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How to Lower Your Risk for Diabetes and Minimize Fat Gain by Combining Your Food the Right Way

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

With obesity becoming an epidemic of the modern world, and our food becoming less nutrient dense and more toxin filled, it is important to know what you can do to prevent weight and fat gain while gaining all the benefits food has to offer. Knowing how to combine the right foods together, and in what order is a wonderful way to help prevent gaining fat, keep your blood sugar balanced, and stave off those sugar cravings.

Trophology, or the science of food combining was a term coined by the scientist J.S. Billings in 1890, however food combining has its roots in ancient times. The ancient Chinese and Indians followed certain food combinations to promote proper digestion which was believed to be effected by certain digestive enzymes depending on the type of food consumed. This was later studied by Dr. William Howard Hay in the early 1900's who created the Hay diet, a similar concept of food combining. For example, protein and starch was not to be eaten together as this is thought to delay the digestive system, caused by the body excreting incompatible enzymes creating fermentation in the gut, causing bloating and gas. Modern science has now shown us this isn't quite right, although certain foods when eaten together or even in a certain order can either positively or negatively impact our bodies, this affects us in a different way than originally believed.

Don't get me wrong, I love ancient wisdom. I am a holistic Health Coach after all, and when it comes to our health, each of us is unique in how we respond to different things. If you are curious about tropology, try it out and see how you feel. However, the main harmful effect many of us want to prevent is fat gain and the looming possibility of diabetes. While tropology does focus on what foods to combine for proper digestion, it lacks the science of how our bodies are actually affected by certain foods we combine together, or leave out.

So lets move on...We live in a carb filled, processed food addicted society, and even as a health coach, I can find it difficult to stay away from the sweet treats and crisps. If I can leave you with one piece of advice to incorporate into your daily meals, it is Fat, Fibre, and Protein. Science has taught us that the magic combination of fibre, fat, and protein helps our bodies maintain balanced blood sugar levels, keeps us satiated, and is overall ideal for our wellbeing. Now, if you cannot avoid the starchy carbs and the sweet treats that send your blood sugar soaring, the best thing to do, is add fat, fibre and protein.

Jessie Inchauspé, otherwise known as the Glucose Goddess from her popular instagram account calls this 'dressing up your carbs,' In her book, the Glucose Revolution, she gives several examples of how adding fat, fibre, and protein to say your bread or pasta, slows down digestion, which in turn eases the glucose spike, preventing us from gaining as much weight than if we were to eat the carbs or sugar alone. An even greater impact to lowering the glucose spike is to eat fibre first as it creates a viscous mesh, slowing down the absorption of sugar molecules into the blood stream.

While visiting my inlaws last year, we had a lovely homemade dinner. A delicious salad was placed in the middle of the dinning table for all of us to enjoy, and of course, I began to plate my salad first, along with the rest of the meal, and similarly, ate my salad first. I noticed I was the only one who had put the salad on my plate and ate it while the rest of the salad remained in the salad bowl untouched. After we had finished our main course, the rest of my husband's family then plated their salads and commenced eating their greens. Naturally I felt a little awkward as I clearly missed the memo, but I didn't want to come across as rude, questioning why they would eat their salad last and edifying them on why they were doing it wrong. At least there was a salad and eating it after the main course is better than not eating it at all. So, I stayed quiet with my empty plate as I watched them eat their salad lol. Later I asked my husband about this and he told me, "That is the French way." I crinkled my nose and chuckled (they are not French but had a second home there for some time). Anyhow, this is all to say, eating fibre first is better for the belly!

If you decide to eat your bread and butter before the main meal or just by itself (or any other simple carb like white pasta, juice, and sweets), this will send your blood sugar climbing high before we have even gotten to the main meal. When we constantly spike our blood sugar, this creates a slew of negative effects throughout the day such as low and or irritable mood, initial energy increase and then a crash, brain fog and more. Doing this on daily basis will increase fat storage and put you at risk for diabetes, obesity and potentially other health risks like cardiovascular disease.

Additionally it is imperative to incorporate healthy fats. Yes, we need fat. Fat makes up 80% of our cells and 60% of our brain is made up of DHA (a healthy fat), we need healthy fats for proper brain functions to keep us mentally fit and our bodies running effient and effectively. It's not fat that we should be worried about consuming, it's sugar that is the actually the number 1 fat gaining culprit. Not all fat is created equally, however. Stay away from trans fats which are found in processed foods, vegetable oils, margarine, and fried foods. Trans fats create inflammation and cause oxidative stress, deteriorating the cells which accelerates the aging process and makes us more susceptible to illness. Good fats to combine your food with are olive oil, mct oil, avocado, fatty wild caught fish, chia, flax, and hemp seeds.

Last but not least, protein is key to combining a well rounded meal. Protein helps us build muscle which enables us to burn fat when we exercise and the more muscle we put on, the more fat we should be able to burn when we move. Whole, organic, grass fed meats or tofu and tempeh are the best sources of protein. When we get enough protein in each meal, this keeps our energy levels staying strong and our hunger levels low.

The next time you're preparing a meal, think about the magic combination of fat, fiber, protein and you will be on your way to creating the perfect healthy meal. It may take some time if this is new to you and you're used to grabbing the occasional candy bar or cookie for a solo snack, or even having a salad after your meal. Just switch the order, with your salad first and cookie as a dessert and you will have combined your food the right way. These small tweaks make a difference, especially over time. When you notice your energy levels, mood, and overall well being beginning to shift, you will be on your way to mastering your personal health.

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