LORI NEdescu,




Board certified sports dietitian, pro athlete, freelance nutrition writer, published author, social content developer & personal chef.

Food Combining

Food Combining

& Other Myths

The basics:

This is one of the least confusing (& prettiest) food combing charts I could locate. 

This is one of the least confusing (& prettiest) food combing charts I could locate. 

The principal of the practice is that different types of food require different GI environments and digestive times to properly process. Eating the wrong combo of food types will leave you bloated, fatty, and generally in poor health. 

The biggest rule of food combining is that you should never eat a starchy food with a protein food as they (supposedly) need an alkaline & acidic GI environment respectively to properly and fully digest. If you eat a fruit (all starch!) you should eat it alone and wait 3 hours until consuming anything else.


My Expertise Thoughts on Food Combining:

Good points: 

Anything that makes you more mindful of your eating practices is a good thing. So if food combining makes you meal plan and think about your choices, that will have a positive effect on your overall nutrition. Nixing mixed dishes is good a way to 'clean' up your diet and focus on single ingredient whole foods over heavy plates of overly processed food. More because of reducing excess calories and poorer quality foods is something most of us need to work on. Restricting a food item from your plate can also lessen the overall bulk of your meal making you feel lighter and have less of a 'food baby'. This can lead to easier digestion, but due to there being less to digest at once, not due to the specific make up of macronutrients or how they are combined and timed. Basically, all of these 'good points' are cherry picking from bits of the practice.

Bad points:

First, this practice is not scientifically backed AT ALL.  There is zero proof that suggests this is beneficial for health. Actually, the science points to this being total BS. We know the human body & GI system has evolved to handle a diverse diet. We do not need to spoon feed the gut separated, spaced out ingredients for it to do its job. Carbohydrates begin to breakdown in your mouth while proteins do not begin to digest until they hit the gut. The gut environment also doesn't just switch from being alkaline to acidic, your body maintains a pretty set pH level. So our body already has a system of enzymes in place throughout the body to do its job of breaking down different macronutrients efficiently and effectively.

Secondly, the practice is a bit ridiculous in common sense. Seriously, imagine wanting a piece of fruit and not being able to eat anything else for 3 hours... It does not take three hours to digest a piece of fruit and it isn't good to have that amount of sugar (outside sport needs) all at once with no fat or protein to balance the blood glucose spike. Following this practice's rules takes a huge commitment and likely will add a ton of mental stress over what foods you are allowed and not allowed to eat at any given time. Who needs more stress?  Let's remember that most of our foods are not single ingredient foods; many people rely heavily on mixed dishes. No more mashed potatoes, roast chicken with squash, rice and fish tacos, veggie burgers, etc... No more smoothie bowls with granola, nuts, seeds and collagen or means no tuna sushi roll and definitely say goodbye to your poached eggs on toast or banana and almond butter on toast! 

The principals of Food Combining are not the same as Food Pairing. So let's not confuse them. Food Pairing is the concept of eating certain foods together that compliment each other either to make a complete protein, or to enhance the absorption of nutrients (vitamin C + Iron / turmeric + black pepper) which is a real thing; #notamyth.

Explore Other Myths with these posts. 

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