Food Combining: Does It Matter What You Eat With What?

There are many food combining myths. Some food combining diets encourage people to eat foods that somehow enhance the body’s ability to digest them. There is no scientific evidence that increased absorption of any particular nutrient is enhanced by food combining techniques.

The only food that is improved by combining different sources is related to the essential amino acids. Some foods do not provide complete amino acids. These include: grains, nuts, corn, beans, seeds and peas. These sources must be combined to allow for all of the amino acids to be present at the time of digestion.

Simple food combinations are, legumes with seeds, dairy with seeds, grains with dairy, nuts and legumes, cheese and rice, just to point out a few. These food combinations allow for improved absorption and manufacturing of proteins.

Some experts will indicate that food combinations make no difference on digestion. A logical look at digestion indicates that the pH of the stomach is very low when at rest. Once the mouth intakes a starch, it begins to buffer and raise the pH of the stomach. Protein foods require a low pH to allow for proper digestion.

This is in direct contrast to the American restaurant, which provides bread and salad topped with oil at the beginning of the meal as well as some type of beverage. All of these choices act to increase the pH of the stomach and can hinder digestion of proteins specifically.

If you are eating foods that have a low pH, such as citrus fruits, they are best to eat at the beginning of the meal, since once you eat a starch/oil/vegetable, the buffering action begins.

The rest of the meal should include raw vegetable sources and the fresher the better. Using raw foods allows for trace minerals and also other inherent trace enzymes to allow for improved digestion and absorption.

The majority of food combining diets also does not consider the allergic response. My father is a perfect example since he cannot mix coffee and chocolate, tea and chocolate or red meat and pasta. Any combination of these typically results in my dad having a massive headache that renders him into bed for several days.

Some food combination claims will tell you not to eat carbohydrate foods with acidic foods. This would procure the fact that you never even eat an orange. If your stomach becomes upset after eating this food or any other food, chances are you should avoid it.

Another food combination myth is about concentrated proteins and concentrated carbohydrates in the same meal. Again there is no foundation for this based upon the majority of the world can readily eat both of these without any digestive dysfunction. Eating the proteins first, simply enhances the use of the low pH and provides a more complete digestion.

For a long time the food myths about not consuming more than two concentrated proteins at the same meal was being circulated. Once any combination of proteins sources hits your stomach with a pH level of 2, the results are digestion and it is quick.

Eating fat with proteins may have some merit, since high fat content with certain concentrated fats such as butter, cooking oil and some forms of cheeses, can result in the overactive gallbladder, which produces bile, they can affect some of the proteins that are being absorbed in the small intestines.

The truth of the matter is that food combining has a lot more hype to it than scientific proof. Adverse food combinations are based upon allergic reactions and other specific digestive diseases.

Individuals with diverticulosis or Crohn’s disease have to be aware that any starch or fat is going to alter their digestive ability of the majority of proteins and vegetables. The use of probiotics can often help assist and allow for proper digestion.

Diets become individualized and starting off with a common thought of eating one handful of proteins and one handful of fruits and vegetables will enhance your ability to absorb nutrients appropriately. Overeating, results in improper protein absorption an increase of fat manufacturing.

Eating small multiple meals in a day allows for better absorption and a more complete digestion. The small meal also helps to prevent excessive enzyme build up, more stable insulin production and a reduced conversion of various nutrient sources to fats.

About the Author
DrDavidRyanDr. David Ryan has an extensive background in both coaching and playing professional sports, and has been the team physician for several highly ranked teams. Dr. Ryan now serves as the current Co-Chairman of the Arnold Sports Festival ( and is a former Medical Director of this internationally acclaimed event.

Dr. Ryans numerous articles have been published in International Medical Journals, Muscle & Fitness Magazine as well as on the popular website. Visit Dr. Ryans home page on here: and his YouTube page here.