Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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What is food combining?I was asked to talk about my thoughts related to a diet style known as food combining. I have to be honest, I wasn't too familiar with this diet. That being said, I love any opportunity to learn new things, especially when it relates to food, so this was a great opportunity to learn a little more about what I've determined to be yet another fad diet.

The theory behind food combining is that certain food combinations, especially protein and carbohydrate combinations, are hard to digest - resulting in the foods lingering in the stomach and causing them to rot (as I've seen it described in some of my research).

There are a few rules that come along with food combining.

1. Never eat protein and carbohydrates together.
2. Fruits, specifically melon, should be eaten alone, otherwise they will rot in your stomach
3. Don't mix acidic fruits with sweet fruits - which are considered bananas, dates and raisins

You also have to wait a certain amount of hours between meals after you've consumed a particular food group.

I looked a little further to see if there is any scientific evidence to back up this diet. None of the posts I read from other registered dietitians supported this type of diet. A direct quote from the American Dietetic Association regarding food combining: "There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the 'wrong' combinations of food doesn't cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim."

The thing is, your body is built to break down all these foods without any additional intervention or avoidance of certain things on our part. Our GI tract produces various enzymes to help break down meals and snacks and is an expert on making sure foods get broken down adequately to be utilized in various parts of the body.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a well balanced diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy with moderate calorie intake is going to be the best way to lose weight the healthy way. Any diet that has so many specific rules and definitives like "never" and "always" are usually not the best diets to follow. At the same time, you want to see if there's been any sound research done on any diet you're looking into before starting.

Maybe you've found success following a diet like this, but I wouldn't generally recommend it. I would highly recommend speaking with your doctor before ever starting a new diet to be sure there's no adverse health effects you could be facing.

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@ 9:13am ET on May 12, 2014
Food combining was originally created by Dr Hay who was the inventor of the Hay Diet. I believe it was originally used to combat dis-ease and it seams it had great success.

@ 6:47pm ET on November 1, 2014
Thanks for the info

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