Food24 - Thousands of survey respondents give their banting insight

Banting has become synonymous with  Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF) or the Noakes Diet. Famous or infamous, we all know someone on the eating plan, so Food24 undertook a survey in October to ask some simple questions.
There were an incredible 7,359 respondents over a two-week period, the majority of which were between the ages of 30 – 45 and female (68.98%). There were those in in their fifties undertaking the diet (11.93%) – with the “missing in actions” below the ages of 23.

Most had just started the diet or were less than six-months into the plan, but the respondents were typically following the diet very strictly or at 100% compliance.

The majority of respondents took the decision to undertake a new eating plan by “personal decision” (65.20%). An answer that is easy to understand considering the level of publicity that the Banting Diet has received.
This is followed by “recommendations by friends” (24.19%).   According to a Food 24 article on 13 August, Tim Noakes claims the LCHF diet works as “When we eat carbohydrates, we either burn it as fuel or store it as fat. But, the more insulin resistant you are, the more fat you store. We don’t build muscles, brains, or bones from carbohydrates, but from fat and protein.” From the Food24 survey, weight loss was one of the lesser reported benefits of the diet with less hunger (39.16%) and more energy (38.96%) topping the charts.  The ability to eat fatty foods without feeling guilt scored high, and weight loss came in last.

The survey highlighted that the hardest foods to give up were bread (44.56%), potatoes (29.47%) and sugar (28.78%) – with negative reactions ranging from missing carbohydrates (37.03%) to constipation (19.07%), not being able to maintain weight loss, increased cholesterol, lethargy and nausea.
Prof Noakes explains that these symptoms are usually due to withdrawal of the sugar addiction and that it will go with time.

This aligns with the fact that the majority of respondents felt that they could indefinitely maintain the diet (51.87%) and had not found the shift to a new eating plan hard to make (44%). “I find it most interesting that ability to eat fatty foods scored higher than weight loss – this might be due to the high percentage of respondents who have been on the diet for less than six months. Also, the rise in ‘substitute’ recipes like cauliflower risotto and grain-free bread just show that there’s no limit to what people are able to create in the kitchen and offers them something pretty similar to the real thing,” says Tessa Purdon, Food Editor at Food24.

While medical professionals are debating the health benefits or detriments of the diet, it appears that a great many people have taken the plan to heart.

Designed for diabetics and overweight people, the diet has been adopted by many outside those categories as seen in the response to: Is cholesterol a concern for you as an LCHF eater? Worryingly, even though 26% of respondents are concerned about cholesterol levels – only 4.76% are seeking medical assistance in following the diet and an even lower 1.64% has enlisted the assistance of a nutritionist.

Only 9.17% are seeing a medical professional to measure their cholesterol, whilst 8.63% are concerned, but doing nothing about it. “Yes, but I’m self-managing” came in at 16.23%.

Finding recipes online was the respondents most utilised source of information (69.23%). If you’re on the diet or planning to go on it, there are recipes available here.

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