Food combining refers to a dietary technique that encourages eating foods in certain combinations and avoiding combinations believed to cause health problems, such as gas, bloating and indigestion. While numerous diets promote food combining as a way to manage weight or wellness, no scientific evidence upholds its effectiveness or need, according to natural health expert Andrew Weil, M.D. Before making significant dietary changes or attempting weight loss, seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian.
Protein and Starches
Food combining diets encourage separation of protein-rich foods and starches. According to "The Food Combining/Blood Type Diet," by Dina Khader and Irene Toovey, protein-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs require an acidic digestive environment where the enzyme pepsin is present. Meanwhile, digestion of starches requires alkaline enzymes. If meat, poultry or eggs are consumed with starches, such as bread, pasta, rice or cereal, gas, indigestion and bloating will results, according to Khader and Toovey. For this reason, the authors suggest separation of all protein-based foods and starch-based foods. This guideline tells dieters to avoid conventional meals such as eggs and toast, milk and cereal, pasta with meat, meat with potatoes and combination foods, such as lasagna, pizza and casseroles.
Fruits and Protein
Similar to breads and pasta, fruits require a different digestive environment and digest more quickly than protein-rich foods. For this reason, Khader and Tooley suggest consuming protein-rich foods, including meat, poultry, dairy products and fish separately from fruit, including fresh, frozen and dried fruit, and fruit juices. If you consume eggs and vegetables for breakfast, for example, you should not have fruit or juice. Combination foods, such as yogurt with added fruit, creamy fruit smoothies and fruit-topped cheesecake should also be avoided.
Fruit and Starches
Though not as problematic as protein and fruit combinations, fruit and starch combinations are also to be avoided. Ideally, fruits are consumed alone, first thing in the morning, due to their cleansing capabilities. If you wish to enjoy fruit and starches at the same meal, you can eat fruit, wait 15 minutes, then consume starches, according to Khader and Tooley. Common fuit and starch combination foods such as fruit pies, oatmeal with raisins, cereal with berries or bananas, fruit spread on toast or sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookies should be avoided.
Melons and Other Foods
Melons, such as watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, digest quickly and contain dense amounts of water. For this reason, Ayurvedic dietary specialist Vasant Lad suggests eating melon on its own, or before consuming other foods, such as starches.
Beans with Fruit or Animal-Derived Protein
Some food combining diets suggest separating beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas and others from fruit and protein-rich foods, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. According to Lad, beans can be consumed only with grains such as rice and vegetables.