Food Combination: How to Combine the Right Way for Weight Loss & Health

Various foods digest at different rates in the body.

By Roni Deluz ND, RN, Ph.D.

Why and How Food Combining Works

Various foods digest at different rates in the body. Therefore, it is essential to know what to, and what not to, combine when eating. Food combining involves eating or not eating certain foods together in the same sitting to achieve optimal digestion.

These fundamental food combining principles involve avoiding any attempt to combine starches and protein in the same meal, as well as to always eat fruit alone. Proteins need an acidic environment to be broken down, while carbohydrates require an alkaline environment. Eating fruit on an empty stomach allows efficient digestion because it is digested very fast. For example, pastries and cookies may be tempting, but they stress your digestive system. When sugar and starches are combined in the mouth, the alkaline enzyme needed to digest starches, ptyalin, is stopped and starches remain undigested. Sugar ferments in the digestive tract and creates an acidic environment that further inhibits the digestion of starches.

Another problem with digestion is that pasteurization destroys the natural enzymes in foods like milk that make it digestible. Did you know milk curdles when it reaches the stomach and coagulates with other foods? It prevents other foods from being digested. If you must drink milk, drink raw milk or almond milk.

Why do you have gas?

Some nutritionists have argued that people should not combine protein (meat, eggs, poultry, fish, cheese, etc.) and starches (bread, oats, rice, pasta, corn, potato, etc.) at the same meal. Because different enzymes in the body digest protein and carbohydrates, if eaten together it will cause digestive issues. To further explain, it will leave you with partially digested food that just sits there in your system while the other foods are being digested. During this waiting period, the partially digested food will rot or ferment, leading to constipation, bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

Can I eat a fruit & veggie salad?

Another fundamental food combining principle is not consuming fruit and vegetables at the same meal. The reason for this is that fruits and vegetables have diverse biochemical structures and therefore, breakdown to varying stages of digestion. The fruit will digest and metabolize fast, leaving the vegetables in the stomach longer to ferment. I always say to my clients “Fruit alone or leave it alone.” Try eating your fruits two hours before, or after, any other food items.

Berry antioxidant cocktail

Start your day with a high antioxidant organic bowl of berries.
½ c. Blueberries
¼ c. Blackberries
¼ c. Raspberries
¼ c. Goji Berries
¼ c Strawberries

Put the blueberries to the side and add all the other berries to one bowl. Let the berries soak in water with your favorite Stevia (I like coconut Stevia flavor) for 30 minutes. Remove or drain the berries. Take the sweeten water and put it in the blender with the blueberries. Blend to liquefy the blueberries. Pour the blueberries over the rest of your other berries and Enjoy!

The benefits of food combining

The benefits include weight loss, proper digestion, improved energy, reduced acne and skin blemishes, better absorption of nutrients, and enhanced detoxification. You will feel lighter and happier when food combining correctly.

Eating foods that combine efficiently will assist digestion. This means that your digestive tract doesn’t have to work as hard to absorb the nutrients your body needs for energy. It will also alleviate any symptoms associated with poor digestion such as constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, and fatigue.

It is important to note that our bodies do not have all the needed enzymes to break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats effectively so food combining helps prevent toxic build up.

Keep it simple and follow these 5 rules

1. Eat protein with vegetables only (the greener the better!)
2. Eat starches (rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, and flours) with vegetables only
3. Fruits should be eaten alone, two hours before or after meals
4. Do not mix starches and sugars
5. Avoid milk, or drink it by itself

It may not always be possible for you to follow these rules to the letter, but if you try to follow these guidelines when you are planning your meals, your digestion will improve. Just following a few of these rules with healthy food choices will make you feel lighter and more energetic. The improvement in your metabolism will help to keep your weight down and flatten your stomach for swimwear weather!

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One Comment

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  1. Very helpful article. As someone who was diagnosed with MS about 3 years ago I have been trying to make changes, little by little, into my daily routine which includes changing my eating habits and the food that I buy. But some of those changes are expensive and I can only afford what fits my income.
    So, if I cannot afford to buy all organic foods I get what I can and shop for smarter choices like non GMO products, skinless chicken, less soda (only get ginger ale) more water, ice tea, juices, whole grain bread, make stir fry meals and lessen salt intake. But this article certainly helps add to what I am already doing. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more informative newsletters.

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