Women join Bant-wagon

2015-07-28 13:58

A group of Ocean View women are changing their lifestyle through a dietary intervention by the Noakes Foundation.

The Foundation, which promotes a carbohydrate- and sugarless diet called Banting, is running a six-week programme in the community.

The Ocean View Banting community project is teaching women about the dangers of consuming high amounts of sugar and carbs.

The women on the diet all belonged to a gym group at the community centre.

Some of the participants were eating up to 46 teaspoons of sugar a day, says the Foundation’s Jayne Bullen. This would be topped with chips, sweets and ice-creams.

“Our physician heads up a high-care unit at Groote Schuur and, like us, she knows that many of the chronic illnesses we are seeing taking over younger generations are directly related to very poor diets and unhealthy overconsumption of sugars,” Bullen explains.

“We are working with doctors, nurses and primary healthcare to make sure that Banting is not something for the upper middle class, but a real, affordable long-term way to eat,” she says.

“We know that nutrition and current food guidelines are not working for many. With obesity and heart disease at sky-high rates, we also know that the poorest are the most dramatically affected by malnutrition,” she says.

The Foundation’s Hassina Kajee believes Ocean View is a great sample of a population that is in need of an intervention.

“Underprivileged people generally eat less healthy foods. Carb-rich foods tend to be cheaper. The vicious cycle continues with underprivileged people becoming unhealthier and developing chronic illnesses with long-lasting effects, resulting in a lack of income due to job loss,” she says.

“While many assume that eating healthy food is expensive, this is a myth. The Banting lifestyle promotes eating of the entire animal, bones and all. Cheaper sources of protein can be found in offal and eggs.”

The diet also promotes eating only two meals a day without snacks, Kajee explains.

“This form of eating actually is more cost-effective. There is no buying of juice, cereal, bread, cooldrinks, cakes, chocolates or biscuits. Your shopping becomes more ‘concise’, being limited to real foods – and vegetables can be grown in your own garden,” she says.

One participant, Priscilla Clayton, says she has been losing around two kilograms a week on the diet.

“I had never heard of Banting before, but I wanted to change my lifestyle. We are bread eaters and I love my sugar and I thought I would never be able to go without it,” she says.

She says the group has been working together to find affordable alternatives to the recommended protein sources.

Another participant, Crystal Williams, says she is already noticing an improvement in her health.

“I feel different. I have more energy and am able to concentrate for longer,” she says.

“Although some of the ingredients can be expensive, I go with what I can afford. It’s about making it work for you,” she says

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