Food Combining

You might be eating all the right foods but are you eating them in the right order? That’s right, just when you think that you have a superb nutritional plan, scientists and dieticians think that maybe how we combine our foods is just as important. 

Food combining, also known as trophology, is all about how you approach your eating. Once you ensure you are eating the right foods, trophology ensures that you are eating them correctly. Now just to warn you, some of the rules are a little difficult to come to terms with at first, but we’ll come on to them a little bit later.

First and foremost our bodies are naturally healthy. It is poor habits and neglect that causes unhealthiness in people. And when it comes to being healthy, food is your number one friend! It won’t cure any disease and it won’t heal any injury, but it determines your entire health profile.

The combinations of the foods you eat plays a huge part in your digestion. In fact the whole idea of food combining generally aims to benefit our digestive systems more than any other part of our bodies. I’m not a scientist but here is the general idea. Basically, food is digested in one of two ways: mechanically or chemically (mechanically being chewing). When our food is broken down it goes one of two ways. It is either absorbed or excreted. But different foods digest in different ways – so combine the right foods together and in theory you can ease digestion.

So for example, protein is chemically broken down in our stomachs but carbohydrates begin to get broken down as soon as you start chewing. It is basically all down to enzymes – chemicals that help break down the food. Amylase, the enzyme that breaks down starches, is present in saliva in the mouth, whereas pepsin, the enzymes used to break down pepsin, is found in our stomachs.

This means that if carbs and proteins are eaten at the same time, the acid in your stomach, that breaks down meat for example, and the alkaline setting that is present for starches, neutralise. As a result digestion can be poor and this can lead to all sorts of problems, including wind, heartburn and stomach problems. Therefore a food combining approach discourages eating starches and proteins at the same time.

This is the part I warned you about earlier. You can kiss goodbye to spaghetti bolognese, beef burgers in a bun and roast potatoes with your Sunday roast! Here are a few more tips for high quality food combinations:

  • Leave 2 hours after starchy foods before you eat proteins
  • Avoid eating fruit after a main meal (fruits digest quickly and can just sit on top of a main meal if eaten immediately after)
  • Avoid eating cereals with fruits
  • Try to limit sugar in coffee (both are stimulants and can lead to long term weight gain)

Some people have even claimed that such combos can promote weight loss. But evidence for this is limited. There are plenty of food combining hints/tips out there, so if it is something you have considered go and take a look.

Personally? Well I’m not sure I could sacrifice roast potatoes, or steak and chips for that matter! If you want to try something new though or if you suffer with digestion-related problems then by all means, give it a shot.

Ollie Lawrence
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