The Banting Diet : How it started


William BantingWilliam Banting
was an English undertaker who’s family business was the undertakers to the Royal Family for most of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. In the 1860’s he was morbidly obese, and have tried unsuccessful fasts, diets, exercise regimes etc he took the advice of Dr. William Harvey who had taken the idea from a lecture on diabetes management given by Claude Bernard.

Mr Banting’s diet consisted of four meals a day of meat, greens, fruits and dry wine. He cut out sugar, starch, beer, milk and butter.

In 1863 William wrote an open letter to the public called ‘Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public’ in which he described his failures and his ultimate success. The booklet become very popular and the word banting was incorporated into the English language to mean dieting. Initial Mr Banting published the booklet at his own expense but later it was published by Harrison, London and remained in print until at least 2007 over 140 years. Not too bad for a “weight loss pamphlet”. It has become a model for many modern diets.

William Banting’s doctor emphasised avoiding sugar, starch, beer, milk and butter and getting energy from animal fats and protein.

Interesting William Banting was a distant relative of Frederick Banting who along with his colleague, Dr. Charles Best discovered insulin.

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