Diet Wars - Banting vs Veganism


Diet Wars - Banting vs Veganism

Diets are trending again. Forget about just sticking to salad at lunch, or substituting all solid food with lemon juice, or trying to survive the day on a fifty gram lettuce leaf and a quarter date cut by the light of a full moon on the first Thursday of the month! There’s a little more to these diets than what our mothers told us. Here’s our take on two at the extreme ends of the dietary spectrum in our Dietary Death Match: Brutal Banting vs Vicious Veganism!

The Banting Diet, also known as the ketogenic diet or the Noakes Diet after our own Prof Tim Noakes, is a popular high fat, low carb diet. If any diet can capture the hearts and minds of so many braai-loving South Africans, it’s no surprise that it’s this one. Celebrity doctor and TV presenter Michael Mol, and South African model Candice Swanepoel have both been known to support the diet.

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Distinctive meals include lots of bacon, eggs and sausage for breakfast (forget those oats!) and every possible permutation of cauliflower known to man (no seriously – cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash and cauliflower pizza bases all feature to the chagrin of carb lovers everywhere). To stick to this diet, eat lots of animal proteins, fats and low carb vegetables, and stay away from sugar. Like far, far away from sugar – no sweets, no starchy vegetables and no sweeteners. Once you’re in the swing of things, just watch those kilos disappear as you realise how much you miss the sweet, sweet kiss of a pizza covered in doughnuts and smothered in chocolate sauce.

Hold onto your organic hessian Fedoras, Veganism, the long-time dietary choice of rabbits and tree hugging hippies has entered the mainstream. Put down that T-bone, and grab some broccoli instead, because it seems like it’s here to stay. The World Health Organisation even went as far as classifying processed meat as a carcinogen (and red meat as a probable carcinogen). It’s no wonder that more people are opting for a cruelty free dinner plate. Celebrity vegans include Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Vi$$er.

Dietary vegans don’t consume any animal products at all – so no meat, dairy, eggs or any other animal derived products. It’s possible to follow a very unhealthy vegan diet – just think slap chip sandwiches and Oreos follow all the rules of veganism, but no good can come of it! Good vegan diets are higher in fibre, minerals and vitamins, and lower in cholesterol and saturated fats, and should include a good mix of legumes, rice, fresh vegetables (including the leafy green ones), fruits, seeds and nuts. Ensure that if you decide to follow this one, you get armed with a good response to the question, “So, where do you get your protein from?”

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Remember to consult your doctor before making a significant dietary change (and compared to what the average South African eats, both of these are significant changes!). Nutritionists can assess your daily calorie needs based on your activity level and help provide a meal plan that will make this change smoother. Diet plans work well with exercise to keep you motivated – instead of indulging in something unhealthy, how about doing twenty burpees instead? Join a community, so that established members can help with dietary advice and motivation. Enjoy the road to a trimmer you – just ignore all those doughnut-pizza-chocolate sauce cravings!



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