|Born||c. December 1796|
|Died||16 March 1878
Kensington, London, England
|Occupation||Undertaker, coffin maker|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann (wife)|
William Banting (c. December 1796 – 16 March 1878), was a formerly obese English undertaker who was the first to popularise a weight loss diet based on limiting intake of refined and easily digestible carbohydrates. He undertook his dietary changes at the suggestion of Soho Square physician Dr. William Harvey, who in turn had learnt of this type of diet, but in the context of diabetes management, from attending lectures in Paris by Claude Bernard.
Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public
In 1863, Banting wrote a booklet called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public which contained the particular plan for the diet he followed. It was written in the form of an open letter in the form of a personal testimonial. Banting accounted all of his unsuccessful fasts, diets, spa and exercise regimes in his past, then described the dietary change which finally had worked for him, following the advice of a physician. His own diet was four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis was on avoiding sugar, saccharine matter, starch, beer, milk and butter. Banting’s pamphlet was popular for years to come, and would be used as a model for modern diets. Initially, he published the booklet at his personal expense. The self-published edition was so popular that he determined to sell it to the general public. The third and later editions were published by Harrison, London. The pamphlet's popularity was such that the question "do you bant?" referred to his method, and eventually to dieting in general. Banting's booklet remains in print as of 2007.
Banting was publicly vilified for advancing a low-carbohydrate diet and false rumours were spread, claiming his diet had destroyed his health. Banting's work influenced contemporary physicians and scientists investigating low-carb diets. The attacks on Banting prefigured similar rumours spread about Robert Atkins, and the Atkins Foundation maintains Banting's works on its website.
Gary Taubes' recent study of carbohydrates, Good Calories, Bad Calories, begins with a prologue entitled "A brief history of Banting" and discusses Banting at some length. Discussions of low-carbohydrate diets often begin with a discussion of Banting.
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- See also ISBN 0-9543975-1-7.
- William Banting (1869). Letter On Corpulence, Addressed To The Public (4th ed.). London, England: Harrison. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
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- Focardi M, Dick GM, Picchi A, Zhang C, Chilian WM (2007). "Restoration of coronary endothelial function in obese Zucker rats by a low-carbohydrate diet". Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 292 (5): H2093–9. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.01202.2006. PMID 17220180.
- Arora S, McFarlane SI (2004). "Review on "Atkins Diabetes Revolution: The Groundbreaking Approach to Preventing and Controlling Type 2 Diabetes" by Mary C. Vernon and Jacqueline A. Eberstein". Nutr Metab (Lond) 1 (1): 14. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-14. PMC 535347. PMID 15535891.
- "William Banting". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
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