What Is Food Combining? Pros and Cons – Will It Work For You?

Food Combining Diet

People maintain a diet by changing what they eat or by monitoring the amount of food they eat; similarly, a food combining diet is when you change how you consume your food.

The food combining principles has its roots in the ancient Ayurvedic diet, which is less of a diet and more of a nutritional approach.

Generally, food combining diet separates foods into groups and pairs certain foods together in a meal.

The Idea Behind Food Combining

Food combining targets to prevent the digestive system from overworking, you only take in a few meals so that it can be digested without any hiccups.

And since the digestive rates differ for different foods, combining a slow digesting food with fast digesting foods will cause adverse effects to your digestive tract and lead to health consequences, like diseases, bloating toxic buildup, and other digestive related disorders.

Also, various foods break down with different enzymes that work at separate acidity levels or pH levels. So, eating two different foods that need different pH levels at one sitting could impair proper digestion.

Therefore, separating certain kinds of foods will enhance the process of digestion and result in better health and a healthy weight loss.


Food Combining Diet


The Basic Food Combining Rules

There are tons of food combining rules that vary depending on who you ask, but here are the basic or the general food combining rules you should know.

Foods You Can Combine

-Starch and non starchy vegetables.

-Protein, and non starchy vegetables.

Because to digest proteins requires an acidic environment and the digestive enzyme pepsin, whereas to digest carbohydrates, it requires enzyme ptyalin and an alkaline environment.

And eating them together will slow the digestion process and cause bloating.

However, you can combine them with non starchy vegetables because the leafy greens do not interfere with other enzymes as they come with their own.

Foods You Should Not Combine

-Proteins and other proteins

-Protein, and starch

Just as mentioned above, since proteins and carbohydrates require different environments and enzymes, they should not be combined.

Foods That Should Be Consumed Separately

-Fruits, you should eat them on an empty stomach or at least 20 minutes before a meal. Combining fruits with other foods can cause digestive disasters because they have simple sugar that quickly gets digested in about 30 minutes.

So, to avoid creating a digestive traffic jam, as per the rule of food combining diet, it’s best to eat fruits alone.

-Dairy products, but never take them on an empty stomach.

General Food Combining Chart

  • Neutral foods can be paired with anything. Some of the neutral foods include almost every leafy greens, cucumber, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, spaghetti squash, parsnip, yellow squash, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, beets, oils, peppers, garlic, onions.
  • Starches can be paired with other neutral vegetables or other carbohydrates, namely white potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, yams, rice, pasta, millet, quinoa, butternut squash, kabocha squash, etc.
  • Proteins can be paired with other proteins and neutral vegetables such as all meats, fish, and cheese.
  • Other basic rules include not combining fruits and vegetables while consuming, which is because, according to the theory, fruits and vegetables have different biochemical structures and break down at different digestion levels.

Scientific Evidence To Support Food Combining

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to show the real benefit of food combining diet, and that some rules of the food combining diet does not go with the generally known truth about the human body’s digestive process.

Our body’s digestion is not as simple as the food combining dieticians suggest. Because the process of digestion already begins in the mouth before it continues in the stomach.

The starch you eat breaks down with the amylase released in your mouth and the enzyme in your spit. The enzyme in your stomach processes the proteins, and in the small intestine, the enzyme lipase works on the fats from your food then the food enters the large intestine where the further breakdown happens.

And therefore, even if we combine proteins and starch in a meal, our body can still process it properly since it is designed to do so.

Additionally, as against consuming foods with similar pH levels for more efficient digestion, according to the underlying biochemistry, our bodies have their own way of handling the different pH levels for proper digestion.

Dieticians recommend consuming a variety of macronutrients in a single meal as it keeps you fuller for an extended period and keeps you energized.

However, although there is no scientific evidence in support of the food combining diet, it does not mean that it is not beneficial.

This food combining has been around since the Ayurveda, and though the principles are not based on biochemistry, it highly emphasizes on caring about food choices, what you eat and how much you are eating, which has its own perks.


Benefits of Food Combining Diet


Benefits of Food Combining Diet

Following this strict diet will most likely lead to healthier eating because combining foods promotes whole food consumption.

Weight loss

As you thoughtfully plan your food choices, you are more likely to decrease calorie consumption and lose weight. Also, this food combining diet was initially recognized as a healthy alternative to weight loss solutions. This is because as you properly combine foods, it results in easier assimilation, and your body efficiently digests the foods, minimizing the amount of stored food.

Reduce bloating

A lot of your abdominal discomfort, such as digestive gas, bloating, etc. will be significantly reduced by adequately combining foods in a single meal.

Improve energy

Naturally, with smoother and efficient digestion, you will have more energy after every meal. As opposed to consuming food improperly combined, it will most likely cause exhaustion and weighed down.

Anti Aging

Following a proper food combining diet will allow your body to take in all the essential nutrients and vitamins you receive from your food.

And these nutrients and vitamins mainly help in combating the aging process in various ways, such as enhanced vision, joint health, and promote healthier hair and skin.


Since the combining diet has its roots in the ancient theories, you may find some unnecessarily complicated rules.

Nonetheless, if you wish to incorporate the food combining way you can safely do so, it will cause you no harm. But make sure that you make some small changes and add a little more variety to ensure that you are enjoying plenty of nutrients as well.


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