– Hi, I’m Tracy Lockwood Beckerman.
I’m a registered dietitian
in New York City.
And it’s my job to help you
figure out what to eat and why.
Today we’re talking about a buzzy
and controversial topic in the
food world, food combining.
If you’ve never heard of it,
you probably have some questions,
like, what exactly are we combining?
Today I’m explaining the
food trend and my take on it.
So, strap in and get ready
for some hashtag opinions.
Food combining is a method of eating
supported by the idea that certain foods
pair well together to
promote better digestion,
which is offset negative health issues.
Those who food combine believe
that slow digesting and
fast digesting foods
or foods with drastically
different PH levels
should be consumed separately.
They believe that mixing
these groups of foods
will result in GI distress.
Therefore, those who
practice food combining
only eat certain combos of food at a time.
Because food combining
comes from varied sources
there are a ton of
different rules outlined,
and much of the
information is conflicting.
Regardless, here are
the most common rules.
One, fruit must be eaten
on an empty stomach.
Two, don’t combine starchy
foods with protein.
Eat starches alone or with
cooked, non-starchy veggies.
Three, dairy products
must also be consumed
on an empty stomach, especially milk.
Four, don’t combine protein and fat.
Five, different types of protein
shouldn’t be combined
and should be eaten alone
or with cooked non-starchy veggies.
Six, you cannot consume processed foods
and foods that include added sugar.
Remember, these are just some of the rules
that are held across the board.
Let’s dive into the pros
and cons of the diet
and debunk some myths
about food combining.
While I usually start with
the pros, in this episode,
I think it’s important to take a look
at the lack of science
behind food combining.
Although it’s been around for awhile,
there’s no scientific evidence
to support this way of eating.
And to date, there’s only been one study
that has examined the
principals of food combining,
and only in its relation to weight loss.
Spoiler alert, it didn’t
make a difference.
Here are some other reasons why
food combining really just doesn’t add up.
Eating carbohydrates on their own
will cause them to digest and absorb
into the bloodstream much faster
than if they are paired
with proteins or fats.
Digestion is a complicated process.
And really, our bodies are designed
to process different macronutrients,
carbs, proteins and fats
all in the same meal.
Nutrients are better absorbed
when combined with fat soluble vitamins.
That’s why you pair avocado and toast.
And besides that, we
only have one stomach,
one small intestine,
and one large intestine,
which means all the foods we eat ends up
hanging out together anyway,
regardless of timing.
Like, everything but the
bagel seasoning, yum.
Things just work better
together than apart.
Food combining promotes
restrictive eating patterns,
which can lead to food binging,
yo-yo dieting, and negative body image.
There are very stringent
rules for food combining,
which may make it difficult
to follow the plan,
both for your sanity and for satiety.
Let’s talk about this whole acidity thing.
The PH scales measures how acidic
or how alkaline basic a solution is,
ranging from zero to 14.
And your body has several ways
of keeping the PH in check.
Basically, when eating a very
acidic or very alkaline meal,
your body has the ability to add more
or less digestive juices in order
to achieve the necessary PH to do its job.
This, my friend, is called homeostasis,
and your body is really good
at keeping things balanced.
We want a somewhat acidic stomach
to eliminate viruses
and bacteria in the gut,
and to help protect the
body from infection.
Therefore, there is no evidence to suggest
that eating specifically acidic, neutral,
or alkaline foods can impact
our digestive tract’s PH.
Our bodies will always find
a way to outsmart the food
and regulate its own PH.
The most common claim of food combining is
that food ferments or
putrefies in the stomach.
The belief is that if fast digesting foods
are eating with slow digesting foods,
the fast digesting foods stay
in the stomach for so long
that it begins to ferment or rot.
Not only does the PH from your stomach
have the ability to kill
any lingering bacteria,
but the intestines contract
to move the food along,
if you know what I mean.
So it doesn’t sit in
your gut for eternity.
Your gut doesn’t want food
taking up space either.
It wants to make more
room for more nutrients.
That’s how digestion works, my friend.
What’s worth bringing up
is that food combining
may result in more
appropriate portion sizes.
As someone following the
diet may be more inclined
to pay attention to what they’re eating,
which can prevent bloat from overeating.
If practiced in a nonrestrictive way,
food combining can promote mindfulness.
The diet isn’t necessarily
about restricting food itself,
because nothing is really
taken off the menu.
When practicing mindfulness,
people can experience
improved digestive symptoms
because they are eating more slowly
and until the body reaches satiety.
The diet promotes the consumption
of whole, real and fresh foods,
and no packaged foods are allowed.
Subconsciously, you will be incorporating
more fruits and vegetables into your diet,
which I can 100% stand behind.
The rules of food combining claim
that body is not equipped
to digest mixed meals.
But the human body has actually evolved,
thrived and survived on
a diet of whole foods,
which include the combos
of carbs, protein and fats.
Your body is built to multitask.
It’s worth mentioning that
those with health concerns,
like diabetes or even those
with poor blood sugar control
should ask a registered dietitian
or medical professional before
following this style of eating.
Other than that, I would not
recommend food combining,
due to its lack of
science, unrealistic rules,
and overall confusing messaging.
We’ll see you next time for another
episode of You Versus Food.
Although I don’t stand
behind food combining, duh,
a combination I can get behind is
you subscribing to Well
and Good’s YouTube channel.
What a great combo.