Food combining originated in Ayurvedic medicine with the belief that eating certain nutrients separately could help improve digestion and health. In addition to the Ayurvedic dietary practices, it's also used as a weight-loss tool, with proponents reporting that eating foods in certain combinations helps your body burn more calories and slim down, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. There's no truth to this claim, and food combining for weight loss may do more harm than good.
About Food Combining
The basis behind the food-combining diet is that the nutrients in food require different environments for digestion, according to dietitian Monica Reinagel from Nutrition Diva. Carbohydrates require an alkaline environment, while proteins need an acidic environment. When carbohydrate and protein foods are eaten together, they do not digest properly, according to the food-combining theory. As Reinagel explains, however, most foods contain a combination of both carbohydrates and protein, such as grains, beans and vegetables.
There's no scientific evidence to support the theory that eating foods in certain combinations helps your body burn more calories to lose weight, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The food-combining diet may also affect your health. The medical center reports that some of these diets may be too low in protein and other nutrients and may cause diarrhea, specifically one food-combining diet that recommends you eat nothing but fruit for the first 10 days. Additionally, because it has so many rules, this fad diet may be difficult to follow, and once you go back to your usual eating habits, you may regain any weight you've lost.
Losing Weight Healthfully
To lose weight healthfully, you need to eat fewer calories than your body requires by including a variety of nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods from all the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat milk or milk alternatives and healthy fats such as olive oil or nuts. These foods not only provide all the health-promoting nutrients your body needs, but they are also filling, which helps you feel more satisfied when reducing your calorie intake for weight loss. Keep portions in check to help control calories, and limit your intake of sweets, highly processed fast food and soda, which are sources of empty calories.
Mixed Meals for Weight Loss
To get everything your body needs, feel satisfied and lose weight, aim to eat three mixed meals a day, says FamilyDoctor.org. Mixed meals include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. For example, a healthy mixed breakfast might include a two-egg veggie omelet with one slice of whole-wheat toast, a cup of nonfat milk or milk alternative and a small banana, or a toasted whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter, carrot sticks and a small orange. At lunch, a bean, grain and veggie salad with an apple and a handful of almonds fits the bill. A healthy dinner might include a shrimp and veggie stir-fry with brown rice and a bowl of strawberries.
- Ayurvedic Institute: Food Combining
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Fad Diets
- Nutrition Diva: Food Combining Myths
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Back to Basics for Healthy Weight Loss
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles: Popular Diets