Food combining is a diet strategy that many people use to enhance their overall health and fitness. It involves pairing different types of foods together in meals and snacks, while avoiding certain foods simultaneously. This way of eating is claimed to decrease toxins in the body, reduce food cravings, promote weight loss, and improve energy levels. The purported reason behind it is that when the “wrong” types of foods are consumed together, it wreaks havoc on the digestive system, interrupting its ability to release the correct enzymes that are necessary for proper digestion.
Despite all of the claims behind food combining, the big question is: does it really work? Unfortunately, this type of eating plan has never been scientifically proven to provide health benefits. Most of the claims behind it are anecdotal, which means it may work case by case but should not be recommended as an absolute solution.
If you’re interested in trying food combining, here are some common recommendations that proponents of the diet often provide:
The following food “categories” should be consumed separate from one another: fresh fruit; starches; animal protein; nuts, seeds & dried fruit.
Starches should not be consumed along with acidic foods.
Cooked or raw non-starchy vegetables can be consumed along with any type of meal.
Fresh fruit is best eaten alone on an empty stomach, since it is digested more quickly.
Different types of protein should not be combined.
Dairy products should be consumed on an empty stomach.
The bottom line is that if food combining works for you, that’s great! Continue following whichever eating pattern makes you feel your best. However, it’s important to remember the philosophies of food combining are not evidence-based. Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient dense foods is your best bet if you’re trying to improve your health and fitness.
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