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What is food combining?
If you haven't heard of it, the food combining diet assumes that different foods digest at different rates and require different digestive environments. Therefore, foods need to be eaten in groups that complement these factors.
For example, protein requires an acidic environment for digestion and carbohydrates require a more basic environment, so if combined, they cancel each other out and nothing gets digested.
Here's a handy chart:
This diet is based on the assumption that the body is not equipped to digest "mixed meals," when there's a combination of fat, carbs, and protein present.
It also is based on the idea that when foods that digest faster are eaten after foods that digest slower, they get "stuck" behind them in the digestive track and essentially putrefy and ferment while "waiting their turn" to be digested.
This is just another tactic to confuse people and sell them something. Classic create-a-problem and sell-a-solution protocol. But you're no fool!
Breaking Down Digestion
The problem with food combining is, our bodies contain all of the necessary enzymes to break down carbs, fats and protein at the same time. The human body evolved on a diet of whole foods, which almost always contain some combination of carbs, protein and fat.
Vegetables and grains are typically considered to be carb-containing foods, but they all also contain several grams of protein per serving. And meat is often considered to be just protein, but even lean meat contains some fat. Most foods contain a combination of fat, carbs, and protein so your digestive tract is always prepared to digest a mixed meal.
Take this example: When food enters your stomach, gastric acid is released. The enzymes pepsin and lipase are also released, which help in protein and fat digestion. Evidence shows that pepsin and lipase are released even if there is no protein or fat present in your food. Food then moves into the small intestine where the gastric acid from the stomach is neutralized and enzymes that help break down proteins, fats and carbs enter.
So there's no need to worry that your body will have to choose between digesting one thing over another. It's well prepared for this type of multitasking.
Why Food Combine In the First Place?
The diet claims you'll have better digestion. However, this diet regime removes many unhealthy, bloat-promoting foods like fast foods and processed foods. Removing common foods tied to digestive complaints will likely reduce bloating.
Otherwise, food combining definitely is not essential for good digestion or health, and isn't scientifically backed up. But if utilizing some of the principles helps you to slow down, eat more mindfully and healthy, then great!
However, there's no reason why we shouldn't enjoy the foods that we love in the same sitting!
Here are Health My Lifestyle we love eating big balanced bowls of deliciousness that keep us full and satisfied. We don't make things overly complicated because life is complicated enough. Eating a whole food plant-based diet automatically removes a lot of the foods that can cause digestion discomfort so no extra rules are needed. Just eat mostly whole foods from plants. Simple as that.
If you need help simplifying what to eat so that you feel nourished and satisfied while still achieving weight loss goals, consider joining the Health My Lifestyle Meal Planner. It's the last meal planning tool you'll ever need with weekly customizable meal plans, shopping lists, and simple recipes that push you towards your goals. Entirely whole food plant-based, but all eaters are welcome!