You’ve probably heard many times to eat a balanced diet, but until you actually make a commitment to balance the carbohydrate, protein and fat in every meal you eat, you haven’t experienced the true hormonal power of a balanced diet. Every time you eat a meal or snack, the composition of the meal has the power to control the release of the hormone insulin or the hormone glucagon. The balance of these two hormones can help determine your dieting success. With a better understanding of these two opposing hormones, you can begin to balance your diet and control the release of the body’s powerful hormones so you can maximize energy use.
Hormones regulate virtually everything your body does, so it’s not hard to understand that hormones can affect your body composition. And, the food you eat controls the response that regulates those hormones.
High-carbohydrate meals can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. To prevent excessive blood sugar levels, the hormone insulin is released to lower it. Insulin forces your body to burn glucose for energy, converting excess blood glucose into glycogen and storing it in the muscles and liver, while any excess glucose is stored as body fat. Insulin also decreases the utilization of stored energy for fuel. Many times, elevated insulin levels can cause blood sugar to drop too low, which can affect energy levels. If additional carbohydrates are eaten, the storage cycle is started all over again.
When a meal contains carbohydrates, balanced with protein and fat, blood sugar levels can remain steadier. Protein in the meal stimulates the release of the hormone glucagon, which mobilizes stored glycogen in the liver to maintain steady blood glucose.
When your goal is to get in shape, learning how to stabilize blood sugar levels with your food choices to control the balance of insulin to glucagon makes sense. And that’s where learning how to prepare your meals with the 40-30-30 ratio comes into play.
For nearly 25 years, I have been teaching people how to balance their meals. It’s the ratio of carbohydrate, protein, and fat in every meal and snack that controls the release of the hormone insulin or the hormone glucagon. Preparing meals with the balanced ratio is as easy as 40-30-30. Meals should contain approximately 40% of total calories from predominately low- to medium-glycemic carbohydrates, 30% from high quality protein, and 30% from healthy fats.
The ideal carbohydrate foods are fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and nutrients. Minimize starchy, high-glycemic carbohydrates and highly processed carbohydrates that contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and sodium.
The ideal protein foods are high quality, complete proteins that are low in fat such as chicken or turkey breast, fish, lean beef, and pork, low-fat dairy products (milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese) eggs, and whey protein powder.
The ideal fat sources are from healthy, natural fats sources like avocados, fish and fish oil, olives and olive oil, and raw nuts like macadamia nuts and walnuts. Avoid processed fats and trans fats.
You can find more than 200 personalized meals with the 40-30-30 ratio in our book, The Formula, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program (Amazon.com). Each meal contains the unique 40-30-30 Balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat to help maintain blood glucose levels already within a normal range, to control insulin and elevate glucagon. Meals are personalized for your gender, body weight, and level of activity to determine the overall amount of food and the number of calories you need daily to maximize the utilization of stored energy. You simply choose from the A, B, C, D, or E meal plan that’s right for you.
With a better understanding of how the foods you eat can either turn on or turn off your body’s natural hormones, it just makes sense to make an extra effort to eat a natural, balanced diet to compliment your reduced calorie intake and daily exercise program.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.