T Nation

The whole P+F/P+C notion

It appears to me that everybody here has bought into the whole ‘avoid fat+carbs in any meal because of the insulinogenic effect’ mantra. My question: how much research has really been done on this? Will high fat cottage cheese on whole wheat toast cause more of an insulin spike than low fat cottage cheese on whole wheat toast? Wouldn’t it just make sense to stick to healthy carbs and fats… and leave it at that? Any hard evidence out there? I have the feeling I’m going to get flamed…and perhaps I just skipped an article at some point but I don’t recall seeing any true data on this ‘fact’, only speculation.



As far as I have understood it, the fat wouldnt affect the insulin spike, - however the fat ingested would be more likely to be stored than burned for energy due to the insulin spike.

Didn’t Dr. Serrano recommend full fat cottage cheese to REDUCE the insulin response of the cheese?

I’m confused as to which it is. I’ve always heard that fat reduced insulin response, but then here people are saying it increases it.

Morg, please look at my post on the cottage cheese thread. It’s the lactose that causes the high insulin response in low-fat cottage cheese.

Fat does NOT dampen the insulin response of carbs by decreasing the glycemic response. At a certain point, it in fact increases the insulin secreted in response to the carbs.

There are two issues, Zulu:

  1. fats consumed with carbohydrates will be deposited on the body
  2. carbs give the body the signal to burn carbs, and not fats. The insulin created by whole-food proteins, consumed with fats, does not prevent fat oxidation. The insulin created by carbs does.

Being a layman, the only convincing stuff out there are studies. You can twist the physiology and which way you want, and I’ve seen it done.



I haven’t really bought into it. I switched to the P+F and P=C meals about 3 months back and I haven’t noticed any difference in body composition or performance, so I’m goona just go back to reg. meals (but I keep it all clean as you suggest). But if it works for somebody else, then they should definitely use it.

I had been wondering about this exact question myself.
It would be great if JB could chime in on this one to set things striaght.

Well, I’m not twisting the physiology of it. That’s how it happens in a P+F+C scenario. It’s basic stuff.

There are plenty of studies that show how various meals made up of P+F+C combinations are deleterious because of their macronutrient composition. This implies that P+F and P+C combinations are less deleterious–in the short-term at least.

However, eating clean in MANY individuals may have positive effects that outweigh those of Berardi’s meal combination rules. But remember, this has a lot to do with what happens hormonally BETWEEN meals, when insulin is down and glucagon is up.

Let’s look at 2 hypothetical individuals after the same P+F+C meal containing 35 grams of clean carbs and 120 calories of fat. 3 hours later, Individual#1 may have got back into significant lipolysis. Invididual#2 may have ZIP lipolysis.

If these postprandial responses are typical, and the macronutrient breakdown of the meal reflects their diets, then Individual#1 will tend to accrue less bodyfat on either a bulking or a maintenance diet. He’ll also burn less muscle on a cutting diet. Individual#2 will accrue mroe bodyfat when bulking, may very gradually put on bodyfat while on maintenance, and lose more muscle when cutting.

In the case of Individual#2, he may do better separating his carbs and fats. Something Berardi doesn’t go into much is techniques to deal with the transition between meals that contain lots of carbs and those which contain lots of fat. This will also help Individual#2 in all his goals.

I thought that the combos did not make that much of a difference as long as I ate enough and healthy. I followed them as well as could anyways. Last summer, I traveled for a couple of weeks, and had to eat some meals high in C and F. I tried to eat healthy, but I am pretty sure the C+F meals did in my physique with a nice layer of fat. From personal experience, the combos work, if everything in one’s diet is dialed in. However, I would love to see someone point out some studies on this. I remember finding some stuff when I searched for fat and metabolism on pubmed.

This is how I look at it now, after having done it for over 8 months: When dieting it makes no difference whatsoever because it all comes down to calories in versus calories out, granted you are consuming enough protein. When bulking, that might be a little more tricky. It is said that when insulin and fat are present, the fat gets stored. So, splitting up C and F would encourage less of the fat to be stored. HOWEVER, I think what is even more important here is the energy aspect. If two identical people are identicaly active and eat exactly the same foods only one does combos and one doesn’t, how then is it plausible that the combo guy is using more calories for “energy” when his body hasn’t even asked him for anymore. (exercise) I hope that is clear. My main point is that while it might make a difference, I believe it to be Small and not worth the trouble.

If I remember correctly, Berardi posted several references in his original ME articles.

But regardless, while ME might not work for some people, in the vast majority it does work quite well. In my own case, when I first gave it a shot maintenance cals (while eating non-ME style) were about 2700. With ME, I could go up to 3300, stay the same weight, and see positive bodycomp changes.

That’s a huge difference. (And with the added cals came greater strength, for some reason, even though my BW didn’t go up.) And if you’re trying to bulk up, there’s also a huge difference in how much fat you’re going to put on doing things one way as opposed to the other. Again, the empirical evidence is pretty conclusive (although there are always a few people out there who it won’t work for).

Bottom line is to try it yourself and see. If it doesn’t work for you, fine. Eat however you like. But those people are, in my experience, quite rare. And I know that Berardi agrees.

Berardi is god
arguements will not be entertained

ASP (acylation stimulating protein) is insulin independent. The presence of chylomicrons (from fat) in the bloodstream, even in the absence of an insulin increase , will stimulate fat storage (via ASP) and inhibit breakdown (via inhibition of hormone sensitive lipase).

It’s not as cut and dry as it appears.

Many very knowledgeable people, including one of my old profs say that his idea is based on an outdated model.

Mind you, I still eat this way too.


Resistance is futile


Re: Thunder. LOL. Might be outdated, but it sure does work, huh? :wink:

well what works for u?
some people i know get ripped eating ehalthy P+C+F
i personally get most ripped up eating like berardi states, when im not worried about rips (which isnt often lol)
i’ll do a P+C+F
i wont gain much weight nor will i lose my abs but i deffinately look more cut when i seperate them. this is just for me though…
i mean i sometimes mix my oatmeal with natty pb


I’d like to have a look at the many studies done on this. Do you have any links I could peruse?

Oh, and if these recommendations have worked for some of you, then that’s good. But I’m curious if there is any non-anecdotal evidence out there that would substantiate this. Personally, I can’t imagine living the rest of my life wondering whether I had fat and carbs in the same meal. Look at it this way: it’s more important to eat clean carbs and good fats, firstly. Now, assuming you do this, I can’t imagine it being at all significant that you occassionally intermingle the two.


SPE, I think the fatty acids will be more available for immediate energy when insulin is not present. So the body can use them more to assist muscle growth.

Char, I only eat this way because I like to. As far as it working? I notice no difference whether I have a more mixed meal or if I strictly follow the meal combining rules.

The majority of people don’t eat this way, and still achieve great results.