A common myth in the diet world says that you should never eat certain carbohydrates and proteins together in the same meal. This diet fad is known as "food combining" (Actually, it would be more accurately described as "food separating," referring to the belief that certain combinations of foods, such as meat and potatoes, shouldn't be eaten together). Popularized in the 1980's by Judy Mazel's Beverly Hills Diet, Marilyn and Harvey Diamond's "Fit For Life Diet," and more recently by Don Lemmon's "Know How" diet, this fad still attracts followers to this day.
Arguments for separating proteins and carbohydrates usually go something like this: Protein digests in an acidic medium of pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and hydrochloric acid, while carbohydrates digest in an alkaline medium. Therefore, when protein and carbohydrates are consumed together, they can't be fully assimilated, resulting in poor digestion, incomplete absorption of nutrients and gastrointestinal disturbances. Mazel went as far as to claim that by eating large quantities of fruit alone, the fruit enzymes would prevent the calories from being stored as body fat. It's also been suggested that poor digestion from improper food combinations will weaken you, sap your energy and stress your immune system.
These ideas make for excellent book sales, but where this fad diet falls flat on its face is that it vastly underestimates the power of the human digestive system. There's no evidence whatsoever supporting the practice of separating carbohydrate and protein feedings.
I know several people who say that these programs removed their gastrointestinal distress and made them "feel" better. However, I don't know a single bodybuilding or fitness champion who successfully uses "food combining" diets to achieve low body fat or excellent muscular development (Although there are some who get paid to say they do). If muscles and low body fat are your goals, then lean proteins and complex carbohydrates should always be eaten at every meal.
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