Is It Healthier to Eat Your Vegetables Before Your Carbs? (NYT)

“Nutrient sequencing” is said to regulate blood sugar. We asked experts if the science holds up.

Q: I’ve heard that it’s best for my health to eat a salad before dinner. But if I’m eating vegetables regardless, does the order really matter?

It’s a popular internet health hack: Eat foods in the “right” order — vegetables first, proteins and fats second, carbohydrates last — and you’ll significantly reduce your resulting spike in blood sugar, which can therefore reduce cravings, fatigue and health risks like Type 2 diabetes, proponents say.

Past research on the topic, sometimes referred to as nutrient or meal sequencing, has concluded that it can indeed benefit blood sugar, especially for those with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

For everyone else, it’s not as cut-and-dried, said Dr. Alpana Shukla, a physician and researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City who has studied food order. Though there are some reasons to consider giving it a try, she said.

Full story: Is It Healthier to Eat Your Vegetables Before Your Carbs?

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It’s a traditional way: eat salad first, then main course, and a desert at the end.

See everything the Glucose Goddess has talked about at

or Instagram. The article seems consistent with her advice, and she has many other blood sugar hacks.

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protein and fat reduce stomach emptying and carbs are digested in the intestines… so yeah. Carbs on empty stomach only make sense before a race or doing intervals… cuz you really don’t want a full stomach then.

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I get the theory of eating carbs last. But is there any research saying that order matters between vegetables, fat, and protein?

It depends what your goal is. If you want to reduce bioavaliabily of the protein and fat then actually consuming vegetables and protein fat together would be best. Tbe fiber gel of soluble and increased free water of insoluble will trap some of the nutrients. If the idea is to maximize protein and fat absorption but possible have the scouring effects the after following protein and fat. Which also minimizes dilution of the gastric juices and bile acid to work on the protein and fat.

The truth is when you look at the food availablity when tradtional meal orders were set. Broth and salads were consumed first to help stimulate (broth) and fill the stomach (salad) prior to the much more sparse meat source of the main course. Desert was actually quite rare in commoners and seasonal or opportunistic. The bulk of starches are consumed on the main plate. In this case it should be eaten after the meat for the best glucose control. Starch eaten with high fiber post meat would likely offer the best control from a insulin and absorbtion rate

If you want to read a good study that lays out the entire process of food digestion along the gi tract but with a focus on BG this was well done

Gastrointestinal Transit Time, Glucose Homeostasis and Metabolic Health: Modulation by Dietary Fibers

Nothing makes sense about diet (except the boring stuff), so experimentation is worthwhile to see what improves cognition, mood, feeling, sleep, energy levels etc the most for someone.

But it is “cut and dry,” and it’s easily proven.

First get a 14-day free CGM and apply it to your arm. Then take 75 grams of marshmallow and play with your meals.

Eat the marshmallows, then the salad, and so on, and try reversing it, and you’ll see quite remarkable changes in the nature of the glucose response. Marshmallows first gives you, as expected a sharp, glucose spike. Different order of eating will return a different glucose spike shape.

Do note you say: “Salad.” Well, almost all salads have some vinegar in them. The vinegar rapidly neutralizes amylase. This alone will likely reduce the speed of absorption.

I’m not sure how much the protein/fats affect things, but the vegetables, especially those with a lot of fiber will slow digestion and “flatten,” the glucose response curve.


Excellent - and correct post Justin!

The order is very important - you can eat exactly the same food in a meal and have a completely different area under the curve for your glucose.

Complex foods (including some complex carbs) first, then the stuff that is rapidly absorbed (if you eat any of that type of stuff) done last.

We have our diabetic and pre-diabetic - and other interested patients do this (e.g. Rx a CGM) and give specific advice - and it makes a significant difference.


My vegetables are my carbs. I see no reason to eat bread, pasta, sugar, etc. Of course I eat crap at restaurants, but I try to eat real food at home.


The title of this article is a problem as your vegetables are your carbs. If you eat the way I do, there are some grains and beans - but almost no other carbs. It’s boring, but is part of the strategy to be 110 when I take my dirt nap.


I think whole grains have unique benefits which you can’t get from vegetables otherwise they wouldn’t be recommended.

The massive grain lobby + recent historical habits should not necessarily be underestimated

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I don’t mind not eating whole grains if you gave some alternatives.

Is White Bread Just as Healthy as Whole Wheat? | Bon Appétit (

“Whole grains” being healthy is a myth. Actually, what it means is that the product includes the most outer layer of the grain that it is supposed to protect the grain from insects and other outside factors and is loaded with things that are NOT healthy for consumption (obviously they have substances that are supposed to make them les edible/less desirable). Growing up in a farm we always knew this and would sift out the bran/outer layers and feed it to pigs. Also, white rice is much healthier than brown rice. The only problem with some of “white” product is the fact that they are over processed/bleached (but that is the case with whole grains also, so you better off going for white everything but processed naturally and grown organically).
The argument that whole grains have more fiber is not valid either. While true whole wheat has more fiber, the difference in fiber is pretty small, plus most grains (especially wheat) don’t have that much fiber to start with. the fiber should be sourced from vegies and some fruits not whole grains. Again, whole grain mania is another one of those BS made up stories. Grains in general are bad, and so are legumes. Legumes though wouldn’t be too bad if they are first germinated for like 24 hours and then cooked.
Avoid whole wheat if you can!

Just eat the “white” version of the whole grain but make sure it is naturally processed (not overprocessing) and it is grown organically. I.E don’t buy whole grain bread but buy the white equivalent of it, don’t eat brown rice, eat white organic rice. And NEVER buy whole wheat flour.

Can you explain more why that would be the case?

I’ve personally liked wild rice and black rice that seems to have a much better glucose peak impact on me than vice rice (seen on CGM).

(I don’t eat rice all that often, but do sometimes to get complete amino acid coverage when eating beans/lentils).

Well 1. as I said it was common knowledge growing up, and this knowledge was passed on generation after generation for 1000’s of years. 2. I read somewhere that white rice is easier to digest and sits better with microbiome of humans. and 3. I don’t know about the glucose index since I don’t have that problem, but my understanding is that both are bad if you are diabetic. and 4. here is an article that might make you say ouch:

Surprise! White Rice May Be Better for You Than Brown Rice (

“Arsenic and Phytates”-pretty scary words/agents/substances if you were to ask me. goes back to what I pragmatically said, the bran has absolutely no other use but to protect the seed so that it continues to spread and multiply, and as such it has some nasty stuff in it. no thank you, not putting that stuff into my stomach.

Thanks for reply. Not a lot of evidence or data here. But I’ll look at the article.

Never underestimate people’s knowledge, as in why did they only eat white rice for thousand’s of years till some smart alek decided to say on no no brown rice is better. Brown rice is easier to harvest, yet they went to great lengths to convert it into white rice. I put quite a bit of value in accumulated wisdom throughout the ages, more so than some slick guy overreaching their potential trying to make a point.

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