Food combining guidelines are nothing new.  Ever since the 1970s, when a publication named “Fit for Life” recommended that certain foods should never be eaten together, people have been trying food combining with varying degrees of success.  The most popular guidelines include:

  • Eat fruit first or alone.
  • Starches should not be eaten with protein (i.e., NO  potatoes with your chicken breast).

You’re probably saying to yourself, “I can do that. It’s reasonable”. In fact, you may find that eating this way relieves some of your post-meal heartburn, bloating and gas. I am not going to tell you that it doesn’t work. Instead, I’d like to share some of my concerns about food combining.

  • Concern #1:  Lack of satiety (satisfaction and fullness). Protein and fat digestion begins in the stomach. This adds to a feeling of satisfaction. This is why you can eat 3 plates of pasta and tomato sauce, but only one serving of pasta, meat and sauce.  When eaten alone, carbohydrates go straight through the stomach and into the intestine for their digestion, so they cannot provide a feeling of fullness. Thankfully, most sandwiches contain a protein, which is why they can be so satisfying—even if they do break the rules of food combining.
  • Concern #2: Blood sugar imbalances. Eating fruit by itself, chances are high that the fruit sugars will lead to a relatively rapid increase in blood sugar. This is a problem for anyone at risk of dysglycemia, or blood sugar imbalance (hypoglycemia, as well as hyperglycemia/diabetes). Similarly, eating chicken with  green vegetables will not provide the energy boost that only carbohydrates can provide.
  • Concern #3:  Food combining masks the true causes of poor digestion:  overeating, stress and nutritional insufficiencies.  The larger the meal eaten, the higher likelihood of gas, bloating and heartburn because adequate secretions required to digest a meal cannot be supplied.

To re-iterate, it’s not that food combining doesn’t work. Rather, I feel that it can hide or even cause health imbalances that will eventually need attention of a more aggressive kind.

Do YOU suffer from blood sugar imbalances, indigestion, and/or constantly feel hungry? You could benefit from my Digestive Rejuvenation Program Have you tried food combining? If so, how did you feel?


By Andrea

4 thoughts on “Three Limitations of Food Combining”
  1. Thanks Andrea. I agree, food combining seems to provide some anecdotal benefits to some individuals, however from a physiological point of view I have a hard time understanding the benefits as a blanket recommendation.

  2. Thanks for the good tips. What is your opinion on drinking fluids with meals. I’ve heard that drinking immediately before, during, or after meals can adversely impact digestion. Is this true? Thanks.

    1. Hi Jason, as a general guideline fluid consumption with meals is best limited to 1 cup. However, if the beverage itself contributes acid (such as fresh lemonade, orange or tomato juice) or it stimulates stomach acid (such as tea, coffee and wine) then there is no need for concern. These beverages can actually improve our digestion since acid is vital to the digestion of proteins.

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