Pairing Protein and Carbs for Better Nutrition

Healthy carb choices plus healthy protein choices work together for a better and more balanced nutrition.

Let’s go through some definitions first. Carb pairing vs carb cycling vs flavor pairing.

Carb Pairing

Pairing carbohydrates and protein on a meal is known as carb pairing. Carb pairing promotes eating carb and protein in every meal. Pairing healthy sources of protein and complex carbs not only helps with muscle recovery post-workout. It also keeps you fuller longer. Both protein and healthy fats slow your body’s digestion of sugars, helping to keep your blood sugar from spiking. 

Carb Cycling

Although there is no formal definition of carbohydrate cycling, it refers to varying carbohydrate intake depending on our needs over time. The aim is to eat carbohydrates when they are needed, and reduce their intake when they are not.

Flavor Pairing

Different types of foods share the same flavor compounds. When different foods share some important aromas, they are more likely to pair well in a recipe. It can be used not only to pair solid foods, but to pair beverages with foods.

It turns out that all these systems can help us to shed those extra pounds.

Do we want to eat smart carbs, or eat carbs the smart way?

Carbohydrates aren’t all good or bad. Some kinds of them promote health, while others can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

A variety of diet programs are based on consuming a very low amount of carbs, trying to force the body to obtain energy from fat, instead of from carbs. One of the most famous of these systems is the keto diet. (If you want to know more about this topic, please read our article about low carbs and keto on this same website.)

There are 2 types of carbohydrates, basically. Simple carbohydrates, like white rice, white flour, soda, chips and sugar. Eating too much of these foods can cause the body’s mechanisms of managing sugar to break down, increasing the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.

And complex carbohydrates, like the ones found in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. They provide sustained energy while also delivering fiber. These foods are also bearing a lot of essential nutrients our body needs to keep healthy.

Actually, carb pairing and flavor pairing burn more fat than diet and exercise!

Pairing Proteins and Carbs to Regulate Blood Sugar

A balanced diet should contain protein, carbohydrate and fat, because each of these nutrients provides us with energy along with a host of other benefits.

Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of cells and organs. Proteins help the body to repair and produce new cells, keep us full aiding in weight control and have a moderate effect on blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy thus causing the most dramatic effect on blood sugar as the food is broken down into glucose. Whole-grain carbohydrates provide more fiber than the refined versions, and it’s the fiber that keeps you full longer by slowing the digestion of food. Fats have the least effect on blood sugar. Their role in the diet involves nutrient transportation and providing energy. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are required by the body for normal function.

Since each of these macronutrients’ effect on blood sugar varies, it important to have balance in the food choices you make at meals and snacks. Near-normal blood sugar levels help you feel better and may reduce or prevent complications from diabetes. Aim to always pair a protein and complex carbohydrate together at meal and snack times. Proteins help with satiety and carbohydrates help increase blood sugars. For example, a good snack would be whole-grain crackers (carb) and hummus (protein), or apple slices (carb) and peanut butter (protein).

Some Good Examples of Carb-Protein Pairing

Peanut butter and banana

Lemon juice and spinachs

Bell peppers and eggs

Oatmeal and berries

Red grapes and melon

Almond and pistachios

Yogurt and cinnamon

Leafy greens and olive oil…

… and many more.

Some authors indicate that the most successful women keeping a healthy life focus on “how” they eat and NOT “what they eat”… 

Women from a tiny island across the ocean live 10 years longer and weigh on average 42 pounds lighter by pretty much doing the opposite of everything we’ve been told over here ?

This video provides more information on carb pairing. It is a little bit long, but it’s totally worth it.

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