5 reasons why you should be on a balanced diet and not Banting

A scientific study conducted by researchers from Stellenbosch University found that there is no difference between weight loss in people who follow low carbohydrate diets when compared to those that follow balanced diets. Dr. Celeste Naude and Professor Jimmy Volmink joined us in studio to unpack the science behind dieting.

Here are five reasons why you need to pay attention to this study and should probably be on a balanced diet rather than a high fat, low carbohydrate diet - commonly know in South Africa as a Banting lifestyle.

1. Energy in vs. energy out

Dr. Naude explains that this study set out to determine how the effect of a low carb diet compares to the effect of a balanced diet when it comes to weight loss. The study pooled results observed in over 3,000 overweight and obese people for up to two years, and found that the people on the low carb diet didn't lose any more weight than the people on the balanced diet. All participants were given the same amount of energy (calories). Dr. Naude says this is important because it allowed them to evaluate whether the actual mix of carbohydrates, fat and protein in a diet influence weight loss, independent of the calorie intake. Results show that weight loss is the result of reduced energy (calorie) intake regardless of the proportions of carbohydrate, fat and protein that make up the total energy content of the diet. WATCH:

2. The long term effects of low carb diets are unknown

At the moment there are no studies that can outline the long term effects when it comes to low carbohydrate/Banting diets. Although Scandinavian researchers have started to do research to find out what the long term effects are, there are not yet any solid results. WATCH:

3. Banting diets are impractical and unsustainable

Professor Volmink says they don't agree with the Tim Noakes approach because of the uncertainty about the long term effects and safety of the Banting diet. This diet is also inaccessible and the foods that are recommended on low carb diets are too expensive for most of the world. Dr. Naude adds that besides cereals and grains, dairy, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and most whole foods also contain carbohydrates and advice to drastically reduce carbohydrates means also restricting intake of these nutrient-rich foods. This results in a dietary pattern that is not aligned with the pattern known to reduce long term risk of lifestyle diseases. She rather recommends a balanced diet with a more moderate intake of a variety of good quality foods to meet nutrient needs, including healthy carbs, fats and protein and adequate vitamins and minerals. An example of a balanced diet looks like the graph below - actual proportions will vary from person to person, but maintaining energy balance (not eating more calories than you need) is critical for everyone for a healthy weight and to prevent weight gain.

(Image supplied by Stellenbosch University)



4. This study was conducted on people representative of the real world

Prof Tim Noakes told the South African Press Association, that this study wasn't representative of the real world. Dr. Naude and Prof. Volmink respond to these allegations. WATCH:

5. Your diet should be easy to follow and consist of nutrient-rich, good quality food choices

The South African food based dietary guidelines have been developed specifically for our population, Dr. Naude and Prof. Volmink believe that this is the best route to go for achieving a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, with emphasis on preventing excess calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight. WATCH:

Are you on a diet? If so let us know in the comments section below. Is it working for you?

Read more on: tim noakes banting diet
Jaimè Niddrie 2014-08-14 10:14:02 AM
I think these people are just trying to get some face time. Also. I am on a restricted carb diet and no matter how much I eat in in a day - within my recommended carb intake (I count my carbs, fat, protein calories) , I AM STILL below my recommended daily calorie intake. So shush.
Jaimè Niddrie 2014-08-14 10:15:57 AM
17kgs lost and still counting! I have been on a low calorie weightloss plan recommended for my height, weight and age. I almost ate the chair I was sitting on. Why go through so much torture if you can lose the same amount eating less carbs?!!?!?!?
Eugene Fourie 2014-08-14 10:21:24 AM
blah blah blah...I just find it EXTREMELY interesting that all these medical "experts" keep on trying to discredit the Banting diet the whole time..
Ally Murdoch-Jago 2014-08-14 10:23:57 AM
How dare a second rate university like Stellenbosch question a UCT Professor?!!!
Etienne De Beer 2014-08-14 10:41:33 AM
The heathiest people are the Eskimos. Do you see them plant anything on the snow. No, they eat meat. Who is the fattest? A Cow, pig, sheep or a lion and cheetah.I rest my case.
Reinardt Bronkhorst 2014-08-14 10:41:50 AM
Long term results have been scientifically proven now. In terms of cancer risk, high animal protein diets are more dangerous than smoking. And the same diet results in a 5 times increased morbidity in diabetics. Like all restrictive diets, it's bad for you, this should be common sense. Eat normal food like millions have done for so long. Get off your butt a few times and enjoy some exercise. Short cuts in terms of diet, are never a good idea.
NoAbsolutes 2014-08-14 10:42:02 AM
LOL, I'd also say that if my livelihood was at risk because all I've done is repeat incorrect conclusions from weak studies, without question.
Lilian Looney 2014-08-14 10:46:36 AM
I have been a size 10 for over 40 years. I eat anything and everything in moderation. I never allow myself to get full because I hate that feeling. Nothing if fattening if you eat in moderation.
Jeremy Richard Schaffner 2014-08-14 11:05:40 AM
5 reasons maybe, but not good enough reasons. Noakes et al have also done their homework, but they err a bit on the distant history of food, food given to man by God to eat. Read the Noakes book again, carefully, and make the adjustments necessary for you personally. Noakes makes provision for that. Pun intended.
Mark Aldridge 2014-08-14 11:09:47 AM
The best scientific experiments are the ones conducted by ourselves on ourselves because we can verify the results not on paper but physically.. I was heavily overweight and had a list of ailments which after being on banting 5 days of the week for 3 months disappeared along with 12kg of weight.. I went off banting and have picked up 5 kg of the weight and all my symptoms are returning... End result I will be going back to banting thank you..