Benefits of Pairing Carbs with Fat for PCOS
You have probably read that carbohydrates belong to the list of PCOS foods to avoid. However, excluding carbs altogether is extremely difficult, and many argue that excluding a whole food group is not the best way to go about it. Our bodies need carbs to function and our hormones rely on carbs in many ways.
Instead, some suggest that the best diet for PCOS is to eat carbs daily, but making sure to pair them with fats and proteins.
Carbohydrates thrive in company! They behave better in your body when accompanied by a protein source and/or a dose of healthy fats. For example, if you eat a cookie along with some Greek yoghurt or a handful of almonds, your body handles it much better than if you eat the cookie by itself.
Pairing carbohydrates with healthy fats can be a smart strategy for those interested in a more PCOS friendly diet. The combination of carbohydrates and fats in a meal can have several benefits for managing blood sugar levels and promoting overall well-being.
Here's why and how to pair carbs with fats effectively on the PCOS diet…
Benefits of Pairing Carbs with Fats:
- Steady Energy Release: When you consume carbohydrates alone, they can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash. Adding healthy fats to your meal can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, leading to a more gradual release of energy. This can help prevent sharp fluctuations in blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Improved Satiety: Fats are known for their satiating effect, meaning they help you feel full and satisfied after a meal. Combining fats with carbohydrates can enhance feelings of fullness and reduce the likelihood of overeating or snacking between meals.
- Enhanced Nutrient Absorption: Certain vitamins and nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), require the presence of dietary fats for proper absorption. Pairing healthy fats with nutrient-rich carbohydrates can ensure that your body is able to absorb and utilise these essential nutrients effectively.
Smart Pairing Tips:
- Avocado and Whole Grain Toast: Spread some avocado on whole grain toast. Avocado provides healthy fats and fibre, while whole grains contribute complex carbohydrates. Add a sprinkle of seeds (like chia or flaxseed) for an extra nutrient boost.
- Greek Yoghurt with Nuts and Berries: Mix Greek yoghurt with a handful of nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) and fresh berries. Greek yoghurt offers protein and probiotics, while nuts provide healthy fats. Berries add natural sweetness and antioxidants.
- Salmon and Quinoa Salad: Prepare a salad with grilled salmon, quinoa, leafy greens, and a drizzle of olive oil-based dressing. Salmon offers omega-3 fatty acids, while quinoa provides protein and complex carbs.
- Nut Butter and Apple Slices: Enjoy apple slices with a spread of nut butter (like almond or peanut butter). Nut butter supplies healthy fats, while the apple provides fibre and natural sugars.
- Trail Mix: Create your own trail mix with a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. This portable snack combines healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
- Roasted Vegetables with Olive Oil: Roast a variety of colourful vegetables with a touch of olive oil. The combination of veggies and healthy fats can make for a satisfying and nutritious side dish.
Remember, Moderation is Key
While pairing carbohydrates with healthy fats can offer benefits, it's important to practise portion control and choose nutrient-dense options. Focus on incorporating whole, unprocessed foods and varying your sources of fats and carbohydrates.
FAQs about Pairing Carbs with Fats for PCOS
- Why should I consider pairing carbohydrates with fats for my PCOS diet?
Pairing carbohydrates with healthy fats offers several benefits for managing blood sugar levels and promoting overall well-being. It helps prevent rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar, enhances feelings of fullness, and ensures proper absorption of essential nutrients.
- How does combining fats with carbohydrates help maintain steady energy levels?
When you consume carbs alone, they can lead to rapid blood sugar spikes and crashes. Adding healthy fats to your meal slows down carb digestion, leading to a gradual energy release. This helps prevent sharp fluctuations in blood sugar levels, providing sustained energy throughout the day.
- Can pairing carbohydrates with fats improve my sense of fullness after meals?
Absolutely! Fats are known for their satiating effect, helping you feel full and satisfied. Combining fats with carbohydrates enhances this feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating or snacking between meals.
- What role do healthy fats play in enhancing nutrient absorption?
Certain vitamins and nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), require dietary fats for proper absorption. Pairing healthy fats with nutrient-rich carbohydrates ensures your body can effectively absorb and utilise these essential nutrients.
- Can you provide examples of smart pairings for a PCOS-friendly diet?
Certainly! Some examples of smart pairings include:
Avocado and Whole Grain Toast: Avocado provides healthy fats and fibre, while whole grains contribute complex carbohydrates.
Greek Yoghurt with Nuts and Berries: Greek yoghurt offers protein and probiotics, while nuts provide healthy fats. Berries add natural sweetness and antioxidants.
Salmon and Quinoa Salad: Salmon supplies omega-3 fatty acids, quinoa provides protein and complex carbs.
Nut Butter and Apple Slices: Nut butter supplies healthy fats, while the apple provides fibre and natural sugars.
Trail Mix: A mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits combines healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
Roasted Vegetables with Olive Oil: Veggies and healthy fats from olive oil create a satisfying and nutritious side dish.
- Is it important to consider portion control when pairing carbohydrates with fats?
Absolutely, moderation is key. While the pairing offers benefits, practising portion control helps you maintain a balanced diet. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods and be mindful of your portion sizes.
- Can I still enjoy carbohydrates if I have PCOS?
Yes, you can! Excluding carbs entirely is not recommended, as our bodies need them to function. Instead, consider pairing carbs with healthy fats and proteins to manage blood sugar levels effectively.
- Are there any specific fats I should focus on when pairing with carbohydrates?
Choose sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats provide essential nutrients without the negative effects of saturated and trans fats.
- How does pairing carbohydrates with fats help in managing hormonal balance for PCOS?
Balancing carbs with fats and proteins can help prevent rapid blood sugar fluctuations, which can impact hormonal balance. By maintaining steady energy levels, you may support more stable hormonal function.
- Can I personalise my PCOS diet based on my preferences?
Absolutely. The examples provided are just a starting point. You can personalise your PCOS-friendly diet by selecting foods you enjoy while ensuring they include a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. It's important to prioritise nutrient-dense, whole foods for optimal health.