Skip to main content

Letter on Corpulence by William Banting

Mr. William Banting was a middle-aged man (1797-1878) who lived in London during the 1800's. For years, Mr. Banting had struggled with being overweight (corpulence). He followed all of the traditional advice, including low-calorie and low-fat diets, yet continued to put on the pounds.

He even began an exercise routine, getting up early every morning to row in a nearby river. Though this did help him become more muscular, in the end, this "increased bodily exertion" caused him to gain more weight.

Mr. Banting was ready to give up and accept being fat for life, until he discovered a dietary regimen that allowed him to drop thirty-five pounds in eight months. If he had consumed less alcohol, he likely would have lost even more weight.

This led to Mr. Banting writing his famous Letter on Corpulence. The first printing of one thousand letters went fast. He then wrote an addendum and printed 1,500 additional copies and gave them all away. Yet this was still not enough copies, as there was a demand for more.

You can read the details in this excellent blog post by Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Mr. Banting ignored his critics, including friends and family, who were alarmed by his low carb regime. He used common sense and followed a healthy weight loss plan that finally worked for him. It allowed him to steadily lose the weight he had been carrying around for years.

Mr. William Banting was a hundred and fifty years ahead of his time, indeed.