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Avoid Eating These Foods At The Same Time For Optimal Digestion

Avoid Eating These Foods At The Same Time For Optimal Digestion

If you want to banish belly bloating, constipation and other digestive imbalances, learn these three basic rules of food combining.

Cholesterol. Keto. The “Health At Every Size” movement. Vegan diets. Intermittent fasting…

There’s no shortage of controversial topics in the field of nutrition.

Let’s add one more to the list that we’ll explore in this article: food combining.

In a nutshell, the main philosophy of food combining is that certain types of foods when eaten together are easier to digest. On the flip side, eating certain foods at the same time is hard for the body to digest.

Arguably, the digestive system works harder than any other system in the body. So it would make sense, then, to eat the best combination of food types to enhance digestion.

Why is this eating philosophy controversial if in theory it makes practical sense? Well, the reason why the tenets of food combining aren’t etched in clay tablets is because there’s a dearth of research that supports it. There are virtually no modern research studies that have been conducted that prove that food combining is valid.

But we also have to consider that there’s no profit to be made from the study of food combining. Therefore, what company would pour many thousands of dollars into researching the subject?

Furthermore, just because science doesn’t support food combining, we shouldn’t discount ancient wisdom and traditions.

Food Combining Mistake #1: Mixing Meat and Dairy

For example, kosher laws written over 3,000 years ago forbid observant Jews from combining meat and dairy in the same meal. From a digestion standpoint, is there any merit to this kosher law? Well, ask yourself how well you feel after eating a bacon cheeseburger.

Did the burger get digested in an appropriate amount of time—in the Goldilocks zone: not too fast and not too slow—or does it sit in your belly like a rock for several hours? How is your elimination after eating a serving of meatloaf and washing it down with a glass of milk: sluggish?

Research studies show that diets high in red meat are associated with heart disease and colon cancer. And eating lots of dairy may also come with health risks. Research suggests high-dairy consumption is tied to prostate and ovarian cancer.

Considering these observations, eating meat and dairy together is a recipe for chronic disease. Maybe there is wisdom in the kosher law of not mixing meat and dairy.

Food Combining Mistake #2: Don’t Eat Meat & Starch Together

First no cheeseburger and now no steak and potatoes? What if you feel great after eating a meal with animal protein and, say, rice? Chicken and rice is a simple meal enjoyed by billions of people every day.

The food combining rule to avoid protein and starch isn’t mentioned in the Torah; it’s not a kosher law. But somewhere along the way, the rule to not mix the two together has become a staple of the food combining school of nutrition.

Again, whether this rule has any validity scientifically is moot. The truth is that if you are a healthy person you should have the digestive enzymes necessary to break down anything that you put down your gullet.

Eating a potato? Amylase will break it down. Eating animal products at the same meal? Pepsin breaks down the protein while lipase breaks down fat. And if you have a side of broccoli and black beans, alpha-galactosidase and cellulose will break them down into smaller components.

However, the problem is that many people don’t have optimal digestion. And people who don’t have very good digestion likely have insufficient enzyme activity. So eating a big serving of protein at the same time as a very starchy carbohydrate like mashed potatoes may very well lead to bloating.

Perhaps the problem then isn’t so much the combination of foods but insufficient natural digestive enzymes. People with poor digestion should, then, consider taking supplemental digestive enzymes.

For blood sugar management, you should minimize eating very starchy carbs in the first place.

Still, if you want to improve your digestion, you may want to follow this food combining rule.

Food Combining Mistake #3: Don’t Eat Fruit After A Meal

Once again, this rule of food mixing has no basis in scientific reality. For some people, however, eating fruit after a meal may indeed cause gas. But is it because of the amount or type of fruit eaten with a meal? Or will eating even a handful of post-prandial blueberries lead to indigestion?

The answer depends on the individual. If you notice that you have no problems with your digestion or elimination after eating fruit after a meal, then by all means continue to do so.

But eating fruit on its own or with a handful of nuts and seeds as a snack rather than after a meal may be better for digestion for other people.

If your digestion is compromised, try eating fruit on an empty stomach. Maybe there is some truth to this food combining golden rule.


There are other food mixing no-no’s that you may read about online. Because there is a lack of scientific evidence about food combining, the best strategy is to go with your gut. Pay attention to how you feel after a meal.

If your digestion is off, reflect on what you most recently ate. If you ate pasta and bread at the same time and you feel lousy later, maybe the food combining rule of not mixing starches together is valid. And if you do suffer from high-carb comas, try eating these things instead.

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