Food Combining for Good Health

Most people are aware of the worldwide epidemics of diabetes and obesity. The World Health Organization definition of overweight is a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 25. Obesity is defined as a BMI equal to or greater than 30.1 Worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980. In 2008, 35% of adults aged 20 and older throughout the world were overweight and an additional 11% were obese. Further, more than 347 million people worldwide have diabetes.2 In other worlds, one out of every 20 persons has diabetes.

What's going on? Why be concerned? These conditions do not exist by themselves. Both contribute to additional severe health issues. Obesity is the leading cause of pediatric high blood pressure and increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Uncontrolled diabetes, over time, can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, disorders of the nerve system, and blindness.

In the face of these life-threatening epidemics it's important to look for any good news. The good news is that both obesity and diabetes can be addressed with lifestyle-related changes. A suboptimal diet and lack of exercise are causes of both conditions. This is well-known. It is also well-known that maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise prevents obesity and prevents or delays the most common type diabetes (type 2 diabetes).

A healthy diet consists of regularly consuming food from all major food groups and consistently eating only that amount of food necessary for your daily energy requirements. If you're interested in losing weight and then maintaining the best weight for your body, a daily calorie intake between 1800 and 2100 calories is good for most men, and a daily calorie intake between 1700 and 1800 calories is good for most women.3 There is a third component of healthy eating that regulates how your body uses the food you eat. This additional component is known as food combining.

Food combining involves combining protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal. This important step is the key to a healthy, optimally functioning metabolism. When your metabolic processes are working efficiently, you’re burning carbohydrates for energy. Your blood insulin levels are steady throughout the day. In contrast, without food combining, your digestive processes send unregulated amounts of glucose into the blood stream every time you eat a meal. The result is frequent swings in insulin levels and storage of these glucose molecules (broken-down carbohydrates) as fat. Long-term, over months and years, such eating patterns can lead to being overweight, obesity, and diabetes.

Putting the dietary principle of food combining into practice is easy. All that's required is paying attention to meal planning. The result of this simple series of steps is better health for you and your family, now and in the future.

1WHO Fact Sheet No. 311 (March 2013): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/

2Danaei G, et al: National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980. Systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2.7 million participants. Lancet 378(9785):31–40. 2011

3Campbell KL, et al: J Clin Oncol Reduced-Calorie Dietary Weight Loss, Exercise, and Sex Hormones in Postmenopausal Women: Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol 30(19):2314-2326, 2012

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