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Food combining

'Food combining' refers to the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry. Food combining is a basic component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent.

The discomforts of indigestion are so common in today’s society that indigestion is almost considered normal. The fact that over 2 billion dollars are spent each year on antacids is proof of this. Rather than using drugs to suppress symptoms, wouldn’t it be wiser to remove the causes of indigestion?

Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time.
food combining

Correct food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilization, and assimulation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process - some acid, some alkaline. As any student of chemistry will assure you, acids and bases (alkalis) neutralize each other. When acids and alkalines come in contact, they neutralize each other and this retards digestion.

Protein foods require a highly acidic environment for digestion while carbohydrates (starches, fruit and sugars) and fats require a more alkaline medium. Anytime 2 or more foods are eaten at the same time, and those foods require opposite conditions for digestion, the digestive process is compromised.

When starches and proteins are combined their stimulation to the digestive juices generates a conflicting response and produces a medium which does not digest either food very well. This situation often leads to indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients. Any quick digesting foods - such as fruit - must wait until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach before they can leave - a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. While waiting, the fruit and some of the starches undergo some decomposition and fermentation, producing gas, acid and even alcohol along with indigestion.


Proponents of food combining advocate the following principles:

The most important rule, is this: Don't mix starch foods with protein foods at the same meal.

Here are the other principles which proponents of food combining adhere to:

1. Eat starches and acids at separate meals. Acids
neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch
digestion and the result is indigestion and fermentation.

2. Eat carbohydrate foods and protein foods at
separate meals. Protein foods require an acid
medium for digestion.

3. Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals.
The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the
digestive acids required for protein digestion.
Undigested proteins putrefy in bacterial
decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Eat proteins and fats at separate meals. Some
foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and
require hours for digestion.

6. Eat proteins and sugars (fruits) at separate

7. Eat starchy foods and sugars (fruits) at
separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the
stomach and are held up if eaten with foods which
require digestion in the stomach.

8. Eat melons alone. Melons combine with almost no
other food.

9. Forget the desserts. Eaten on top of meals they
lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion
there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into
alcohols, acetic acids and vinegars.


Food combining: chew all food close to liquid consistency

One principal of food combining which I find hard to argue with is the idea of chewing all foods close to a liquid before swallowing, to help digestion.

In the 14th edition of Howell's Textbook of Physiology (p.777) is
some very interesting research:

Abbe Spallanzani (1729 - 1799), one of the oldest observers on gastric
digestion, found that grapes and cherries, when swallowed whole, even if
entirely ripe, were usually passed unbroken in the stools. "As proof that
the triturating power (ability to reduce to a powder by rubbing or friction) of the stomach is not very great, he swallowed some wooden tubes made
very thin, so that the slightest pressure would crush them, and they were
voided uninjured."

This shows the tremendous importance of thorough mastication of all
foods. We can assimilate only those foods which are the most liquified.

Food combining: try it for yourself

Food combining is a controversial practice. Many people swear by it, while others find it ineffective and frustrating. There is no detriment to the food combining diet - if it works for you, use it.

Food combining is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion. One way to find out what is right for yourself is to experiment. Try it and see how you feel. Listen to your body. What works for one person may not work for another person.




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Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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