Can You Mix Proteins and Carbohydrates?

The nutritional theory about whether you should mix proteins and carbohydrates is very popular. We'll give you some of the facts here.
Can You Mix Proteins and Carbohydrates?

Last update: 06 November, 2018

One of the most popular diets today requires avoiding the tendency to mix proteins and carbohydrates. Many people ask themselves what the benefits of this practice are and whether the diet actually works. Well, today we’ll be explaining where this idea comes from and what benefits it might or might not have for your body.

Don’t mix proteins and carbohydrates: good or bad advice?

This belief has spread for one simple reason: carbohydrates are digested in the alkaline portion of the intestines, while proteins are digested in the acidic portion. Put more directly, if you eat both of them together, you’ll confuse your body and it won’t be able to digest them well.

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The problem actually lies in the fact that your body digests carbohydrates slowly, but digests proteins quickly. Chemically speaking, when you mix acid with alkaline substances, you get something neutral.

There are many salads that mix proteins and carbohydrates

When you mix both of the components in a single meal, the body is thrown out of sync because the process of digestion is an organized one. This means that it spends more time separating the digestive liquids to be able to absorb all of the nutrients that you’ve eaten.

Even though the digestive system produces new liquids, these become neutralized again, which makes the body waste even more energy in digesting the food. This means that it will take several hours to complete the digestive processes. This may make you feel heavier and will result in your body being unable to use the foods appropriately to gain maximum benefits. At the end of the day, this can lead to weight gain.

Either way, the carbohydrates are fermented and this can give way to flatulence, acidity, or indigestion.

What about the Mediterranean diet?

Of course, a question you may ask is, if you can’t mix proteins and carbohydrates, why do experts assert that the Mediterranean diet, which does exactly this, is so healthy?

We’ve just explained what happens in your body when you mix proteins and carbohydrates. However, as we always say, the secret lies in the balance. While the Mediterranean diet does mix proteins and carbohydrates, it does so at just the right ratio.

When the quantity of proteins and vitamins is higher than that of carbohydrates, the body has time to absorb everything correctly. It can do this without the foods becoming fermented.

Even so, it’s ideal for you not to mix proteins and carbohydrates. A diet that separates them allows you to eat all sorts of foods and still lose weight. All you need is a little ingenuity when planning your meals and to know what foods to choose when you’re eating out with friends. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you achieve this state.

How to eat without mixing carbohydrates and proteins:

In order to understand how to achieve this dietary balance in a healthy way that will help you lose weight, you have to realize, first of all, what carbohydrates are and what proteins are. Here is a list of the main carbohydrates:

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Pasta
  • Plantains
  • Cassava
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes (even though they also contain protein, they’re mostly composed of carbohydrates)
This garbanzo plate does not mix proteins and carbohydrates

Some food groups that are proteins:

  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Dairy products (although cheese has a high content of fat)
  • Eggs

Well then, how can you eat without mixing carbohydrates with proteins? Well, just as an example, if you want to eat pasta, instead of making lasagna with pasta, make moussaka. Avoid the fried tomato and instead, have it ground. Also, be sure to have it without bechamel sauce, you could use cheese instead.

If you want a salad, leave out the croutons. When you eat meat or fish, accompany the main dish with vegetables, mushrooms, or salads. Forget about fried food when you’re having legumes, rice, or pasta. Instead, always eat these foods with vegetables.

If your objective is to lose weight, it might help you not to mix proteins and carbohydrates. That’s assuming that you eat a varied diet throughout the week so that your body gets the nutrients it needs.

If your goal is to maintain your weight at a certain level and keep a healthy diet, the Mediterranean diet is an excellent choice.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.