The “Link and Balance” formula
The key to the way of eating known as Link and Balance, as outlined in The Insulin Resistance Diet, is to be able to control the effects that carbohydrates have on our bodies – not by never eating any again, but by not eating them in isolation. Linking and Balancing is a way to ensure that your body gets the necessary amounts of protein and carbohydrates to prevent insulin spikes – and as a result, control your appetite and lose weight.
Linking simply means adding protein to your diet. It is something we don’t naturally think of. Sure, most of us have protein in the form of meat or fish with our evening meals, but many of our snacks are carbohydrates and we would normally just consume them on their own, without even thinking about the type of food we are eating.
Balancing is making sure you have the right quantities of protein with your carbohydrates. You do have permission to eat carbohydrates, but for each serving you have (and there are limits), you need to balance the carb with protein. It is a principle that makes this insulin resistance diet a more realistic approach than some of the others out there.
The Link and Balance formula
The formula is very simple: For every 15g of carbohydrates that you eat, you need to add 7g of protein.
The guideline is no more than 30g of carbohydrates, balanced with at least 14g of protein, in any 2-hour time period. You may have more than 14g of protein if you wish, and you may have more veggies/salad. The restriction is on the carbs. And the 2 hour break from carbohydrates is important!
Be aware: 30g is a pretty small serving. For example, it may be a helping of pasta, not including any carbs that might be in your pasta sauce, so choose the carbs wisely! We all know that the highly refined and processed starches like white sugar and bread will be very quickly absorbed and will cause an immediate blood sugar spike, followed by a release of insulin. If you choose bread with whole (intact) grains in it, it’s still a carbohydrate but at least it has fiber and other nutrients and it will not be absorbed as quickly. It’s a great idea to inform yourself about the Glycemic Index to find out the best carbohydrate choices.
But once you have those carbs, you need to have some (preferably lean) protein as well. Ideally you should eat the protein first, or at least at the same time.
Practice Linking and Balancing
The Link and Balance method advocates that you may have a maximum of 30g of carbohydrate at one sitting, as long as you ALSO have 14g of protein, either beforehand or at the same time. For example, you can have 2 slices of bread (remember to choose the type wisely so you get your fiber) and 14g of sliced turkey, or some turkey and some low-fat cheese. In other words, yes, you can have a sandwich!
Ideally you would add some salad leaves to the sandwich for the nutritional benefits, and drink a couple of glasses of water. This will help to fill you up, aid digestion and make you feel satisfied – and no doubt virtuous!
Remember – for every carb, make sure that you are eating some protein. Horrible example, but if you do have a cookie, drink half a glass of milk with it. It doesn’t cancel out the fat and sugar, but it will help to inhibit your insulin production, which would otherwise go through the roof.
If you have 30g of pasta, noodles, or rice in your meal, add some chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs, tofu or cheese. Fill up the rest of the plate with non-starchy vegetables or salad. Choose a salad dressing with no sugar, or make your own with olive oil and vinegar.
The Link and Balance eating plan for long term fat loss
If you follow the “Link and Balance” eating method from The Insulin-Resistance Diet, you will need to pay attention to these things, but it isn’t hard. Get into the habit of thinking about your food, and when you are more aware of your carb choices it will be easier and easier to see how to train yourself to adopt better habits that will keep your insulin production in check, and thus lose that stubborn fat around your middle. You can Link and Balance for life!