#LCHFollies ~ Is there a place for beer, wine, spirits in the Banting lifestyle?
You're kidding, right?
What? This is a serious question? Why yes it is!
I've got some things to say -- hopefully in the next week or so -- about Tim Noakes running afoul of the Health Professions Council in his country for advocating a woman wean her child onto a LCHF diet. But I had a Twitter exchange of my own the past couple of days, in which I basically encouraged folks to hijack the #WeSupportTimNoakes hashtag. This is being started to, well, support Noakes against his percieved persecution. Said Twitter exchange took me to a podcast page with a sidebar image showing the Facebook post screenshot below, and leading me to this podcast: Alcohol and the LCHF Diet: Can you drink when Banting?
No ... not the Onion website!
[it's a mighty good thing I didn't have an adult beverage in hand when I came across this!]
Here's the deal. Tim Noakes starts out on shaky ground by calling "his" diet Banting. The low carb advocates have now also dug in their heels by insisting that it's a high fat diet, and we're talking at least 60% fat here -- most don't seem satisfied unless they are upwards of the 70% mark. This has not been a human diet consumed even by the Inuit, and even IF the Inuit diet were composed of less flesh and more fat, it would still be relatively low in saturated fat which is the kind of fat the #LCHF folks now seem to swap the H = high out for H = healthy for (and high in PUFA, especially omega 3, and HUFA = highly unsaturated fatty acids - especially compared to basically any commonly consumed domestic animal meat).
Why did Noakes decide to use Banting? I am not sure. I can only surmise that he thought it a catchy phrase as apparently there was a time when Banting was transformed into a verb meaning dieting. Here is what Noakes says about the origins of "his" diet:
So Prof. Tim Noakes' diet is predicated on a LIE. Why do I say that? Because, first, I don't believe there's any evidence that some supposed higher protein lower fat version of the diet was popularized and Banting considered it inferior. In many ways, I'm not sure who is more mischaracterized by the militant-LCHighFers: Ancel Keys or William Banting. The popularized mischaracterizing all seems to trace back to representations by one Gary Taubes.
But Noakesian Banting is predicated on a lie, because it bears only a passing resemblence to the diet Banting himself laid out in Letter on Corpulence. I discussed Banting's diet in some depth in this post: The real diet of William Banting that "cured" his obesity. You might also enjoy Leigh Peele's similar take: On William Banting’s Diet, Taubes, And Anecdotal Weight Loss. There can be no doubting that William Banting found a diet he could live with -- that included copious amounts of alcohol -- while reducing his calories. There can also be no doubt that the actual diet that Banting lost his weight on -- nevermind how it was received either publically or by the medical establishment -- bears little resemblence to Noakes' version of #LCHF. From his Letter on Corpulence:
What he ate:The items from which I was advised to abstain as much as possible were: Bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer, and potatoes, which had been the main (and, I thought, innocent) elements of my existence, or at all events they had for many years been adopted freely.
For breakfast, at 9.0 A.M., I take five to six ounces of either beef mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon, or cold meat of any kind except pork or veal; a large cup of tea or coffee (without milk or sugar), a little biscuit, or one ounce of dry toast; making together six ounces solid, nine liquid.For dinner, at 2.0 P.M., Five or six ounces of any fish except salmon, herrings, or eels, any meat except pork or veal, any vegetable except potato, parsnip, beetroot, turnip, or carrot, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a pudding not sweetened, any kind of poultry or game, and two or three glasses of good claret, sherry, or Madeira— Champagne, port, and beer forbidden; making together ten to twelve ounces solid, and ten liquid.
For tea, at 6.0 P.M., Two or three ounces of cooked fruit, a rusk or two [bread], and a cup of tea without milk or sugar; making two to four ounces solid, nine liquid.
For supper, at 9.0 P.M. Three or four ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret or sherry and water; making four ounces solid and seven liquid.
For nightcap, if required, A tumbler of grog—(gin, whisky, or brandy, without sugar)—or a glass or two of claret or sherry.
I have highlighted the foods disallowed on Noakes' plan in bold, the items allowed and/or encouraged on his plan but avoided by Banting in bold-blue, and the alcohol in bold red.
The above is the total nutrition on a particularly full day ... that is, if he drank all his stated alcohol. (Leigh's numbers were comparable though she counted less alcohol and half the bread bringing his calories down into Minnesota Starvation range of ~1600.)
There were specific PROHIBITIONS on fatty meats and seafood. Salmon? Not on Banting's menu. Nor pork for its "fattening nature". Banting -- himself -- added: "I can now also state that eggs, if not hard boiled, are unexceptionable, that cheese, if sparingly used, and plain boiled rice seem harmless." And of course, NO BUTTER.
I'll leave you with this, from a January 2015 interview
So ... Is there a place for beer, wine, spirits and that sort of thing in the Banting lifestyle?
Answer: Yes! On a genuine Banting diet, you can enjoy several glasses of wine or booze a day, just lay off the beer and Bullpoopful coffee.