The Carb + Protein Weight Loss Secret

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By Christine Bybee
April 01, 2008 @ 04:41 pm
Los Angeles nutritionist Christine Bybee shares the secret to fast, safe weight loss.


If you want to lose weight, just chow down on a protein/carb combo at meal or snack time.

The fact is learning to combine protein and carbs at every meal and snack is one of the best eating habits you can embrace if you’re trying to lose weight. The reason: the marriage of protein and carbs is the key to maintaining stable blood sugar levels and shedding pounds.

For instance, if you eat a banana (a sugar-rich carbohydrate) for breakfast in the morning, your blood sugar level will spike. In about an hour, you’ll be hungry and feel fatigued. However, if you combine that banana with a delicious egg white scramble or a serving of low-fat cottage cheese, your blood sugar level will rise more slowly. You’ll feel alert and satisfied until your next meal.

As with most successful couples it’s all about the chemistry. Here’s why a protein/carb combo is a match made in heaven: Your blood sugar is stable when insulin and glucagon (two hormones courtesy of your pancreas) are balanced. Think of “insulin” and “glucagon” as the yin and yang of stable blood sugar. Your pancreas churns out both of these hormones in response to the kinds of foods you eat.

So, eating carbs causes the production of insulin. Eating protein causes the production of glucagon. Simply put, insulin enables your body to store glucose for energy later; whereas glucagon helps your body tap into those stores when necessary.

In addition, pairing protein with carbs helps the glucose from the carbs move more slowly through the bloodstream. Think about it: If your car is the only car on the highway, you’ll zip by. If you have to compete with traffic, you’ll move more slowly toward your destination.

The same goes for glucose working its way through your blood stream. Eating protein along with carbs fills the blood stream with traffic that slows down the glucose. And the slower glucose moves through the bloodstream, the better. If it moves through too quickly, your blood sugar levels will dip and you’ll be tormented by sugar cravings and find yourself in a slump.

When it comes to weight loss, your cells need a steady supply of glucose, not a glucose feast or famine. Too much all at once will cause an army of insulin to move in and ultimately store unneeded glucose, which will turn into extra fat pounds. But beware of sticking to the letter of this healthy habit while ignoring the spirit behind it. For instance, I once had a client who loved jelly bellies; she would literally eat a grilled chicken breast with a handful of these sweet little beans. Was she successful at dropping pounds? As a matter of fact, she was. The problem is she was feeding her body a food that had absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Depriving your body of the nutrients it needs deprives you of living a healthy body now. Plus if you don’t nurture your body along the way, sooner or later you’ll be up against a mountain of health problems. Check out the PC Combo Menu below:

A PC Daily Menu
8 a.m.: Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites and whole grain toast

12 p.m.: Lunch: Grilled chicken and veggie salad with fat-free dressing and small baked potato

4 p.m.: Satisfying snack: String cheese and serving of fruit

8 p.m.: Dinner: Pasta with spaghetti sauce with extra-lean ground turkey sausage

12 a.m.: A snack before you snooze: Fat-free cheese and crackers

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