Food combining is one of the oldest ways to lose weight and it’s still as popular today as it was when it started. However, it is not entirely undisputed. Because the strict separation of protein and carbohydrates requires a great deal of self-control – is it worth it?
What is food combining?
When it comes to food combining, the name says it all. It was founded by physician Howard Hay more than 100 years ago. During a food-combining diet, proteins and carbohydrates are consumed strictly separated from each other. The reason for this is Hay’s assumption that eating mixed foods causes an imbalance in the body’s acid-base ratio. Proteins and carbohydrates cannot be digested by the body at the same time and would then over-acidify it.
The eponymous food separation
There are two rules for a successful food-combining diet. Three-quarters of the daily meals should consist of base-forming foods such as salad, fruit, or vegetables. The last quarter may then consist of acid-forming foods such as fish, meat, or cheese. Specifically, this means for a diet participant: no roast beef with red cabbage and no currywurst with fries. Even appetizers like cheese bites with grapes are forbidden.
How does food combination work?
Proteins and carbohydrates are consumed separately. Fruit and vegetables should make up the majority of the diet. There should be at least three hours between meals. Ideally, you eat carbohydrates in the morning and the evening and a protein-rich meal at lunchtime.
Since so many foods are not easy to remember, there is a table for food combining. It includes the following groups:
- The protein group. The protein group includes boiled, roasted, and cooked meat, fish (and seafood), all dairy products with a fat content of less than 50 percent, milk, yogurt, quark, cheese, cream cheese, soft cheese, soy products, most fruits, nuts, and eggs.
- The carbohydrate group. This group includes bread and cakes of all kinds, wheat flour products, rye, crispbread, brown bread, pumpernickel, pasta, potatoes, rice, sweeteners such as sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and bananas.
- Neutral foods. Vegetables, salads, avocados, blueberries, melons, fats such as oils, dairy products with at least 60 percent fat, peanuts, and mushrooms, but also raw meat such as carpaccio or tartare. Neutral foods can be combined with the other two groups as desired.
Mixed foods such as sausages must not be eaten at all on the food combining diet. If you follow the rules, you can eat as much as you want. There is no indication of quantity. It is important to separate carbohydrates and proteins.
What does the typical food-combining diet plan look like?
As long as you stick to the three groups, the food combining plan does not provide for any special changes. However, you should stick to the requirement of eating carbohydrates in the morning and the evening and protein at lunchtime. So an average daily schedule might look like this:
- White bread with honey and a banana in the morning
- Fish in cheese sauce for lunch (but without potatoes or similar)
- In the evening fried potatoes (fried in olive oil) with salad.
Doesn’t sound bad, does it? By the way, the plan also recommends drinking plenty of water and unsweetened tea.