Protein, carbohydrates and your body

I want to explain breifly (and hopefully relatively easily!!) how proteins and carbohydrates are utilised by the body. Even if you don’t use this information every time you eat, having this knowledge may help you to think about what is going on inside your body.

-          Proteins are digested in the stomach by ACID.
-          Carbohydrates are digested in the stomach by ALKALINE.

If we eat high protein foods with high carbohydrate foods our stomach is caught in a vicious cycle producing acid to digest the protein and alkaline to digest the carbohydrates. Obviously the acid and alkaline neutralize each other and therefore the food in our stomach is not properly digested which can lead to the food sitting in the stomach for hours which leads to fermentation. And what is the lovely outcome of fermentation…GAS!

If you suffer from flatulence or heartburn, these very simple guidelines may help you make some lifestyle changes and alleviate some discomfort.

-       Vegetables will digest in either acid or alkaline so the easy rule is, vegetables with every meal and either carbohydrate or protein
-       Now a vegetable and carbohydrate meal will take about 3 hours to digest
-       A vegetable and protein meal will take at least 4 hours to digest
-       IF you mix carbohydrates and protein the meal will be in the stomach for up to 8 hours
-       Beans and legumes contain both protein and carbohydrates and that is why they cause flatulence

High proteins foods include meats, cheese and dairy
High carbohydrate foods include bread, rice, pasta and of course potato
(Sorry spag bol lovers!!!)

Please remember that these are guidelines. If you happen to mix protein and carbohydrates then just try to avoid it for the next meal. My tip is to have a salad with carbohydrates for lunch, munch on vegetables during the afternoon if you get hungry, then meat and 3 veg for dinner.

Breakfast: Omelete with mushrooms and onion
Lunch: Salad sandwich or wrap
Afternoon snack: Carrot and celery sticks with hommus or throw a cob of corn in the microwave in it’s husk for 4 minutes and voila!
Dinner: Fish, chicken, lamb, you name it. I love the slow-cooker so I pop something in the oven in the morning, steam some veg when I get home and let the gorgeous flavours of the slow-cooked meat engulf the plate … YUM!!!

Written by Helen La Fontaine
Founder – Top Secret Maternity
Bachelor of Applied Science – Food Science and Nutrition | Masters of Public Health