Food Combining Rules   Last updated: August 14, 2003



Food combining is a diet strategy designed to lighten the load on the digestive system by combining specific foods that utilize complimentary digestive efforts in order to break them down. Food combining is really more of a "food separation" theory. It is centered on the position that sugars and starches require a mainly alkaline environment to be digested properly, while proteins require an acid environment. Foods are also separated according to the speed at which they are digested. The theory explains that fruit is digested much more quickly than other foods and is believed to ferment in the intestines if eaten with other foods that take appreciably longer to digest.

Another general rule to follow with food combining is that the smaller the number of courses a meal consists of, the better it will be. Simple meals are generally easier to digest.

It is advisable to eat different foods at different meals - a fruit meal, a starch meal and a protein meal. The ideal practice is a fruit meal for breakfast, a starch meal with salad and nonstarchy vegetables for lunch, and a protein meal with a salad and nonstarchy vegetables for dinner. For people with a strong digestive system, food combining seems to be much less important than for someone with weaker digestion.

Food Combining Chart

Food Groups Proteins Fats Starches Vegetables Sweet Fruits Sub-acid Fruits Acid Fruits
Proteins Good Poor Poor Good Poor Fair Good
Fats Poor Good Fair Good Fair Fair Fair
Starches Poor   Good Good Fair Fair Poor
Vegetables Good Good Good Good Poor Poor Poor
Sweet Fruits Poor   Fair Poor Good Good Poor
Sub-acid Fruits Fair   Fair Poor Good Good Good
Acid Fruits Good   Poor Poor Poor Good Good

Proteins : Nuts, seeds, soybeans, cheese, eggs, poultry meat, fish, yogurt.

Fats : Oils, olive, butter, margarine.

Starches : Whole cereals, peas, beans, lentils.

Vegetables : Leafy green vegetables, sprouted seeds, cabbage cauliflower, broccoli, green peas, celery, tomatoes, onions.

Sweet Fruits : Bananas, fits, custard apples, all-dried fruits, dates.

Sub-acid-fruits : Grapes, pears, apples, peaches, apricots, plums, fruits guavas, raspberries.

Acid fruits : Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, limes, pineapple, strawberries.

What this table is saying can be summed up in this simple list of rules:

  1. Proteins do not combine with starches.
  2. Fruits do not combine with anything.  Eat fruit at a fruit meal.
  3. Eat melons alone or leave them alone.
  4. Acid fruits do not combine with sweet fruits.