Do YOU know the difference between protein & carbohydrates?

February 3 2015No Commented

Categorized Under: Health food nutrition, Healthy eating, Natural health information, Weight loss

Protein & Carbohydrates

Do they really deserve all the media attention that is given to them? Let’s look at what there all about, to help you make up your own mind, about what you need to ensure you are firing on all cylinders.

What are your energy levels like?

I see people every day who talk about their lack of energy in the afternoon and then their inability to unwind properly at night time. When I tell them it could be as simple as ‘what and when’ they eat that is contributing to this, they are surprised.

Can you identify the difference between a carbohydrate and protein food? Its easy really

To explain this further, it is essential to be able to identify the difference between protein, carbohydrates & fat and it’s really very easy!

Think 1st, What is protein? Protein is anything that comes from an animal – so meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. It’s also nuts and seeds and soy products.

A fat is a fat, like fat on meat, butter, margarine & oil. Also avocado (which is beneficial).

Carbohydrate overload. This is WAY too many carbohydrates for 1 meal

Carbohydrate overload. This is WAY too many carbohydrates for 1 meal

Basically – Everything else is a carbohydrate.

A carb is anything to do with sugar – so if there is any sweetness in your mouth, whether it be healthy or not (so fruit or a muesli bar) it’s a carb.

How high is the carbohydrate content in your diet?

When I go over people’s diets and what they consume in the day, it is easy to see that most people have a diet that’s very high in carbohydrates, compared to the amount of protein they consume. For example, they may have cereal &/or toast for breakfast, fruit at morning tea, a sandwich followed by a muesli bar for lunch, a biscuit in the afternoon and meat and vegies for dinner.

All in all it seems healthy, however if we analyse what the foods are providing the body with, we’d see there are far too many carbohydrates consumed in proportion to the amount of protein.

So why is this a problem?

Too higher carbohydrate intake produces too much insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas when we eat sugar or foods that release sugar upon digestion, like carbohydrates. Insulin enables our cells to absorb glucose from the blood.The cells process the glucose to make the energy they need to function. If you eat too much sugar or carbohydrates in proportion to your protein intake, your pancreas will pump out too much insulin.

This can have many harmful effects:

The pancreas may overtime become fatigued and no longer able to produce insulin, leading to diabetes. The high level of insulin causes Insulin resistance. This means there’s so much insulin in the blood that cell receptors may become exhausted or may not be produced in as great a number. The cell then becomes unreceptive or resistant to the effects of insulin.

When cells become resistant to insulin, they lose energy and messages are sent out which make the pancreas produce more insulin.

Insulin causes the body to store carbohydrates as fat and stops fat being used as a source of energy production. So body fat levels go up and energy goes down.

What about proteins?

On the other hand, Amino Acids are the building blocks from which proteins are made. Our body continuously breaks down the proteins eaten into amino-acid complexes and free amino acids, which it then recombines to form whatever proteins it needs to maintain itself.

Amino acids supply the raw materials for maintaining DNA, repairing damaged muscle tissue, for cell division, making enzymes, building new connective tissue and making hormones and neurotransmitters.

Protein and our blood sugar levels

The ability to control our blood glucose level is dependent on our muscle mass, because 80% of circulating glucose is typically stored in the muscle as glycogen. With low muscle mass, blood glucose clearance is delayed, resulting in blood sugar problems.

It is protein that provides these building blocks.

Heaps of protein choices. Proteins generally come from an animal - like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Heaps of protein choices. Proteins generally come from an animal – like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Its all about the BALANCE of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our diet!

I believe it is the balance of carbohydrate and protein in the diet that is the most vital thing, as both of these sources of fuel are essential to the body. By eating a balance of protein and carbohydrate you give your body the energy it needs to get going, but also sustain you for around 3 hours.

So long as you eat again before your blood sugar levels drop low, you will have consistent energy throughout the day and not feel too pumped up by the time you want to go to sleep at night.

Try this – eat within ½ an hour after you wake and then each 2 ½ hours throughout the day.


Leanne James
Naturopath and Founder
Ideal Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *