William Banting's diet is usually recognized as the first low carb diet in addition to being the first diet book ever published. The main culprits in a poor diet according to Banting are "bread, milk, butter, beer, sugar, and potatoes" which "…contain starch and saccharine matter, tending to create fat, and should be avoided altogether." This does sound a lot like a modern low carb diet. However, it is interesting to note that Banting includes butter in his list of things to avoid and talks about skimming fat. Professor Ebstein goes one step further and encourages a high fat diet as described in this article written way back in 1883.

"An old writer tells us," observes the Pall Mall Gazette, "that the most tragic spectacle on earth is to see a virtuous man fighting against an adverse fate. The case of William Banting may stand side by side with such, says a writer in the Neue Freie Presse, for he, unhappy mortal, had for above 30 years to fight without result against an overfreight of 50 pounds of fat. Trivial as this may appear to thin people, it is often a question of life and death to those victims of corpulence who, being possessed of a sensitive mind and cheerful constitution, have to go through life bearing all the moral humiliations and other more material discomforts to which people of an excessive embonpoint are subjected by their unfeeling fellow-creatures. Mr. Banting could not find the strength to regard with Olympian indifference the sneers and smiles which his unfortunate person attracted. He retired into solitude, and there for a long time made vain endeavors to rid himself of his disease. For years this seemed impossible; he grew weaker and weaker by following the prescriptions of the physicians which all tended to the one point, that to become less corpulent a rigid diet must be kept. But suddenly a new method was invented by the hard pressed man; he tried it, and who could describe the delight of the sufferer, when slowly but steadily his stoutness, and with it all the other symptoms of disease, began to disappear. Every one is acquainted with the principles of the 'Banting system,' which the happy inventor described for the good of his fellow men, in a publication where we often meet with bursts of enthusiasm, such as almost convert the book into a hymn of praise. In the German translation some hitherto unmentioned prescriptions have been added; one of them, more curious than wise, but entirely harmless, is, 'to allow the mental powers to become more active' - a piece of advice which perhaps it would be difficult to follow by those who have not to compose a 'Divina Commedia,' which, as Dante himself tells us, kept him thin. A new book on 'Corpulence and its Treatment,' has lately been published in Germany by Prof. Ebstein, of Gottingen. He is not like the English 'savior of the stout,' full of overflowing thankfulness for relief from his disease; probably he has not even suffered from it, for corpulent men are rarely stern and strict. His method also differs from that of Banting. According to Ebstein the primary cause of corpulency is the want of sufficient energy to renounce the so-called attractions of life. He firmly maintains that fat is produced merely by over-eating and drinking. Water and drinking cures are altogether condemned by Prof. Ebstein; and while the Banting system teaches that 'fat makes fat,' this doctrine is directly opposed by Prof. Ebstein, in whose ideal of fare for those suffering from corpulency fat forms a great feature. 'The 250 grams of bacon,' says Prof. Ebstein, 'which our Emperor ordered to be delivered daily to all soldiers taking part in the French campaign of 1870, are, so to speak, an official acknowledgment of the importance of fat in the rational nourishment of a hard-working man.' The annexed bill of fare is that proposed by Prof. Ebstein for an average case of corpulency, the invalid being supposed to be 41 years of age and having suffered from increasing stoutness for 25 years. The disease is supposed to be contracted by insufficient bodily exercise, a diet consisting of such things as are hurtful, among which are named all sweet dishes and those containing much albumen and those devoid of a sufficient quantity of fat.

"Breakfast. - A large cup of black tea without milk or sugar, 50 grams of white bread or toasted brown bread, with plenty of butter.

"Dinner. - Soup (frequently and with bone-marrow,) 120 to 180 grams meat, boiled or roasted, with fat gravy - fat meat being preferable - a small quantity of vegetables, particularly leguminous, but , also, all kinds of cabbage. Turnips are excluded because of the sugar contained in them; potatoes are altogether excluded. After dinner some fresh fruit, when in season, as dessert, a salad or baked fruit without sugar; two or three glasses of light wine. Soon after dinner a large cup of black tea, without milk or sugar.

"Supper. - In Winter regularly, in Summer occasionally, a large cup of black tea, without milk and sugar; an egg or some fat roast meat, or both, sometimes fat ham, smoked or fresh fish, about 80 grams of white bread, with plenty of butter, and occasionally a small quantity of cheese and some fresh fruit."

The New York Times, October 14, 1883

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