The Banting Diet: What it’s About + How it Works

The Banting Diet has taken South Africa by storm. It means eating low carbs and high fat (LCHF). Whenever you eat, choose more fatty stuff to fill you up and little or no carbs at all. You’re allowed between 25 to 50g/100g carbs a day, so you can have some carbs (list of foods in this bracket below). There are no portion sizes to stick to. You pretty much eat as much as you want until you’re full. The idea is that your body knows when it’s full and it will tell you. You don’t have to overeat, and by no means should you undereat. Below are foods you can eat and can’t eat. I also give the Cape Townians places which serve Banting dishes.

The fatty / practically no carbs at all / good stuff to eat
  • All eggs
  • All meats, poultry and game
  • All natural and cured meats (pancetta, parma ham, coppa etc)
  • All natural and cured sausages (salami, chorizo etc)
  • All offal
  • All seafood (except swordfish and tilefish – high mercury content)
  • Broths
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Full-cream Greek yoghurt
  • Full-cream milk
  • Hard cheeses
  • Soft cheeses
  • Any rendered animal fat
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Cheese – firm, natural, full-fat, aged cheeses (not processed)
  • Coconut oil
  • Duck fat
  • Ghee
  • Lard
  • Macadamia oil
  • Mayonnaise, full fat only (not from seed oils – see recipe for coconut mayo)
  • Olive oil

All flavourings and condiments are okay, provided they do not contain sugars and preservatives or vegetable oils.

  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds (watch out for pre-ground flaxseeds, they go rancid quickly and become toxic)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecan nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Erythritol granules
  • Stevia powder
  • Xylitol
  • All green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, lettuces etc)
  • Any other vegetables grown above the ground
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Aubergines
  • Avocadoes
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Courgettes
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Spring onions
  • Tomatoes
The carby / bad stuff to never eat
  • All flours from grains – wheat flour, cornflour, rye flour, barley flour, pea flour, rice flour etc
  • All forms of bread
  • All grains – wheat, oats, barley, rye, amaranth, quinoa, teff etc
  • Beans (dried)
  • “Breaded” or battered foods
  • Brans
  • Breakfast cereals, muesli, granola of any kind
  • Buckwheat
  • Cakes, biscuits, confectionary
  • Corn products – popcorn, polenta, corn thins, maize
  • Couscous
  • Crackers, cracker breads
  • Millet
  • Pastas, noodles
  • Rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Sorghum
  • Spelt
  • Thickening agents such as gravy powder, maize starch or stock cubes
  • Beer, cider
  • Fizzy drinks of any description other than carbonated water
  • Lite, zero, diet drinks of any description
  • Cheese spreads, commercial spreads
  • Coffee creamers
  • Commercial almond milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Fat-free anything
  • Ice cream
  • Puddings
  • Reduced-fat cow’s milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • All seed oils (safflower, sunflower, canola, grapeseed, cottonseed, corn)
  • Chocolate
  • Commercial sauces, marinades and salad dressings
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils including margarine, vegetable oils, vegetable fats
  • Fruit juice of any kind
  • Vegetable juices (other than home-made with Green list vegetables)
  • All fast food
  • All processed food
  • Any food with added sugar such as glucose, dextrose etc
  • All unfermented soya (vegetarian “protein”)
  • Meats cured with excessive sugar
  • Vienna sausages, luncheon meats
  • Beetroots
  • Legumes
  • Parsnips
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (regular)
  • Agave anything
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acusulfame K, saccharin, sucralose, splenda)
  • Cordials
  • Dried fruit
  • Fructose
  • Honey
  • Malt
  • Sugar
  • Sugared or commercially pickled foods with sugar
  • Sweets
  • Syrups of any kind
The ok / do have carbs but really low carbs stuff to eat

Remember you can have between 25g of carbs per 100g each day. These foods do have carbs, so monitor how much of them you have. But you don’t have to steer clear of them by any means.

  • Apples 1.5
  • Bananas 1 small
  • Blackberries 3.5 C
  • Blueberries 1.5 C
  • Cherries (sweet) 1 C
  • Clementines 3
  • Gooseberries 1.5 C
  • Grapes (green) under 1 C
  • Kiwi fruits 3
  • Mangos, sliced, under 1 C
  • Nectarines 2
  • Pawpaw 1
  • Peaches 2
  • Pears (Bartlett)
  • Pineapple, sliced, 1 C
  • Plums 4
  • Pomegranate ½
  • Prickly pears 4
  • Quinces 2
  • Raspberries 2 C
  • Strawberries 25
  • Watermelon 2 C
  • Cashews, raw, 6 T
  • Chestnuts, raw, 1 C
  • Honey 1 t
  • Butternut 1.5 C
  • Carrots 5
  • Sweet potato 0.5 C


C = cups per day
T = tablespoons per day
t = teaspoons per day
g = grams per day
For example: Apples 1.5 are all the carbs you can have for the day

Read more about the facts of how and why the diet evolved here.


The Banting Kitchen – Greenpoint

65 on Main – Greenpoint

Starlings – Claremont

Chalk + Cork – City Bowl

Den Anker – Waterfront

Freres Bistro – City Bowl

Rcaffe – City Bowl

Rococoa – Woodstock

Arugula Bistro + Bread – Belville

Pulp Kitchen + Deli – Durbanville

Soet Bistro – Durbanville

Papinos – Hout Bay

17 Comments Add yours

  1. You forgot Cold Gold in Stellenbosch 🙂

  2. Hugo Rust says:

    You list almonds with 22g/100g carbohydrates under “practically no carbs at all” while peas with 14g/100g and peanuts with 16g/100g is listed under “carby / bad stuff”?


    1. Hi Hugo! The lists are straight from his book “The Real Meal Revolution”. See this link: He likes the fat content of the almonds as opposed to the peanuts. Fat fills you up which keeps you fuller, longer. He doesn’t like the starch in the peas. More here:

  3. Would it be better to have full cream almond milk than full cream milk if you are going to have some form of milk in your tea?

    1. Hi Patsy. He recommends full cream milk, for sure. He actually recommends cream for coffee and tea.

  4. suzanne says:

    Hi i was wondering if corn is ok?

  5. Benita says:

    I recently found out my child has a few allergies, for example nut, soy, gluten and so on. Any ideas on what other things to use instead of the nuts to still have a balanced diet? We already did go gluten, nut and soy free, but also fell sick not long after because of a lack of vitamins, how can we incorporate banting with allergies and also being healthy?

  6. Gill says:

    Corn is definitely not okay – its on the red list! including cornflour, maize, couscous, popcorn, polenta, etc…

  7. Vanessa Francis says:

    Are sugar snap peas allowed? What about baby corn?

  8. Chris says:

    I was wondering if the pyotts cracker breads (one without the maize) were ok to use, I know that the dr Cohen diet allows 5 per day as the body does not register the tiny amount of it. Usually 1 breakfast and 2 for lunch and dinner.
    Please could u look into that?
    Many thanks
    Chris 🐎

  9. In one Pyott’s biscuit there is 6.4g of carbs, so you could have 4 a day. Remember that this diet is low carbs, not necessarily no carbs. Keep your carb intake at 25g of carbs a day maximum and you will be fine. Look on the labels or google carbs!

  10. 0716736580 says:

    Can I have condensmilk in my coffee say once a week?

    1. 38g of condensed milk is 28g of carbs. So you can have roughly six teaspoons a week of condensed milk

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