Food Combining

The best way to see if food combining works for you is to try it out.


Its not easy – but the immediate benefits are that your body does not use as much energy to digest properly combined meals, so you have more energy for other things – the process of digestion feels lighter - and your bowel movements are smoother.


Food combining (also known as trophology) is a term for a nutritional approach that advocates specific combinations of foods as central to good health and weight loss (such as not mixing carbohydrate-rich foods and protein-rich foods in the same meal).  It is based on the premise that certain combinations of foods may be digested more efficiently than others.  


The Hay Diet is a nutrition method developed by the New York physician William Howard Hay in the 1920s. It claims to work by separating food into three groups: alkaline, acidic, and neutral foods.  Acidic foods are protein rich, such as meat, fish and dairy for example. Alkaline foods are carbohydrate rich, such as rice, grains and potatoes. It  became known as the food combining diet.


Not just any food though – refined, processed or concentrated food – like white bread, white flour and white rice mixed with processed animal protein like beef mince.

Your stomach is just not capable of digesting more than one of these concentrated foods at any one time


So, tucking into a steak (animal protein) and chips (carbohydrate) is out – but is ok if you replace the chips with a mouth-watering salad or lightly cooked vegetables.

Similarly, a nice hot beef vindaloo curry and white rice is out – but is ok if you replace the rice with a cooling salad and lightly cooked vegetables or have a brown rice with it.


Food combining is not easy, because most of the standard range of meals you have probably consumed since you were a child, were almost always what your Mum had provided for you in the same way that she was provided for by her Mum and these meals were almost always mixed.  This has been the same for generations so it is not easy changing to a properly combined food regime as, apart from anything else, most of your friends and family eat mixed food at almost every meal.

Fish and chips – the nation’s favourite takeaway, has now been replaced by curry and rice – this mix of food – the “meat and 3 veg” approach – is institutionalised in our culture.


The following hints may prove helpful.


If you goiing to eat rotein-rich food such as meat and fish, then eat them with leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach and not with sugar or starch filled food such as breads, pasta, and crackers


Starches and grains should be eaten with green salads and vegetables and not with protein rich foods and fruit


Melons should not be eaten with any other foods. Always eat melon by itself


Vegetables (all types)  can be eaten with protein and starches/grains and not with melons


Always try to eat fruits on an empty stomach, or before a meal,. Do not combine with other foods and do not eat fruit after a big, improperly combined meal - it will sit in yur stomach for hours and ferment.



See Food Combining chart for more detail.


Any plan based on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains is bound to be good for your health and people interested in food combining diets are usually interested in whole foods. Because most food combining diets focus on eating only fruit until noon, this already reduces calories, followed by meals based around salads and leafy greens paired with healthy protein. That's a good recipe for weight loss, whether the combination creates the stage for shedding pounds or simply good food choices.


There are other benefits of this nutritional approach. The full digestion of nutrients enabled by "food combining" is supposed to aid in prevention of certain chronic metabolic diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome – so if you do suffer from regular stomach upsets – then food combining could be just for you.

Food combining chart INHS