A comprehensive analysis of the new official Banting 2.0 Real Lists

A comprehensive analysis of the new official Banting 2.0 Real Lists

In the build up to the launch of Banting 2.0, many online fans of RMR have downloaded the new lists we put out as a teaser. In an earlier article, we explained that the lists need to be followed in conjunction with the various phases that have been discovered through our research.



The lists now work in conjunction with four unique phases we have developed:

  • Observation – get an understanding of the status quo and prepare to take your first steps
  • Restoration – quit the Red List and focus on building good habits and regenerating the gut
  • Transformation – get strict in order to ‘transform’ both mentally and physically
  • Preservation – develop habits to maintain the great results you have achieved


Below, we delve into more detail and offer explanations for each major change.
The following items, not on the original lists, are now on the new Green List:
Bean Sprouts
Gem squash
Lemons & limes
Mange Tout
Palm Hearts
Nut Oils (like almond oil)

Some new items on the Green List require an extra special mention:


Fertilisers are foods that are great for regenerating the gut. They are either high in good bacteria or contain bio-available nutrients that contribute to rebuilding the gut lining. We created this category for easy reference. Starting in our Restoration phase, we recommend Banters get into the habit of eating or drinking at least one portion of fertilizer per day.

If you want to know more about the gut, watch Alessio Fasano’s lecture about his research, or read his book called Gluten Freedom.

Also note that there are fertilisers on Orange B – this means that they can only be consumed during Restoration and Preservation, but they are prohibited during Transformation. The main reason for this is the sugar content. For example, in young kombucha and water kefir, the majority of the sugar has often not completely fermented, which leaves the drinks sweet, high in sugar and obviously not great for insulin levels.


The Orange A and Orange B Lists:
For those who have achieved weight loss and are living comfortably, the only constraint on the Orange lists is ‘Exercise Self-Control’. These are the guidelines for those in the final Preservation phase. For those who are in Transformation (weight-loss phase), we separated the Orange list into two halves. Orange A is safe to eat provided the quantity guides are followed. We have advised against consuming anything on Orange B until you have reached your goal and finished Transformation.


The following items have been added to the Orange lists for no reason other than their carb counts:
Orange A
Homemade sugar-free nut butters
Hubbard squash
Spaghetti squash

Orange B
Alfalfa sprouts
Tamarind pulp

Caffeinated Tea

We advise staying off caffeine during Transformation.  These were added to the Orange B list because we believe in the long-term they are fine, but should be approached with caution during the weight loss phase.

For more info on coffee and weight loss, have a look at Andreas Eenfeldt’s article on Diet Doctor called Why I Quit Coffee

Water kefir

See the note on Fertilisers further up:

Foods that moved to Orange A or B that were previouslyon other lists:
Corn on the cob, baby corn – Moved from Red to Orange:
Corn was originally on the red list because it was given blanket ‘High Carb’ and ‘GMO’ treatment. But baby corn and sweetcorn are lower in carbs than corn flour, popcorn, mealie pap, polenta and a few others. We also did some research into GMO. Although there are ethical questions around the three different types of GMO crops, there is no conclusive evidence to say that GMO crops are unhealthy, or that the fresh corn products we get are in fact GMO. We encourage readers to find out where their food comes from, but we could find no harm in sweetcorn or baby corn – apart from carb count, which we have catered for by placing them on Orange A.
For more info on corn, please read this article

All raw nuts – Moved from Green to Orange A
Much like dairy, nuts have become the go-to snack for those who suffer from major cravings during Transformation (the weight-loss phase). Limiting nut intake during the plateau has helped people get back into losing weight again. They are on Orange A, but with the proviso to follow the limitations during the weight loss phase.
Dairy – Moved from Green to Orange A
Dairy products, especially fresher ones like milk and yoghurt, are not particularly high in carbs, but they are easy to consume in high volumes without noticing. Just drinking one 300ml glass of milk, or eating a cup of yoghurt, can happen without any effort. But that cup of yoghurt or glass of milk will make up more than half of your daily carb count. So, although the carb count in some dairy is as low as 5%, it cannot be given the same treatment as spinach or mange tout.


You will notice, however, that there are some hard cheeses on the green list in the fat section. This is because the more mature cheeses contain less lactose (it is the lactose that is metabolised during the fermentation or maturation). During cheese maturation, the cheese also loses moisture. This increases the fat and nutrient density, making very mature or hard cheeses more suited to appetite control.


For more on dairy, please read this article
Pumpkin – Moved from Green to Orange
Although pumpkin was originally on the Green list, it is better suited for the Orange list as it is higher in carbs than most of the green list.
Potatoes – moved from Red to Orange
Potatoes were originally on the red list, on advice taken from Loren Cordain (the creator of the Paleo Diet). Loren conducted research on nightshades (read this article on nightshades) and found that some people, mostly those of European descent, struggled with metabolic conditions after consuming nightshades.


We did a comparison between sweet potatoes and normal potatoes and found them not to be too different. We also discovered that most of the research was based on potatoes used in the US for potato crisps – a specific species of potato. We put this article together to give a balanced argument around both of them.


To conclude, we don’t class potatoes in the same category as wheat products, processed foods or sugary treats (Red list), and we don’t think potatoes, as a whole food, are more damaging than anything on the Light Red list. We’re quite excited that we can offer people peace of mind that potatoes are not a total sin. In fact, they are actually lower in carbs than sweet potatoes, although sweet potatoes do contain Vitamin A they need to be eaten with fat for it to be fully beneficial. We’ve put them on Orange B, which means they can be enjoyed during Restoration and Preservation, but best be avoided during Transformation. Note also the self-control you should exercise when eating from Orange B once you reach your Awesome Weight.


Here is that potato article again.
Peanuts – Moved from Red to Orange B
Peanuts (actually a legume, see below) were moved to Orange B while the rest of the nuts were moved to Orange A. A general note on roasted nuts – dry roasted nuts are great.  Very often, ‘roasted’ nuts are actually deep fried in veg oils which is not great. Make sure your nuts are dry roasted, raw, or roast your own, following Jonno’s great spicy bacon nut recipe.

Here is an article we put together on peanuts.

Here is a video of how nuts are roasted commercially.
Parsnips – Moved from Red to Orange A
Although parsnips were originally on the red list, they are better suited to the Orange A list. Apart from their carb count, they are a perfectly whole food.
All legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc.) – Moved from Red to Orange B
‘Peas’ were previously on the Red list. This was a reference to dried peas, not all peas. You will see that garden peas and petit pois are now on Orange A, meaning you can eat them, but no more than half a closed handful, which is not much.

Dried peas, chickpeas and a whole bunch of dried legumes and pulses have made it onto Orange B.

Lectins in improperly cooked legumes are thought to cause gut distress. There is not conclusive evidence showing that lectins actually get into the blood stream and causes problems every time. These effects should also be looked at on a case-by-case basis as the symptoms are not consistent. Basically, the research is not conclusive about whether legumes should or shouldn’t be included in the human diet. So who are we to damn them?

A lot of Paleo fans are anti-legumes, but there is more to it, which Chris Kresser and Mat Lalonde discuss in this fascinating podcast. They discuss all things lectins – anti-nutrients, phytic acids and more – giving you a good explanation why we are less worried about legumes. Note that we have not made them available during Transformation.
Beetroot – Moved from Red to Orange A
Although beetroot was originally on the Red list, it is better suited to Orange A. Despite its carb count; beetroot is a great whole food. Beware – the jarred or pickled beetroot (very popular as a South African side dish) is way out of bounds, as it is generally pickled using sugar and vinegar. If you make your own fermented pickled beets, that’s great.
Introducing the Light-Red list:
We developed the Light-Red list for those who had finished Transformation successfully and who were not diabetic or particularly insulin resistant. The Light-Red list contains foods that are not highly processed and are free from gluten or non-toxic, despite being higher in carbs. The Light-Red list is only available to those who have completed their weight-loss journeys and wish to enter the ‘forever’ phase of Banting 2.0, the phase we call Preservation.

You could also say that the Light-Red list, which we advise you to eat ‘hardly ever’, is a sub-category of the original Red List, which you should eat ‘never ever’.

Items that were not on any list that are now on the Light-Red list include:

And then there are a few other amendments:
Fruit or yoghurt smoothies – Moved from Red to Light-Red
If you have completed your weight loss journey and are heading into Preservation, you can begin reintroducing the occasional home-made pressed juice or smoothie into your diet (provided you are not insulin resistant or type-2 diabetic). If you are allowed to eat fruit, there is no logical reason for omitting fruit smoothies. Commercial fruit juice is still a total no-no.
Nut flours (almond flours and coconut flours) – New additions to the lists featuring on Light-Red
This is consistent with our view in Raising Superheroes. All of the baked goods in Raising Superheroes are noted as being ‘treats’ and not for daily consumption. We have put almond and coconut flours on the Light-Red list because they are high in carbs, but are not unhealthy. We don’t believe Banting breads or Banting treats should be consumed regularly. In fact, you will recall that the original RMR book did not even have a dessert section, although we erroneously omitted any restrictions on the Banting bread recipe. These flours are safe if you are not trying to lose weight, but we would rather encourage you to use them for savoury baked goods.
Other items that are high in carbs but not normally unhealthy for any other reason are as follows (pretty much the balance of the Light-Red list):
Gluten free pasta
Corn flour
Chickpea flour
Maize flour
Pea flour
Rice flour

According to Mat Lalonde and Chris Kresser, traditional cultures would generally notconsume unfermented and unprepared pseudograins as a regular part of their diet,mainly because they need to be prepared correctly to reduce the anti-nutrient content. See the podcast we linked to in the legume section above.

Essentially, Preservation could be seen as a low-sugar, gluten-free, moderately low-carb diet, safe for those who have successfully reached their goals and have recovered their sensitivity to insulin.
Sweets and Treats – Moved to Light-Red from Red and Orange
Dark chocolate
Dried fruit
Pure maple syrup

These are the very high in sugar items. Some have other benefits, but in general, we advise you to be wary. Our recommended policy is ‘don’t say no at a dinner party’, rather than getting stuck in. Again, only if you do not have type 2 diabetes or are significantly insulin resistant.

The Really Red List
Apart from the ingredients, we moved across to the Light-Red list, the Really Red list has stayed pretty much the same. We did expand on a few categories and tighten up the writing, so you will see these items have been added in:

Canned fruit
Coconut blossom sugar
Commercial fruit juices
Commercial iced teas
Flavoured milk and milkshakes
Butter spreads

Introducing the Grey List
For three years we have been asked tough questions about which list various food substances should be on. There are a few that no matter how much deliberation we engage in, we still can’t come up with a unanimous decision. We have addressed these by introducing a grey list with further explanations below.
Banting Treats and Sweeteners – Moved from Green to Grey
Artificial sweeteners were a matter ofcontention even between the original Real Meal Revolution authors. After following the advice of Andreas Eenfeldt, Gary Fettke and a few other international experts who overtly DON’T endorse artificial sweeteners, we decided to remove artificial sweeteners from the Green list and place them on the Grey list. This doesn’t mean we are hugely anti-sweeteners, but it does mean that we don’t endorse them either. As the colour might suggest, it is a grey area.

Here is further explanation: Although ‘Banting’ flours are Light Red, Banting baked goods are on the Grey list because for the most part, they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Real Meal Revolution cannot find conclusive evidence to say whether artificial sweeteners are good or bad. Some artificial sweeteners like xylitol might be seen as ‘OK’, but they are processed, which makes them closer to the Red List than honey or maple syrup, even though the latter contain a ton more natural sugar. It is a minefield, and the evidence is conflicting.

This wisdom belongs to the crowds.
Alcoholic drinks – Previously in the commandments, but off the lists. Now on the Grey list
Shortly after the original Real Meal Revolution was published, we were questioned about the appearance of white wine, champagne and spirits on the Green list. We then removed alcohol from the lists and added an 11th commandment to the Ten Commandments of Beginner Banting to better cater for the general public and those under socio-economic threat. We said that alcohol was a tricky item. We still can’t give blanket permission for alcohol consumption, although we recognise its relevance in culture, relaxation, and in some cases, even health. Alcohol was the main reason for us creating the Grey list, as it is as grey as a grey area could be.
Originally, soy was on the red list.But we realised that not enough research has been done on soy to give it a blanket‘yes’ or ‘no’. Some cultures (like Chinese and Japanese) have adapted to eating soy and therefore will not react badly to it, while other cultures have not adapted and might show negative reactions. Some research has shown soy to affect hormones, but there is other research showing health benefits. The matter of who funded which study is also pertinent, as the studies in favour of soy were mostly funded by those with a stake in the results.

Fermented soy is also a different category – Tamari and fermented soy sauce are on the Green list because these are consumed in small amounts, and most of the alleged ‘soy baddies’ are destroyed during fermentation and cooking.

Chris Kresser has looked into the subject in detail and is well worth following on the subject. Here are a few links from him on soy – here,  here and here.
Protein shakes – New to the Real Lists
Protein shakes are a mixed bag. There are good quality shakes and bad quality shakes, but for the most part, we aren’t endorsing them because they are not real foods. This one’s up to you and the brand you choose should depend on your trust in the ingredients on the pack.
Supplements – New to the Real Lists
Much the same as the protein shakes, we believe most of the nutrients available in supplements are also available in real foods. Apart from Vitamins B12 (red meat being the best source) and D (which our bodies make using the sun), most nutrients are easily accessed from well-prepared real foods, broths and fermented products. We go into great detail on this topic in our chapter called Restoration Station in Banting 2.0.
Vegetarian proteins – New to the Real Lists
Vegetarian proteins are particularly grey. They also aren’t real foods, and they often contain unfermented soy protein or soy lecithin. Again, the jury is out, and you should look closely at the ingredients and manufacturing processes.

We will never have all the answers, but as science evolves and more knowledge becomes available to us, we will carry on tweaking the Banting lifestyle in line with our core values of always improving, to honour everyone’s health, and for the enjoyment of life.

If you’d like to download the new lists, click here.

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