Here are the combinations that are best compatible with the human digestive system. Although these combinations are commonly eaten, they are also often followed by the symptoms of indigestion. Familiarize yourself with them, and soon, selecting compatible food combinations will be easily attained.
Acid/ Starch Combination. All acids destroy the starch-splitting enzyme, salivary amylase. This includes the acids contained in fruits and the acetic acid contained in vinegar. Also, the fruits will be detained in the stomach, resulting in fermentation.
Protein / Starch Combination. As stated earlier, salivary amylase is destroyed in the stomach in the presence of a highly acidic medium. Since protein digestion requires such a medium, this combination is unacceptable. Because this combination is commonly eaten, it may be a factor why food combining has not been recognized by conventional nutritionists as it contradicts many of our typical meals.
Protein / Protein Combinations. Each type of protein food requires different timing and different modifications of the digestive secretions. When one protein is combined with another protein, digestion becomes difficult. As protein is the most difficult food nutrient for the body to digest anyway, we would benefit by consuming only one type of protein at a meal. This would not include the eating of two or more types of nuts at a meal, as their composition is relatively similar. Recent data concerning protein needs has shown that it is unnecessary to consume all essential amino acids at each meal.
Acid/ Protein Combination. The renowned physiologist, Pavlov, demonstrated the influence of acids upon digestion. The enzyme, pepsin, necessary for protein digestion, will only be active in the presence of one particular acid, hydrochloric acid. Other acids may actually destroy this enzyme, including fruit acids. Also, when fruits are eaten with proteins, the fruits will be detained in the stomach until completion of protein digestion, resulting in their fermentation. There is an exception to this rule: The proteins such as nuts, seeds, and cheese, do not decompose as rapidly as other proteins, due to their high fat content. This distinction makes it acceptable to eat acid fruits with nuts, seeds, or cheese.
Fat / Protein Combination. As mentioned earlier, fats inhibit the flow of gastric juice, interfering with protein digestion. Dr. Herbert Shelton referred to this in his book, Food Combining Made Easy (first published in 1951) by quoting from McLeed’s Physiology In Modern Medicine: “Fat has been shown to exert a distinct inhibiting influence on the secretion of gastric juice… the presence of oil in the stomach delays the secretion of juice poured out on a subsequent meal of otherwise readily digestible food.” Since our need for fat is very little, and most protein foods already contain fat, any additional fat intake becomes difficult to digest. Avoid combining butter, oils, etc. with protein foods.
(Fruit Eating will be our topic in Part 5 for posting next week – J.P.)