Does Eating Protein and Carbs at Different Meals Help You Lose Weight?

Some people believe that eating protein and carbohydrates at separate meals can help you lose weight. This idea is known as food combining and has been circulating for quite some time. So how does food combining work? Does it really help you lose weight if you eat protein and carbohydrates at different times? In this short guide, we’ll look at how food combining works and if it really does what people claim.

Food Combining

The basis behind food combining is this: protein requires acid to digest while carbohydrates require alkaline to digest. When looking at it this way, it makes sense, right? Anyone who is familiar with basic chemistry knows that acids and alkaline neutralize each other. If the acid and alkaline needed to digest protein and carbohydrates neutralize each other, then nothing gets digested.

Theoretically, eating protein and carbohydrates at separate meals allows each time to digest using their own process. Start with some fruits for breakfast and a morning snack. Than have a lunch full of starchy potatoes. End the day with some protein, such as meat or cheese. Do all of this each day and watch the weight come off.

The Truth

Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Well it’s like the old saying goes, “if something’s too good to be true, it probably is.” In this case, you’d be right. Food combining is a theory that is not grounded in any science. If it works at all, it’s due to an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables—which contain fiber and vitamins for a healthy body.

The problem with food combining is this—foods are made up of protein, carbohydrates, fats and other vitamins and minerals. You can’t just separate the protein from the carbohydrates, and it really wouldn’t make a difference if you did. Research has proven time and time again that digestion happens no matter what you eat. You don’t need to worry about food sitting in your stomach not digesting—because it is digesting.

Digestion begins with your teeth, chewing your food and breaking it down. Then it’s further broken down by acids in your stomach. Finally as the food passes through your intestines, nutrients from the broken up food are absorbed and used by the body.

This happens every time—whether or not you ate a protein, a carbohydrate, a fat or any combination of the three.

The truth is that digestion in actually aided in some cases by the combination of certain foods. Vitamin C, for instance, helps the body better digest iron in grains. There’s a reason why we often have a glass of orange juice with our breakfast of cereal or toast.

There are no secret food combinations or magical potions that help you lose weight. The best weight loss tool is a balanced diet with plenty of exercise and activity.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • alan

    There are actually highly beneficial reasons to eat protein and fats together, and then have carbohydrate meals at a different time.

    Normal usage rate for the body when consuming a solid food source of protein that has a large quantity of fat is approx 8 grams per hour for protein. Let’s say one eats 4 sirloin burgers which = 84g of protein, and 68g of fat. Added to that is 4 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of sacha inchi oil, and 1 tsp of fish oil. Now the fat intake is 98g for that meal. Total calories are 1218. Let’s now assume that this person is me at 190lbs and 7% bodyfat. If I eat this meal every 8 hours which is what I do then this gives me energy @ a rate of 152.5 calories per hour.

    Lean body weight is = to 190*.93= (176.7lbs)
    calories per lean lb/hour = 152.5/176.7= (.863)

    Now if at intervals of 8 hours I also consume 2 carb based meals with no more than 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat then there will be no interference to the acid/ alkaline balance.

    My two carb based meals space 8 hours apart and 4 hours either after or before the next protein/fat feeding. The benefit of this is that my stomach has had a chance to digest the meal and it has passed into the small intestine. The stomach is now ready to receive a new meal.

    Protein and fat meals simulate growth hormone release and testosterone release. They also promote fat metabolism actually improving the body’s ability to release stored fat as a useful energy source as well the added benefit of using dietary fat for energy and preventing fat storage. This is because insulin is a storage hormone and is nil during the high protein/fat meals. Essentially I am dictating which hormones are released and when.

    Benefits of eating the carb based meal and may I add carb based does not mean high volume of carbs but strategic carb meals to provide fiber, anitoxidants, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and micro nutrients.

    My design is to choose berries such as blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries, other fruit choices are tomato, lemon, and lime. As for vegetable sources, Broccoli, peppers, lettuce, spinach, onion, and garlic.

    During the carb based meals my goal is to #1 provide fiber and then get the remaining carb based benefits. Primary focus is on the carb choices I have listed above because of glycemic index. One should also remember that it is the quantity of carbs that one eats which also plays a factor in insulin release.

    Usually a carb based meal should be 30g-40g max and contain about 12.5g-15g of fiber. The above listed carb choices contain practically no fat or protein and are low in calories. With this in mind insulin now becomes used for storing nutrients within active cells of muscles and organs instead of storing excess calories in adipose tissue.

    My purpose is to make clear that weight control is a matter of hormone control. No weight loss can occur when insulin is in charge of the day. But insulin is important none the less and must be “MANAGED” to control weight.

    So if there is only my personal experience which proves the validity of eating carbs at one meal and proteins/fats at another then that is sufficient to be a scientific fact for me and at the end of the day that is all that science is “Personal experience repeated with the same predictable results over and over again!”