Food combining

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Food combining is a form of nutrition developed by William Howard Hay at the beginning of the 20th century , in which mainly protein and carbohydrate foods are not eaten at the same time with a meal. It is a diet that is considered by many as a method of weight loss . According to the "food combining theory", almost everything can generally be eaten, only a few foods are excluded, e.g. B. Legumes . Neither the quantities nor the nutritional energy supplied are recorded. However, the theories on which the food combining is based have now been refuted medically. In Germany, the food combining was primarily made known by the doctor Heinrich Ludwig Walb (1907–1992).


The principle of food combining was developed by William Howard Hay (1866–1940), a New York doctor, in 1907. Hay was also known for his radical criticism of the principle of vaccination . He assumed that the cause of all diseases of civilization in acidosis ( acidosis of the body lie), which will mainly caused by the common intake of protein and carbohydrates. Hay postulated that humans cannot digest both nutrients at the same time. The result is fermentation processes in the small intestine . Since legumes contain both protein and carbohydrates, they are unsuitable as food. However, this also applies to a number of other foods that the combining diet still allows.

According to Hay, the digestive processes should run smoothly in the event of a separation, as the enzymes involved could dock better with the food . Because the enzyme ptyalin unfolds its full effect in breaking down the starch , the starch is better broken down into intermediate products such as maltose . The enzyme pepsin also unfolds its full effect in breaking down protein. This in turn leads to faster bowel movements .

The food combining according to Hay is supposed to regulate the acid-base balance in the body. Hay assumed that the body was too acidic if the diet was “wrong”. According to his guidelines, the diet consists of 80 percent alkalis (fruit, vegetables, whole grain cereals, almonds) and only 20 percent of acidifiers (dairy products, meat, fish, cheese, white flour and sugar). There are also neutral foods (butter, cold-pressed oils) that can be combined with both groups. There should be a break of three to four hours between meals.

At the time Hay was developing his diet, he was suffering from serious kidney disease ( shrunken kidneys ) and overweight. With the help of the food combining, he was able to lower his uric acid level and overcome the disease. However, he did not formulate his dietary recommendations for people with kidney disease, but applied them to everyone. He also claimed that this form of nutrition was able to cure numerous diseases of civilization which, in his opinion, were caused by "disregarding the laws of nature".

Food combining advocates argue that combining food can improve health. Possible weight loss, improvement in bowel movements, and resolution or relief of bowel and stomach problems have been reported. On the part of science, these phenomena, which are also known by vegetarians, are explained by the switch to primarily vegetarian food.

Hay recommends eating carbohydrates morning and evening and protein at noon.

The three groups of food combining:

  • The protein group includes meat, fish and seafood, all dairy products with a fat content below 50%, milk, sour milk products, yoghurt , quark , cheese, cream cheese, soft cheese, soy products such as tofu , most fruits and nuts and eggs.

The meals are compiled using special tables. If you follow the separation rules, you will quickly find that well-known "fattening foods" such as hamburgers , currywurst with french fries , roast pork with dumpling, ragù alla bolognese, spaghetti Bolognese etc. are combinations of carbohydrates and protein and therefore do not apply. The focus of food combining is often on vegetarian products, the fat content is relatively low. However, this depends on how the food combining menu is actually implemented.

It should also be remembered that many foods contain both protein and carbohydrates, e.g. B. potatoes, grain, nuts etc. - which actually contradicts Hays' basic assumptions. Combining food divides foods into groups based on a relative weighting, but not in such a way that the carbohydrate group only contains foods that only contain carbohydrates.


  • The German Nutrition Society (DGE) advises against Hay's food combining and considers the underlying theory to be “scientifically unsustainable”. Among other things, she points out that a large number of foods contain carbohydrates as well as proteins and fats. She judges the food combining as a predominantly lacto-vegetable diet. However, the recommendation to reduce meat consumption is welcomed. The supply of nutrients is not guaranteed if this is observed; there could be a vitamin deficiency. Furthermore, a base-excess diet does not bring any verifiable health benefits. Over-acidification with normal mixed food is not to be feared in healthy people, since the human buffer systems keep the acid-base level in the body constant. The DGE's conclusion on food combining: “These ideas have no scientific basis. A full diet according to Hay's teachings is only possible to a limited extent in the long term, as the food selection is not balanced.
  • The German Nutrition Advice and Information Network (DEBInet) writes: “The statements about digestion and the acid-base balance are simply wrong. A separation of protein and carbohydrates is not possible because many foods contain both main nutrients. Carbohydrate and protein-splitting enzymes are released into the intestine at the same time, so that a simultaneous digestion of carbohydrates and protein is guaranteed in healthy people. "
  • From the point of view of most nutritionists, food combining is not suitable for weight loss because it only counts the total amount of food energy supplied , not the combination of food. Accordingly, a study by the Swiss researcher Alain Golay from the University of Geneva found no advantages of combining food compared to a conventional mixed diet with the same energy content.
  • When using the food combining according to Hay, there may be a lack of calcium, iron (particularly critical in children, pregnant women and nursing mothers), high-quality protein and vitamins of the B group. It has also been criticized that too few grain products are eaten on this diet.
  • The temporal separation of protein and carbohydrates leads to an "improper" use of protein as "replacement carbohydrates" ( gluconeogenesis ). This process can release precursors to uric acid. Uric acid is believed to be the main cause of gout.
  • Some foods are wrongly or illogically assigned to a group. Potatoes contain both carbohydrates and protein, cheese always contains protein (regardless of the fat content), and quark always contains protein.
  • It is true that carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth and protein digestion in the stomach, but both nutrients are essentially digested in the small intestine; there are enzymes for simultaneous digestion.
  • One of the most essential foods for babies, breast milk , contains both protein and carbohydrates. If it were problematic for humans to digest both together, breast milk would be unsuitable for infants.
  • The pH value of a healthy person can drop in the short term due to diet, but this can be balanced again very quickly. May develop acidosis ( acidosis ) only when fasting , when top athletes in metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus and impaired renal function.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b German Nutrition Society: Haysche food combining is not recommended as a long-term form of nutrition ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) from: DGE-special 02/98 from April 21, 1998
  2. Institute of Nutrition Information: Hay'sche food combining ; German Nutrition Advice and Information Network (DEBInet)
  3. Friedrich Bohlmann: No more French fries with the schnitzel ( Memento of the original from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ; in: Tabula 3/2003 (pdf; 100 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /