News and Research: Order in which you eat protein, fat, and carbs

Article: Impact of Nutrient Type and Sequence on Glucose Tolerance: Physiological Insights and Therapeutic Implications Frontiers in Endocrinology

Overview: This review article covers research on reducing post-prandial glucose spikes and troughs by simply changing the order in which you eat.

Consuming protein and fat before a meal has been shown to reduce postprandial glycemia by delaying gastric emptying. This could mean a pre-meal protein shake that doesn’t contain carbs – or a small protein-rich snack.

However, having something low-carb, high-protein before a meal isn’t always convenient.

Additional research, though, shows that the order in which you eat food in the meal also matters a lot. The studies show that eating protein and fat first (e.g., eating your meat first) and then consuming carbohydrates improves glucose tolerance significantly.

The paper explains: “The magnitude of the glucose-lowering effect of preload-based nutritional strategies is greater in type 2 diabetes than healthy subjects, being comparable and additive to current glucose-lowering drugs, and appears sustained over time.”

An earlier study – The impact of food order on postprandial glycaemic excursions in prediabetes – showed that simply eating a sandwich with bread and meat together caused a much greater glucose peak and drop than eating the meat and veggies off the sandwich first and then eating the bread a few minutes later.

Here are the results from that study showing that eating the bread from the sandwich first resulted in a much larger glucose and insulin spike and drop compared to eating the meat and lettuce from the sandwich first:


My takeaway: Many traditional meals were simply meat and vegetables, with carbs eaten afterward for dessert. As Pink Floyd said, “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding”.

About the Author:
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering and also an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.

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