Should I follow a food combining diet?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There's no reason to follow a food combining diet to lose weight. In fact, there are good reasons not to. Food combining diets advise that you eat only certain foods together. For example, you may be told to eat protein-rich foods at one meal and carbohydrate-rich foods at another, but not to combine them. Or you may be instructed to eat only one kind of food for a period of days, another for a different phase. Bottom line: There is no scientific evidence that a food combining diet is effective for weight loss. By its very nature, it moves you toward an unbalanced diet.
Alberta Scruggs
Nutrition & Dietetics
This topic was the discussion of a healthy eating support group recently. This was my response:

The body was made intricately, with a well-designed organ called the "gastrointestinal tract." We call it the "GI" tract. It begins in the mouth (eating) and ends at the anus (getting rid of waste and toxins). Specific areas do specific things during digestion (breaking down food for its nutrients) and absorption (pulling all nutrients from the GI tract to be used by the body) all substances. Man cannot explain why, because man did not create the human body. 

Food was made to nourish the body, not debilitate it. The rules of "food combining" does not match up with what the title suggests. Instead, the rules separate  particular food groups, suggesting an inability for the digestive tract to do its job. 

If you analyze the content of certain foods, you'll see most food groups naturally have more than one macronutrient (carbohydrate, fat and protein), and most foods have a degree of acidity. 

For instance, whole grains contain carbohydrate, protein and fat. Meats contain protein and fat. Dairy food items contain carbohydrate, protein and fat (no fat in skim milk because it has been removed). Fruit has a small amount of protein but consists mainly of carbohydrate. Vegetables contain carbohydrate and protein. Fats contain mostly fat. 

Secondly, there is more than one type of acid. For example, citric acid is found in oranges and strawberries. Phosphoric acid is found in Coca Cola. Oxalic acid is found in dark leafy vegetables and berries. Carbonic acid is found in soft drinks. Lactic acid is found in milk. Acetic acid is found in vinegar. And, so on and so on. 

So-o-o-o! If you're going to follow the food combining rules, you'll limit your intake of foods at each meal setting, which possibly could limit your intake of kcalories. A decreased intake of kcalories may result in weight loss. However, "food combining" may place you at increased risk for a nutrient deficiency.   
Dominique Adair
I actually find that most diets that claim they are "food combining" are actually "food separating" and include all sorts of mythical information about the dangers of eating certain foods with others. Your G.I. tract (the big tube responsible for digesting your foods and sending them on their paths to be transported throughout your body) is VERY sophisticated, and it is more than equipped to handle mixed meals. In fact, if you think about the many structures in our bodies: muscle, bone, skin, organs, etc. they are all made up of a complex combination of healthful nutrients that we (hopefully) have in plentiful supply in our diet. So, why do people claim to lose weight on diets that forbid combining certain things with other things? I’d like to suggest (and this sounds sarcastic but it's not!) that it just becomes so darn difficult to eat that you will cut down on your intake, and then voila -- what happens when we cut down on our intake? We lose weight. Not because we have separated our fruit from our starch but because we have simply eaten less.

Enjoy healthy foods in all sorts of combinations. They taste good and they help promote good health and outstanding energy.
Many diets that claim to be food combining actually focus more on food separating, by restricting eating specific foods at certain times and forbidding the mixture of certain foods. The diets claim that our digestive systems can’t handle a mixture of nutrients, and if we mix foods, we store more fat. There is absolutely so science to support this theory. In fact, your digestive system is so sophisticated and specialized, that it not only has a specific enzyme for carbohydrates, for example, but several for specific types of carbohydrates. Your digestive system will not get “confused” when you eat a multi-nutrient meal; it will thank you for delivering nutrient rich foods.

Continue Learning about Special Diets

Your Guide to Intermittent Fasting
Your Guide to Intermittent Fasting
You may opt for one fad diet or another—Paleo, Keto, Alkaline (Tom Brady’s) or Carb Cycling—but none of them take into account an essential truth abou...
Read More
Can the hormone diet harm my metabolism?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
The hormone diet promises to help you lose weight quickly. While many claim it works, it has a poten...
More Answers
Can the acid/alkaline diet be maintained long term?
From a health standpoint, if you are getting all your necessary nutrients from the allowed foods and...
More Answers
How Do I Treat Gas and Bloating If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
How Do I Treat Gas and Bloating If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.