Great Food Combos That You May Try For Weight Loss

Published on June 12, 2024
Great Food Combos That You May Try For Weight Loss

Why Eat Food Combining Diets?

At Verywell, our motto is that keeping fit isn’t a cookie-cutter affair. The ideal diet should wrap around you perfectly. Considering jumping onto a fresh nutrition strategy? Especially with health concerns in the mix, it’s wise to first touch base with your doc or a diet expert.

Food combining diets believe that eating certain foods separately can help digestion, weight loss, and overall health. Food combination diets come in many forms, but the rules are generally the same. Protein and grains are allowed, but protein and starch are not.

Combining foods isn’t new. In essence, it follows an ancient Ayurvedic diet that suggests mixing raw and cooked foods can slow digestion and cause health issues.

In the 1920s, a new approach to food pairing emerged. The Hay Diet was created by Dr. William Howard Hay and classified foods as acid, alkaline, or neutral. It was forbidden to mix acid and alkaline foods (meat, seafood, and protein-rich foods). Dr. Hay believed his food-combining diet would help the stomach maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance, resulting in better health and weight loss.

Many proponents of food combining believe that different foods, like protein and carbs, digest differently and affect the pH level in the digestive tract. They should not be eaten together. But there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Experts Say

“In the food combining diet, fruit must be eaten alone. Eat protein with carbs to stabilize blood sugar and satisfy hunger. Worrying about our bodies and food is encouraged by this diet.”

A typical American meal includes meat and starch. For lunch, a turkey sandwich, or breakfast, eggs, bacon, and toast. A food combining diet never eats protein and carbs together.

A food combining diet also advises consuming sweet fruit in moderation and on an empty stomach—a few hours after or 20 minutes before a meal. Drink plenty of water—but not during meals.

What to Know

Proponents claim that eating the wrong foods together impairs digestion. As a result, undigested food ferments and rots in your stomach. They claim this causes illness or weight gain, but there is no evidence for this.

The rules for food pairing are rigid. These plans must be followed by all. Some dietary restrictions, such as celiac disease or gluten intolerance, can be accommodated. Vegetarians may struggle to adhere to this diet because many plant-based proteins, such as legumes and quinoa, contain carbs.

What to Eat

  • Meat, Fish, Poultry&
  • Squash, grains, and starchy vegetables
  • Non-starchy veg
  • Citrus fruits
  • Alcohol

What Not to Eat

  • Fruity (only consume in small amounts)
  • Sugar
  • Refined foods
  • Protein

In no case should you eat protein with starchy foods like bread, rice, squash or grains.

Wheat, potatoes, and peas

Only eat starchy vegetables, grains, and bread with cooked non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens (not proteins).


Avoid sweet fruit at all costs. Opt for sour or low-sugar fruits. Nutty, seedy and dried fruit-only diet.

Foods Without Flavor

The food combining diet has many variations. Non-starchy vegetables are paired with starches or proteins. Some diets consider foods like dark chocolate, almond milk, cream, coconut water, lemons, butter, and oil to be “neutral” and can be eaten with any other food.


Avoid refined sugar and sugar-containing products. Avoid processed foods, which are high in sugar and fat.


Alcohol is allowed. Dry red and white wines are protein-rich and should only be paired with proteins. Drinking beer or ale with other starches or cooked vegetables is advised.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Food combining diets, like all restrictive diets, have pros and cons. Examining the benefits and drawbacks can help you decide whether to try this diet.


Whole Foods Focus

This diet encourages the consumption of whole foods. So, no sugar-sweetened foods, which means no processed foods (such as sauces, granola bars, and cereals).

Eating foods closer to their natural state also makes it easier to keep them separate. Processed foods usually contain protein, carbs, and fats.

No Carbs or Calories

No calorie or carb counting, or portion control is required, which simplifies this otherwise complex diet.

May Help Lose Weight

A strict set of rules may help make better food choices. When Planning meals and snacks allows you to consume more nutrient dense foods while eating less. So you may lose weight.

This plan’s weight loss is likely due to a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than you burn) rather than specific food combinations.


Hard to Follow

Diet rules are complex and may be difficult for some to follow. This, plus giving up certain convenience foods and remembering when to drink water and when to eat fruit, makes this diet difficult to follow.


Most foods aren’t simply acidic or alkaline. Grains like quinoa, for example, provide both starch and protein. It’s difficult to categorize foods according to this plan’s rules.

Not Reliable

These diets are difficult to follow. So a food combining diet may not be sustainable. The weight loss from this restrictive diet is likely to return once normal eating habits are resumed. Finally, following a diet with so many restrictions prevents learning to eat intuitively.

Unsafe for Some

Those with certain health issues should avoid combining foods. To keep blood sugar levels stable, diabetics need protein or fat in addition to carbs. Consult your doctor if you have a chronic health condition.

No Scientific Proof

Proteins and carbohydrates are digested at different rates, making it difficult for the body to process them together. Foods may also respond to different pH levels in the digestive tract. So, mixing two foods that require different pH levels cannot be digested. Both beliefs are unfounded in science.

The digestive system (saliva, stomach acids, enzymes, small intestine, large intestine) works together to digest food and make it usable by the body. It can do this without using food combining.

How Your Body’s Digestive Enzymes Degrade Food

Is a Food Combining Diet Healthy?

Similar diets focus on the body’s acid/alkaline balance. The alkaline diet claims that eating too many “acid-producing” foods causes illness, fatigue, and weight gain. It’s important to avoid eating acid-forming foods at certain times or in certain combinations. Yin and Yang energies are used to help balance the macrobiotic diet. To achieve this balance, acidic and alkaline foods are eaten together.

While both diets have elements that promote weight loss and better health, research has not linked specific benefits like fat loss and reduced inflammation to food combining.

The Suzanne Somers diet, a fad diet that advocates not eating carbs, protein, or fat at the same meal, is probably the most similar. Detoxifying the body of sugar is also part of the plan. “Somersizing” is a food combining diet that restricts certain foods and is unproven.

The USDA recommends a plate of protein, grains, fruits or vegetables, and dairy products (if you can tolerate those).

3 Even if these guidelines don’t require it, they do suggest it as a goal for a healthy, balanced diet. But this goes against the grain of food pairing.

The USDA suggests reducing calorie intake by 500 per day to achieve weight loss.

4 Food combining diets don’t have calorie targets; it’s all about when and what you eat, not how much. Some people may benefit from this, while others may benefit from calorie counting. This calculator can help you set a calorie goal based on your age, gender, and activity level.

Health Gains

Eating more whole foods and reducing calorie intake may improve health and promote weight loss, but food combining has not been proven to be effective.

Actually, there has only been one randomized clinical trial since the turn of the century, and researchers were unable to determine any impact on weight loss or body fat reduction.

While there are no known health risks to food combining diets, some people may develop an unhealthy obsession with food.

To avoid combining the “wrong foods,” this plan’s restrictiveness may cause some people to under-eat. Insufficient calorie intake can cause fatigue and other health issues like slowed metabolism.

Verywell’s Word

These eating plans are appealing because they deviate from traditional diet rules. Some of these plans offer unique routines or approaches to weight loss that may appeal to some people. In the end, food combining is not a sustainable eating plan.

Weight loss and better health can be achieved with a balanced diet that includes all major food groups and regular exercise. If you want to lose weight, talk to a dietitian or your doctor about setting goals and tracking your progress. Following scientifically based plans increases the likelihood of lasting results.

Remember, a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you, and many diets, especially long-term, fail. However, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision based on your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If you want to lose weight, keep in mind that being healthy doesn’t always mean losing weight. The way you live your life affects your health. The best diet is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

Weight Loss Food Combinations

Power Pairs

Two (or more) foods can be better than one for weight loss. That’s because they all have different nutrients. They work together to help you avoid hunger, stay fuller longer, and burn more fat or calories.

Avocado and Dark Leafy Greens

A spinach or kale salad is low in calories but high in nutrients. Add avocado for extra filling. It’s likely to be more satisfying due to the good fat (monounsaturated) it contains. Plus, avocado aids in the absorption of disease-fighting antioxidants.

Chicken and Cayenne Pepper

Chicken breasts are known for their fat-burning properties. One breast has 27 grams of protein and only 150 calories. Protein is slow to digest, so it keeps you fuller longer. Spice up this dinner staple with cayenne pepper rub or sauce. It may increase calorie burn and decrease hunger.

Oatmeal and Walnuts

Eat the rough stuff to lose weight. Adding fiber to your diet can help you lose weight. Because fiber can’t be broken down by the body, it slows digestion and takes up stomach space. Oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber per cup. Walnuts add about 2 grams of protein and crunch.

Eggs, Black Beans, and Peppers

Protein-rich scramble for breakfast. People who ate eggs for breakfast ate less for the next two days than those who ate a bagel, according to an American College of Nutrition study. Black beans and peppers add extra fiber to this morning meal.

Bean and Vegetable Soup

Lunch or dinner with a broth-based vegetable soup. As a result, less room for high-calorie foods. In one study, people who started with soup ate 20% less calories overall. Beans, like chickpeas or black beans, are high in protein and fiber and can help it last longer.

Steak and Broccoli

Too tired to go? This meal may help. Iron in beef may help your body build red blood cells. They transport oxygen to your organs, zapping your energy. Broccoli is ideal because its vitamin C aids iron absorption. A half-cup of this veggie has 66% of your daily vitamin C needs.

Green Tea and Lemon

Make some green tea for a pick-me-up. Drinking the low-calorie beverage may help you burn more calories and fat. According to one study, drinking 4 cups of green tea daily may help reduce weight and blood pressure. Add a squeeze of lemon for extra health benefits.

Salmon and Sweet Potato

Fish is good for your brain and your waistline. Salmon is high in omega-3 fats, which may help you lose weight. 3 oz. has 17 g protein. A light meal with a baked sweet potato. 5 inch spud has 4 g fiber and 112 cal.

Yogurt and Raspberries

Fat-burning ice cream? Getting more calcium and vitamin D may help you lose weight faster. So look for vitamin D-fortified yogurt, which provides about 35% of your daily calcium needs. Add half a cup of raspberries for sweetness and fiber.

Mushrooms and Ground Beef

You can eat burgers and lose weight if you replace half of the meat with chopped or ground mushrooms. With only 16 calories per cup, they can add flavor to any ground beef dish. They may also help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing cravings.

Olive Oil and Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a low-calorie food. It has a low glycemic index, which measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar. Low-GI vegetables, like peas and corn, led to more weight loss than starchy vegetables. Roasted cauliflower with olive oil brings out the flavor and the fats in olive oil help you feel full.

Pistachios and Apple

Snack time? This meal provides protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Pistachios are one of the low-calorie nuts, with about 160 calories per 50. Plus, they’re usually in their shells, which slows you down and prevents mindless munching. The apple adds sweetness, crunch, and 4 grams of fiber to your treat.

Fish, Whole-Wheat Tortilla, and Salsa

Taste is a major reason why diets fail. Boring meals can lead to a junk food binge. So make sure your menu includes healthy, tasty dishes. Tacos de pescado: Make them with white fish and a whole-wheat tortilla. Add salsa for extra vitamins.

Dark Chocolate and Almonds

Giving up sweets to lose weight may sound good, but it can backfire. Eliminating them can lead to overeating. With only 7 grams of sugar per ounce, dark chocolate is a guilt-free dessert. Combining it with high-protein almonds stabilizes blood sugar levels and keeps you fuller longer.

Nut Butter and Banana

Every meal should contain a carb and a protein. Why? Combining protein and complex carbs does more than help muscles recover after a workout. Longer-lasting satiety Protein and healthy fats help slow sugar digestion, preventing blood sugar spikes. Bananas provide carbs, while peanut butter provides protein and fat.

Spinach and Lemon Juice

This dynamic duo will do wonders for your health whether you add it to your sauteed spinach or your morning smoothie. Why? Lemons are high in vitamin C, and spinach is high in non-heme iron. Adding vitamin C to spinach increases the bioavailability of the dietary iron (also known as ascorbic acid). The International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research says vitamin C helps absorb iron.


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