Tonight saw the much hyped launch of the book The Real Meal Revolution. A team-effort between Prof Tim Noakes (scientist), Sally-Ann Creed (nutritionist), David Grier (chef-adventurer) and Jonno Proudfoot (chef-athlete), this book is a lifestyle guide and cookbook which promises to change your weight, health and life for the better! What more could one want for Christmas, when 295 pages of no-set-meal-times, no-portion-sizes and no-kilojoule restriction are neatly wrapped up in a festive red cover?
What really intrigues me is the The Real Meal Revolution’s belief that there is little reason to ingest more than 200 grams per day of carbohydrates, regardless of one’s volume of exercise. I’m thinking back to trail running the likes of Skyrun or mountain biking a grueling Cape Epic stage, both counting for a vast volume of exercise. How would I perform on a mere 200 grams of carbs?
I believe that knowledge is power. So I swung past the launch and bought a copy of the book to see what the hype is about. I prefer to collect facts my way and then come to my own balanced conclusions.
First impressions count and I got a warm fuzzy feeling when I read Gary Player’s foreword ending with: “Make no mistake, this is a food revolution, and you have no better guide on this journey than Tim Noakes.”
The book goes on to set out the principles, benefits and recipes (hmmm) of Banting. Banting is the LCHF (low carbohydrate high fat) diet named after William Banting, who became known for drastically reducing his weight the LCHF way. Traditional bad fat is labelled a myth and carbs are said to be the main culprit in weight gain. The team say Banting will benefit everybody, including athletes and children, even those afflicted with diabetes, obesity, PCOS, pregnancy, menopause, digestive issues, allergies and cancer! Banting emphasizes animal protein and saturated fats, coconut, olive and macadamia oils, and selected cheeses, dairy, nuts, seeds, vegetables and berries. The avoid-list includes grains, sugars and seed oils and it severely limits carbohydrates.
This does not bode well for Christmas…how will the turkey go down without roast potatoes and a sweet pudding?
While I do believe in a number of things the Banting/LCHF lifestyle prescribes, I have concerns that need further consideration. I agree that gluten grains, sugar, processed food and undesirable Omega-6/Omega-3 fat ratios contribute to whole body inflammation. I also agree with the Banting’s emphasis on adequate quality protein and lots of vegetables. However, my concerns around any extreme lifestyle, including Banting, are heightened when claims are not backed by a RCT (randomized controlled trial, the gold standard for clinical trials) and the long term outcomes of following such a lifestyle is not known. Also, the higher carbon footprint of producing and the higher cost of consuming all these animal-derived foods, are real concerns in the world we live today.
The Banting debate will rage on and kilograms will be lost no doubt. In the meantime , I really feel like having the Beef Lasagne (page 134) neat with salad. But when it comes to the mouth-watering Roast Chicken (page 148) or Belly Ribs (page 112) I’m not holding back on my healthy serving of Wild Organics mash or sweet potato wedges!
Happy healthy eating!