What’s the Ideal Mix of Carbs vs. Protein for Your Diet?

Where Does the Protein Go?

When you eat pro­tein, your body does one of three basic things with it:

  1. breaks the pro­tein down as fuel
  2. builds inflam­ma­to­ry and stress-response sig­nal­ing mol­e­cules
  3. builds healthy lean body tis­sue such as inter­nal organs, brain cells, and mus­cles.

The key to health is to max­i­mize path­way #3.

It’s not pos­si­ble (nor is it desir­able) to block all pro­tein from enter­ing path­ways #1 or #2, but you want to bal­ance your diet so that you can build plen­ty of healthy, lean body tis­sue.

Many of the steps of Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Com­bat Chron­ic Ill­ness con­tribute to the goal of build­ing lean body tis­sue. In Step 3 specif­i­cal­ly, you’ll dis­cov­er the opti­mal mix of carbs vs. pro­tein in your diet to pro­mote healthy tis­sue growth. (Of course, you’ll be eat­ing healthy fats, too.)

It’s Complicated

The ide­al ratio of pro­tein to car­bo­hy­drate for your body depends on a num­ber of fac­tors

  • your lev­el of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty – and the types of activ­i­ty you do
  • how healthy your metab­o­lism is
  • how sen­si­tive your tis­sues are to insulin
  • how close you are to an ide­al weight
  • the integri­ty of your diges­tive tract
  • lots of oth­er things sci­ence has yet to under­stand

sweating athlete

Because of the com­plex­i­ty of these fac­tors, many nutri­tion­ists have giv­en them­selves carpal tun­nel syn­drome from tap­ping cal­cu­la­tor keys to fig­ure out the opti­mal for­mu­la.

But There’s A Simpler Way

The sim­pler way relies on a fun­da­men­tal health prin­ci­ple: if you pay atten­tion to your own body, it will tell you a lot.

Here’s what that means: If you eat a meal with the right fuel mix­ture for your par­tic­u­lar metab­o­lism, you’re going to feel bet­ter an hour or so lat­er. If you eat a less-opti­mal com­bi­na­tion of foods, you’re going to feel worse.

That’s pret­ty sim­ple, isn’t it?

Here’s Your Plan for Step 3

Start with break­fast. Choose a par­tic­u­lar mix­ture of foods to eat for break­fast each day for 3 or 4 days. An hour after break­fast each day, make a note of how you feel in each of three dimen­sions:

1. Appetite/Satisfaction/Digestion

  • Do you feel hun­gry an hour lat­er, in need of a snack?
  • Do you feel bloat­ed or is your diges­tive track uncom­fort­able?
  • Or do you feel sat­is­fied?

2. Ener­gy Lev­el

  • Do you have too much or too lit­tle ener­gy?
  • Feel­ing ner­vous, jit­tery, or fatigued?
  • Or is your ener­gy strong and even?

3. Men­tal & Emo­tion­al State

  • Are you men­tal­ly slow or mud­dle-head­ed?
  • Anx­ious? Depressed? Hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty focus­ing?
  • Or is your mind clear and able to focus on the task at hand?

If you have a neg­a­tive response to the break­fast that you’re eat­ing, shift to a high­er pro­por­tion of pro­tein with few­er car­bo­hy­drates. Try the new plan for three days while keep­ing track each day of your reac­tion an hour lat­er. If your response improves, you’ve found the ide­al mix of pro­tein and car­bo­hy­drate for your metab­o­lism.

If your response doesn’t improve, try low­er­ing the amount of pro­tein you’re con­sum­ing while increas­ing the car­bo­hy­drates. As before, track your response.

Ulti­mate­ly, you’ll find your unique opti­mal ratio of pro­tein to car­bo­hy­drate for break­fast. Stick with it. Vary the foods you eat each day, but keep the pro­tein-car­bo­hy­drate ratio the same.

Then, move on to lunch. Track it in the same way, not­ing your response an hour or so lat­er.

Once you’ve found your ide­al mix­ture for lunch, move on to din­ner.

Your Ideal Diet for Blood Sugar Control

Soon, you’ll know the right pro­por­tion of car­bo­hy­drate to pro­tein to eat at each meal. Your diet will keep your blood glu­cose in the prop­er range, and pro­vide you with abun­dant ener­gy, a pos­i­tive mood, and a smooth­ly work­ing diges­tive tract.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Con­quer Chron­ic Ill­ness


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.

This entry was posted in Nutrition & Diet and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.