The Banting Grey List

It is no secret that we take a strong stance on certain foods.

We don’t think you should ever eat anything on the Really Red List. Ever.

The Light Red List is made of foods we would recommend you eat only if you can do so without putting on weight. For most of us, that would mean never, or hardly ever.

The foods on the Orange List are all whole, real foods that you can eat under different circumstances. We would recommend you eat them from time to time, even if you are going full-on ketogenic for no reason other than to mix your diet up a little with colour and flavour.

The Green List is the list of foods that we advocate for anyone to eat in almost any quantity.

But here’s the thing. There are foods we simply can’t take a stance on regardless of what phase of the Banting Diet you are in. They present a massive grey area in our world. There are foods that could be beneficial to one’s weight loss, or sanity, but that violate some of our rules in other areas.

These foods make up the Banting Grey List, and here they are:

the grey list

Treats on the Banting Grey List

Baked goods and artificially sweetened desserts do not fit into The Banting Diet. In general, even baked goods and desserts that profess to be low carb are higher in carbs than normal low carb foods like meat, fish, poultry and vegetables.

Sure, they are the lesser evil. If there was a freshly baked French baguette right next to a freshly baked gluten-free, sugar free bread, you should choose the not-French-baguette.

What we have found though, is that when people embark on low carb diets, they often diet according to what the products on the shelves say, rather than what will work best for their bodies. In other words, they ignore the principles and simply buy the same types of foods, just this time they buy the ones that say Banting or low carb. And what’s worse, the people who live by the label often blame the diet when it doesn’t work.

When a company writes Low Carb or Banting on a product, it can mean many things. It could mean ‘lower carb than my lookalike’ in the case of bread, or ice-cream or cheesecake or whatever.

If this is the logic you apply to your purchase decisions, we would urge you to reconsider.

Most diet or weight loss companies send you out to stock up on their special foods that work in conjunction with their regime. The truth is that the best diets (or most things in life really) are the ones that focus on removing things from your life, not adding them in.

If you want to lose weight or return to the shape and size you should be as a healthy human, does it really make sense for you to do this by eating a special range of bars, pills and shakes?

What would make sense (in our opinion) is for you to start eating foods that resemble the foods that you would naturally eat in nature. Don’t replace sugary ice-cream with non-sugary ice-cream. Replace it with a quick walk after a meal, cleaning the kitchen or a game of monopoly (maybe an apple).

So, you can probably tell that we’re not super keen on desserts or baked goods, regardless of their carb or sugar content. But, they are probably better than their high sugar high gluten cousins, which can’t be ignored.

Our view is that these baked goods are a grey area. If you have control of your weight and you think you can handle a low carb treat, then you might be able to. It might not hurt. But it might.


Sweeteners on the Banting Grey List

You may have read our Sticky Rib Theory on the Banting Light Red List when we referred to maple syrup, dried fruit, honey and dark chocolate.

Basically, sweetness drives appetite. Bottom Line. One of the main reasons we’re against the treats above.

The reason you battle to eat less is because something is messing with your appestat (the part of your brain that governs hunger).

Sweetness messes with the appestat. And that’s bad.

But different to honey, maple syrup and dried fruit (which by the way are incredibly high carb – like basically pure sugar), are some artificial sweeteners. There are those that are developed in laboratories from synthetic substances and those that are developed from natural substances.

The sweeteners on the grey list satisfy cravings when people are trying to come off the real thing – sugar. But, we don’t consider these ingredients real foods, which makes them hard for us to promote. Many members have benefited from using them in the beginning of their journeys during the weaning process with some success.

The choice is yours.


Drinks on the Banting Grey List

These should actually be split into three categories.

Alcohol. People love it. It must be the world’s most used social lubricant. It may even embody the answer to the question, ‘Are we human, or are we dancer?’

But rosy cheeks and Swayze slides aside, alcohol is inherently tainted by its association with countless medical conditions, road deaths, home violence and a plethora of other nasty socio-economic issues.

When it comes to real food and drink, it is tough to ignore the ‘realness’ (and deliciousness) of fine artisanal beers, ciders, brandies, cognacs, wines, etc. And we’re pro-realness.

The tough part for us is allocating booze to an actual Banting List. Should you drink it? And if so, when and how much? There is no right answer. For supreme physical health, some may argue never. Others go for the ‘glass of red wine a day’. It is a mine field.

If you love drinking alcohol and you still maintain good health physically, in your career and in your personal life, then it might be ok for you to drink it. If you’re an out of control drunk and you battle to maintain good health, your career peaks and troughs or you battle to build and maintain great relationships, you probably shouldn’t drink.

It’s up to you.

Protein shakes (shakes in general) and supplements fall into the same pool.

There are supplements and shakes that are not tainted with rubbish. Seriously. Some brands have gone far to get you the best quality essential oils, pure protein and delicious flavour to give you easy access to nutrients that you might not be getting from food.

But why aren’t you getting those nutrients from your food? Is it the quality or the mix of foods that you’re eating? What food are you eating that forces you to top up with extra nutrients? Or is it the time and energy you put into the food you prepare? Maybe the cost of convenience is something you should think about.

If you are eating a nutrient dense diet and then adding in more nutrients, you might be wasting money or time.

And that’s why we’ve put them on the Banting Grey List.

grey list drinks

Vegetarian proteins on the Banting Grey List

In our view, proteins in general should be eaten via whole foods. While there is debate around pulses and legumes, we would say they are a better bet for protein than pea protein isolate or vegan protein powder. We say this for no reason other than their ‘realness’.

Processed food is something we’re trying to stay away from.

But there are players in the meat and dairy industries that are messed up. It takes only ten minutes on Youtube to see how badly some animals are treated and how dodgy some of the food we eat actually is.

We do believe meat has a natural place in the human diet (even though some civilisations never ate meat and humans can survive just fine without ever eating it – same goes for eating only meat and never touching a vegetable), but we acknowledge that veganism and vegetarianism satisfy a need that some consider more important than human health. The need to preserve the health of the rest of the planet, including the animals we share it with. Hard to argue with.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan and you want to be on a low carb diet, but you’re battling to get enough protein, by all means go for it on the Grey List. These foods are on the Grey List because they have shown in some cases, in the long term, to be associated with adverse health effects. On the flip side, they are ‘animal cruelty’ free.

It’s up to you.

grey list drinks

That sums up the Banting Grey List and why it is how it is.

If you’d like to download the complete set of Banting Food Lists