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Nightshades and the Banting Food Lists

Nightshades is a commonly queried food item with the Banting Food Lists act as the foundation for the Banting Diet. They were designed in conjunction with Real Meal Revolution’s four phased low carb weight loss and healthy eating program.

If you’ve already downloaded the lists, you will have noticed that we have pointed out prebiotic foods (foods high in fibre), foods high in digestive enzymes and night shades on the lists themselves, as well as in the key on the top right hand corner (see cut-out below).

nightshade 1

On the actual lists, ingredients that are high in fibre are marked with (p), enzyme rich foods are marked with an (e) and nightshades are marked with (n), just like you will see in the cross section below.

nightshade 2

Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes tomatoes, tomatillos, white potatoes (not sweet potatoes), peppers (chilli, paprika, cayenne pepper and sweet bell peppers) and aubergine (eggplant).

Great. So what?

You will now see them on the Banting Food Lists where previously they got no mention. This is because anecdotal evidence shows potential symptoms of nightshade sensitivity to include, among other things, muscle pain and tightness, morning stiffness, insomnia, gall-bladder problems, heartburn, constipation, headaches, nausea, bloating, flatulence, IBS and poor nutrient absorption which we also spoke about in an article about digestive enzymes.

You might imagine some of those symptoms after a night of serious chilli consumption, but from a potato or a tomato?

Apparently, yes.

As the theory goes, all living things have some sort of defence mechanism to protect themselves against predators and infection. Plants don’t have the traditional fight-or-flight options but they do have anti-nutrients, which either prevent the nutrients in the plant from being absorbed in the gut or act as toxins against predators. We all know about poison ivy.

The anti-nutrients, or alkaloids, in the nightshade family are concentrated in the leaves, flowers and unripe fruits, but they’re there to make potential predators feel unwell to ‘encourage’ them to avoid eating the plant in the future.

So I need to cut out tomatoes, aubergines, potatoes and peppers?

For most healthy people nightshades don’t pose a problem because a healthy digestive tract prevents absorption of most of the alkaloids. But, as the theory goes, excessive consumption (remember leaves and unripe fruits like green tomatoes and potatoes) is thought to cause a build-up of alkaloids that can take some time to be cleared. This is when they may have a negative effect on your body.

We have pointed them out on the lists, but that does not mean you will be affected by them. We suspect it is only a small per cent of people who can’t handle them. According to our members, nightshades pose the biggest threat to those with leaky gut, compromised immune systems and those with an existing autoimmune disease.

So if I don’t have a compromised immune system, I’m good to go?

Well, moral of the story: no matter what phase of Banting you’re in, if you’re suffering from any of the symptoms above or find you aren’t making progress, we’ve pointed out an alternative issue that may be unrelated to carbs, fibre or digestive enzymes. You could try cutting out the nightshades. It has worked for quite a few of us.

Here are some Tips for eating nightshades (if you suspect you are sensitive):

  1. Don’t eat nightshades that are unripe or green
  2. Peel your potatoes (they’re on Orange B so this is only during Restoration and Preservation)
  3. Soak egg plants in salt before cooking them

To make your life easier, our program includes numerous meal plans without nightshades. If you need someone to talk to about whether or not you’re getting it right, our support team is waiting to help you.

Don’t forget to give the lists a good read before getting started:

banting list

Real Meal Revolution is a healthy eating program that uses low carb recipes, practical Banting meal plans, simple lectures, entertaining cooking lessons, state-of-the-art tools, a bustling community and professional remote support to deliver a four phased diet program. The mostdelicious way to reach your awesome weight and stay there forever.

Join Real Meal Revolution today if you want to transform your life, your weight and your health.