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I would like a supportive answer to this when someone is eating a combining meal. When consuming protein, should protein be eaten first or last in a combining meal. I would say last due to a long digesting time for protein and the production of HCL acid that would denature enzymes used for carbohydrate breakdown. Or first, to allow protein to be digested in the lower portion of the stomach with carbohydrates residing in the upper part of the stomach somewhat safe from HCL acid but, with a shorter digesting time. I am concerned about the proper eating order that some people should use. I also understand about mono eating, time in between parts of the meal and the proper food types for that person. Thank You Curtis
The principle of food combining is a traditional naturopathic tool used to relieve stress on the digestive system, and thereby the rest of the body. Modern approaches to choosing combinations of food are based on the 'Hay Diet', a system of eating according to Dr. Howard Hay (1866-1940), who integrated the knowledge of contemporary nutritionists such as Lindlahr, Shelton, Kellogg and Arbuthnot Lane.
The concept is based on the idea that different types of food require different digestive processes, for example protein foods require an acid environment for digestion, such as that found in the stomach. Carbohydrates (starch, sugar) require the alkaline conditions found in the small intestine. The system recommends eating foods with different digestive requirements at separate meals. Thus protein and carbohydrates should not be eaten together; carbohydrates should not be eaten with acid fruit, as the fruit acids may impair creation of the alkaline environment required for carbohydrate digestion; vegetables may be eaten with both proteins and carbohydrates.
The food-combining concept was based on the book 'The Operation of the Digestive Organs' published in 1902 by Pavlov, the Russian nutritional anatomist, who first described the physiology of the human digestive system in scientific detail.
Dr. Hay also advocated a balance between acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods. This is based on the effect of the food on the pH (acid-alkaline balance) of body tissues after digestion and metabolism, rather than the type of environment required in the stomach or intestines for digestion. The effect on pH is due to the type of mineral content of the food.
Acid-forming foods contain mainly non-metallic mineral elements such as sulphur, phosphorous and chlorine, as follows:
Proteins: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, seeds, nuts Starches: most cereals, grains, potatoes Fruit: cranberries, plums, prunes
Alkaline-forming foods contain mainly metallic mineral elements such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium, as follows:
Most fruits, vegetables, millet, wine, some types of soya, molasses
Neutral foods have no effect on the pH of the tissues:
Fats, oils, sugar, tea
There is some dispute about the acid/alkaline-forming properties of certain foods such as tofu, coffee and milk, but these foods are also subject to various different processing methods.
In general it is suggested that the diet is composed of 80% alkaline-forming and 20% acid-forming foods, in proper combination relative to protein or carbohydrate content. Some authorities suggest that certain individuals do not tolerate a diet that is too alkaline-forming, such as Dr. W.D. Kelly, who suggested that some people may require a diet that is 60-70% acid-forming at some time.
Dr. Henry Lindlahr (1862-1924), a pioneer of natural therapeutics, suggested that eating according to his rules of natural dietetics would give a proportion of components that are similar to the chemical composition of blood or milk (mothers' milk being a natural food that sustains infants). This is obviously different to the dietary habits of most people in the modern Western world. Orthodox dietary recommendation is based on the concept that each meal should ideally be a combination of the major food groups: protein, carbohydrate and fat, with a few fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure, based on calorific value rather than effect on pH of the body. Conventional diets have an acid-/alkaline-forming ratio of about 55:45.
Although the food combining system was recommended as a way of eating on a permanent basis, it is often used therapeutically to relieve stress on an overloaded digestive system.
Dr. Herbert Shelton (1888-1987) further researched the effect of food combinations in the 1940's, and some regard him as the true pioneer of food combining. Modern research on food combining has resulted in several changes to the Hay system. Jan Dries suggests five basic categories of nutrients that can be contained in food: protein; fat; sugar; starch and acid. He suggests that the greater the protein:starch ratio of a particular food the better its' digestibility. Cooking has a significant effect on the protein:starch ratio of some foods.
Using modern research, and with a more recent understanding of the physiology of digestion, Dries amended the basic food combining principles to the following (abbreviated) ideal combinations:
Acids: can be combined with fats or sugars Starch: can be combined with fats Sugars: can be combined with sugars only Fats: can be combined with starch or acids Protein: should not be combined Vegetables: combine with all except sugars
As a general rule, the simpler the meal the easier it may be to digest.
Bearing in mind that certain foods should not be combined, it is important to understand the way in which the stomach digests food. Filling itself from the wall towards the centre, what is eaten first on an empty stomach clings to the stomach lining; the next food to enter the stomach sits on top of that; and what is eaten last falls into the centre of the stomach, surrounded by the food eaten previously. Gastric digestive secretions mix with the food against the stomach wall, which is then passed down into the small intestine.
Biologists suggest that a typical stomach will not become distended by a meal with a volume of a quarter of a litre (half a pint), but a stomach can stretch to contain up to 1.5 litres. Eating this amount of food in one meal increases the risk of fermentation in the centre of the stomach, as it is not being digested until it reaches the stomach wall. Atypical stomach shapes exist, mainly as a result of overeating, and may have different digestive capabilities.
Fruit should not therefore be eaten at the end of a meal, as the sugar in the fruit is more likely to ferment while it sits in the centre of the stomach waiting for the other parts of the meal to pass through into the intestines. If eaten on an empty stomach, fruit on its own passes through relatively quickly.
Dries suggests that eating food rich in water reduces its volume on reaching the stomach, as water follows gravity, sinking to the bottom, and leaves the stomach faster. Consequently he suggests that drinking during meals has little or no effect on digestion, and does not dilute gastric secretions, as more is secreted. Liquid should not be drunk when starchy foods such as bread are still in the mouth, as these require predigestion by saliva.
The principles of food combining are, like most other dietary approaches, attempting to cater for everyone at once. When the blood type system is added to food combining principles, account can be taken of of individual differences in digestive capabilities: having blood groups A and AB generally results in lower levels of stomach acid than O and B, due to the phenomenon of genetic linkage. This means that people of blood groups A or AB will get greater benefit from food combining, and certain foods that are more easily assimilated by the different types of digestive system can be eaten in preference to foods that may contain lectins incompatible with the blood group antigens secreted by that individual. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase, which varies significantly between blood groups, affects the capacity to digest oils and fats, may be inactivated by the antigen of blood group A, and also varies according to secretor status.
To summarise the principles of food combining, notice should be taken of both food combinations and acid-alkaline balance when choosing meals. Other factors that can affect digestion include the following: eating too much at once; eating too fast; eating while nervous, tense or stressed; eating when not hungry. The shape and condition of the stomach and intestines may also affect digestion. Blood group and secretor status can have a significant effect on the ability to digest and metabolise food.
For a simple experiment to test the principles of food combining, just give your dog meat and biscuits at the same meal and see what happens...
D'Adamo, P. 'Live Right 4 Your Type', Penguin, 2001 Dries, J. 'The New Book of Food Combining', Element, 1995 Lindlahr H. 'Natural Therapeutics Vol. I: Philosophy', C W Daniel, 1975 Lindlahr H. 'Natural Therapeutics Vol. III: Dietetics', C W Daniel, 1983
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