Is Banting all it’’s Cracked up to be? Here’’s a Doctor who Believes it isn’’t


Posted on February 20, 2015 in Low Carb High Fat Health Summit by Marika Sboros

Sixteen of the world’s top scientists, medical doctors and researchers at the first international Low-Carb, High-Fat (aka Banting or Keto) Summit in Cape Town hosted by sports scientist Prof Tim Noakes from February 19 to 22, are spotlighting new paradigms of  food as medicine and medicine as food. Summit speakers include US science journalist and author Gary Taubes who spoke on his extensive research into why people get fat, and the lack of science behind the energy imbalance hypothesis – too many calories in, too few expended; Dr Jay Wortman, clinical assistant professor in faculty of medicine at the University of British University of Columbia, and a recognised authority on low-carb ketogenic diets  for treatment of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes for the past 10 years, spoke today on traditional diets, and research showing that three main toxic ingredients in modern diets – refined grains, sugar and seed oils –  are driving obesity and diabetes epidemics across the globe

British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra will speak tomorrow on the impact of dietary changes in the context of modern medicine. Dr Stephen Phinney, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, Davis, will speak tomorrow on his 3o years of research into low-carb diets for athletes, and on Sunday on the art and science of low-carb living. Phinney, with colleague Dr Jeff Volek, has done seminal research effectively demolishing the diet heart hypothesis which holds that saturated fat causes heart disease.  

While LCHF is a nutritional phenomenon across the globe, not all medical specialists are on board. Many still believe it is unsustainable, and the high saturated fat content makes it a threat to health, despite growing evidence to the contrary. Here, Dr Derek Yach, head of Discovery’s Vitality Institute in the US, and a colleague explain why they believe Banting fans are barking up the wrong nutritional tree. – MS

By Adriana Selwyn and Derek Yach*

The low-carbohydrate diet phenomenon is the latest in a long line of diets claiming to be the solution to rapidly rising rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. It comes as no surprise then that on February 19-22, the world’s First International Low Carb High Fat Health Summit will take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

The four day summit is co-hosted by Prof Tim Noakes, passionate low-carb crusader and proponent of the Banting diet, which has taken South Africa by storm.

Following the diet may well result in weight loss, partly because when dietary carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, fruit, bread, legumes) are restricted, cells have to break down muscle and fat stores for energy, and primarily because of the overall lower calorie intake. However, research indicates any diet that reduces calorie intake, regardless of protein, carbohydrate or fat composition, will result in weight loss and associated metabolic benefits. Essentially, eating less of everything will lead to weight loss.

However, when a diet almost entirely eliminates a food group, questions need to be asked:



*Derek Yach,  a South African medical doctor with a masters  in public health,  is a former World Health Organisation director, former Pepsico executive, and nows head of the Discovery Vitality Institute in New York.

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