In 1862 after many years of trying to unsuccessfully lose weight and deteriorating health with many visits to the hospital, Banting came across an ear, nose and throat specialist. The specialist told him to cut out the beer, bread, butter, potatoes, starch and sugar. He then embarked on a diet consisting of lots of meat, lots of spirits, a little dry toast and a little fruit losing 46 pounds in the process. After such success he raised money and published his own booklet amongst other good things to raise awareness on his diet which became quite famous and has since been reprinted many times even after his death.
Now I don't know about you but I certainly wouldn't follow his version of the low carbohydrate diet *hic* but if you're interested in reading up on the history of low carbohydrate diets then this would be a good place to start!
Here are some links to get you started: