Guest Post: Let’s Talk About the History of Ketogenic Diet


If you are someone who has failed miserably at controlling your cravings for those cheesy treats that melt in your mouth and that juicy fried chicken but still want to shed some pounds, Keto is the answer to your problem. Keto has recently emerged as the buzz word in fitness circuits and many fitness freaks who have adapted to keto lifestyle are all praises about its results. Keto diet focuses on triggering the production of ketones in our body and requires adhering to a high fat low carb diet, where the carbohydrate proportion should not be more than 5 percent.

The Banting Precursor

Born in 1796, William Banting was an undertaker of note. He was a fine carpenter and was highly respected in 19th century English society. His career highlight as an undertaker was perhaps having the honor of being the Duke of Wellington’s coffin maker. Despite his career success, all was not right in Banting’s life. He was obese and he didn’t know what do to.

Banting spent years trying to discover the root of his weight problem. He knew it wasn’t genetic as neither of his parents had been prone to weight issues. Finally when he was in his thirties, Banting thought he had found a solution. An eminent surgeon and close friend recommended Banting increase

“Bodily exertion before any ordinary daily labours began.”

With the zeal of a convert Banting began to row for two hours every morning before work. All that changed was Banting’s appetite. His morning exertions only made him hungrier. The weight piled on and Banting’s situation grew worse.

Banting’s friends grew worried and advised a diet of moderate and light food. Banting, concerned at this stage, took this dietary advice to its extreme. After a number of week Banting felt weak, without energy and was suffering a rake of health problems. He was hospitalised and underwent a rather serious operation. It was not to be Banting’s last trip to the hospital. On his weight loss travels, Banting was hospitalized over twenty times for weight reduction.

It all seemed rather hopeless. By 1862, aged 64, William came in at 202 pounds. He was only 5 feet 5 inches tall and his weight was becoming an issue. At this stage Banting wrote

“I could not stoop to tie my shoes, so to speak, nor to attend to the little offices humanity requires without considerable pain and difficulty which only the corpulent can understand. I have been compelled to go downstairs slowly backward to save the jar of increased weight on the knee and ankle joints and have been obliged to puff and blow over every slight exertion, particularly that of going upstairs.”

His body was breaking down. He had an umbilical rupture, his eyesight was failing and he was becoming deaf. Eventually hope came. August 1962 saw Banting meet Dr. William Harvey, an ear, nose and throat specialist working at the Royal College of Surgeons. The timings couldn’t have been better. Harvey had just returned from a talk by Dr. Claude Bernard discussing the role the liver played in diabetes. This led Harvey to question the role of foods in diabetes and how nutrients are absorbed by the body.

When Banting met Harvey, he was shocked. Harvey questioned Banting about his diet as he knew it was leading to his other ailments. Harvey divised a new diet for Banting and within one year Banting was down to 156 pounds

The Diet Itself

Harvey’s advice was simple. Give up bread, butter, milk, beer, sugar and potatoes. Such foods were thought it contain starch and were leading to fat. Banting was saddened by this new approach. What was left to eat? Luckily Harvey was a smart man and showed Banting the world of food available to him. On this diet Banting lost nearly a pound a week for a year. He was shocked with the results. In May 1863, Banting self-published Letter on Corpulence, where he described his new diet. The low-carb meal plan was born.

So how different was Banting’s diet? See below the before and after

Banting’s Diet before he met Harvey

BREAKFAST: Bread and milk, or a pint of tea with plenty of milk and sugar, buttered toast.
DINNER: meat, beer, much bread (of which he had always been fond) and pastry.
TEA: a meal similar to breakfast.
SUPPER: generally a fruit tart or bread and milk.

Banting’s Diet After he Met Harvey

BREAKFAST: 4-5 ounces beef, mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon or cold meat of any kind except pork,1 a large cup of tea (without milk or sugar), a little biscuit or one ounce of dry toast.
DINNER: 5-6 ounces of any fish except salmon, any meat except pork, any vegetable except potato, one ounce of dry toast, fruit of any pudding,2 any kind of poultry or game, and 2-3 glasses of good claret, sherry or Madeira (champagne, port, beer were forbidden).
TEA: 2-3 ounces fruit, a rusk or two and a cup of tea without milk or sugar.
SUPPER: 3-4 ounces of meat or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret.
NIGHTCAP:Tumbler of grog: gin, whisky or brandy (without sugar) or a glass or two of claret or sherry.

  1. Pork was not allowed as it was thought then that it contained starch.
    2. Banting was not allowed the pastry.

Banting’s Diet was in effect a high protein diet with both carbohydrate and fat restricted. This diet soon became popular and remains the foundation for many weight loss diets today.

What ever happened to Banting?

Following his incredible weight loss, Banting became a firm advocate of the low-carb diet. He published pamphlets and travelled England imploring people to change the way they ate. Banting himself was a testament to the new way of eating. The low-carb approach had cured his physical ailments and he remained at a healthy weight until his death in 1878.

The Keto Diet

Historically speaking, the term Ketogenic diet became popular in the 1920s. The dietary plan was originally developed as an alternative treatment plan for children suffering from extreme epilepsy. Before Ketogenic diet, fasting was the main treatment that was used to treat epileptic kids who failed to control their seizures. The fast based treatment required fasting for straight 20 to 30 days. The term ketogenic diet was formally coined in 1921 when Rollin Woodyatt was reviewing a research on diet and dieticians. The concept of ketogenic diet was to trigger the production of fatty acids and ketones by minimizing intake of carbohydrates and increasing good fats. As a result it speeds up the process of burning body fat.

Top Keto Friendly Protein Supplements

If you are planning to hit the gym for some muscle building while you are on your weight loss mission, you might be needing protein supplements. Protein supplements not only help in toning your body but also help with speeding up muscle recovery and growth while you are on a rigorous fitness regime.

That said, choosing the right protein supplement can be tricky if you are adhering to a Ketogenic lifestyle. This is because keto diet is strictly based on cutting down the production of insulin and glucose in your body and therefore carbohydrates intake should be restricted to a bare minimum.

Unfortunately, most protein supplements in the market have higher proportion of carbohydrates, mostly to make them taste better, which kills the overall purpose of a keto diet. Therefore, it is important that you go for low carb protein shakes in order to serve the purpose effectively. Here are some of the great low carb protein supplements that you can choose from while you are on your keto diet.


BPI is a fairly new name in the market compared to many veteran competitors. However, BPI has gained a place for itself in a short time due to the fact that its products are very keto friendly. Other than that most of the BPI products are very reasonably priced and your protein supplement will not cost you an arm and a leg. This low carb protein supplement has zero supplements and has 100% whey concentration. The best part is that it even tastes good despite the non-existent sugar levels in the product.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum HydroWhey

Optimuk Nutrition has been a key market player for a while now and enjoys great reputation for its high quality supplements. Optimum Nutrition Platinum HydroWhey continues to meet the brand’s set benchmark and comes out as amazing low carb protein supplements that improves metabolism and aids muscle building. It is instant and easy to prepare and is available in many flavors to choose from. On the down side it is a bit pricier compared to other similar protein supplements.

Nature’s Best – Isopure Zero Carb

Nature’s Best is one of the veteran brands in the market when it comes to supplements. This zero carb protein powder by Nature’s best is one of the best keto friendly products and will ensure that you get all the required energy and muscle strength for your fitness regime without compromising on your ketosis.

Author Bio

Mr. Tayyab is a Freelance Journalist and writes about Nutrition and Minerals to help sportsmen.

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