guess what? That’s because they haven’t researched properly. Low Carb/banting diets are exactly that…. LOW carb. I still eat carbs, I just don’t eat wheat, potato or rice based carbs and here’s why:
What happens to your body when you eat carbs? Read this then wonder why you can’t lose or sustain weight loss on a traditional, low fat high carb diet! You’re messing with your insulin, and as someone who was insulin resistant, I can tell you that when I got my insulin under control, my weight came off and that was without the help of medications!
I think it’s also important to note that banters ALL eat carbs, we just get our carb intake from different sources and in much lower mg’s than low fat dieters. Most vegetables contain carbs, there are carbs in cauliflower and onions and even dairy products. The difference is that they’re in far lower mg’s than in traditional carb foods like potatoes, rice and wheat based products. I try to stick to no more than 25mg’s of carbs a day but the more fat adapted I have become and the less insulin resistant I’ve become the less sensitive my body is so I have found that I can eat, for example, sweet potato and butternut more regularly without it affecting my weight anymore.
Another interesting read is this on Adrenal Fatigue (which is becoming more and more prevalent today) and the affect carbs have on your adrenals and your adrenal function.
I think it’s also really important to look at what your health care professional is encouraging you to take. A thousand different supplements and diet pills and fat burners and medications to control insulin etc. Because apparently, that’s healthy! A product scientifically designed in a laboratory is healthier than using food as medicine? I also think it’s important to look at who funds the research into healthy diets. You’ll find the big money behind all the big “health” foundation are soda companies, margarine companies, cereal companies, big drug companies making profit off keeping us sick and the like! Come now? You really think that’s going to be unbiased research?
Here are some of the benefits I’ve experienced from my 2.5 years of banting:
- I no longer need medication for insulin resistance
- I don’t struggle with insomnia anymore
- I don’t battle with IBS anymore
- I don’t get constipated
- I don’t get an upset stomach, unless I’ve cheated and eaten traditional carbs, especially wheat based products.
- My cholesterol has stabilized and my “good” cholesterol, which was always too low is now normal and my “bad” cholesterol, which was always too high is now normal.
- My BP is a perfect 120/80
- I don’t get hungry
- I don’t get cravings (unless I’ve cheated, because let’s be honest, sugar (read carbs) is HIGHLY addictive)
So the next time someone tells you that low carb diets are a fad, or not sustainable, or not healthy, look at what that person is promoting? Drugs? Supplements? Processed foods that will make you sicker? Low fat foods that are packed with sugar?
Don’t be fooled. Do your research and for goodness sakes, if you’re going to bash a low carb diet, at least research it properly and KNOW what you’re talking about!
I did this in 11 months without taking a single diet pill or supplement, or any medication of any kind. Just eat real food, cut the crap, stop with the sugar (it’s hidden in about 50 different names for sugar on your food labels) stop eating processed food and stop listening to people who have ulterior motives!