Have you tried food combining? Or have you even heard of it? Basically, it’s a set of guidelines telling you which foods work best together for optimal digestion.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, it’s my duty to stay abreast of nutrition trends and research. Quite often the trends don’t match what’s found in the research. And sometimes, something seems to be a trend, when actually the research is just not well known. And then there’s plain old “it works for me”.
In the case of food combining, it’s very old, and as the saying goes, everything old is new again. I remember my mom teaching me a bit about this back around ’82. I watched her use this, along with some other dietary principles, to lose and keep off 30 pounds.
Here’s the basic explanation of food combining. Our bodies require certain digestive enzymes to break down different foods. Proteins require proteases, fats require lipase, and carbs require amylase. While one enzyme is excreted to break down a macronutrient (protein, carb or fat), another enzyme is said to be prevented from doing its job to break down another macronutrient because basically it’s being overpowered by another enzyme. It’s kind of like if you were to turn on the fan and the heater at the same time. Both would work, but they would have a hard time accomplishing the task.
Learning about the rules of food combining is likely to screw up your whole way of eating as you were taught. A sandwich, carbs with protein; spaghetti and meatballs, carbs with protein; and my beloved ahi tuna roll, carbs with protein. According to the rules of food combining, all of these are wrong.
Improper food combining is said to lead to slower digestion (indigestion) which gives food more time in the digestive tract to rot. If you left some food in your lunchbox to rot, smelling it would make you kinda sick. So just imagine if you left food inside of you to rot. Hmmm, probably 10 times worse. The result – heartburn, acid reflux, and horrible gas to name a few.
If you’re following the rules, then how do you combine foods properly? The chart above pretty much sums it up. But the quick and dirty is to always eat veggies with whatever you’re eating. Except fruit. You’d eat fruit alone (provided you don’t have blood sugar control issues), as it is the quickest to digest. You don’t want to slow it down by adding it to your meal or eating it after a meal. Veggies, which are carbs but easier to digest than other carbs, can easily be eaten with protein, fat, or more carbs. I take this as natures way of making sure we get plenty of veggies in.
You may ask if this really works. Although there are a number of holistic practitioners who swear by food combining, I can’t say that I’ve read any large studies on the topic. Regardless, the ultimate test is to just try it yourself, particularly if you experience any of the above mentioned digestive issues regularly. If you do try it for a few days, come back here and let me know what happened. In a perfect world I’d eat this way every time I eat because I have personally gotten good results time and time again from following the food combining rules. Although I don’t always do it, when I do I feel so much better. Check out this video which breaks it down. Studying food combining always leaves me in awe of how complex and complete our bodies were created. I’ll likely visit this topic further in future posts, as it can get pretty in depth.
Are you familiar with food combining? Have you or will you be trying it out? Let me know in the comments below.
Are you wondering if the way you choose your foods is having a negative impact on the way you feel, and in the long run, on your overall health? If you’d like to know more about the simple changes you can make in your food choices, food combining, and more, take advantage of a complimentary 30 minute detox strategy session with me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your consultation.