G’day folks,

It’s been so long (too long!) since I coined an article. So here’s one on food consumption that’ll hopefully get you thinking about what you chuck into your pie hole :p~ I recently returned home from a week-long trip to the Great South Land – which Brisbane City sits on, in the great sunshine State of Queensland.

What a trip it was! Twas such a treat to get away from the muggy, hot and humid weather here and plunge into the coolness of spring in Brissie! More importantly, I got to catch up a whole bunch of dear mates and enjoy a terrific sharing about food by Lesleigh who was feeling a bit crook for a time last year but who thankfully has since recovered from bowel cancer and shaken off her digestive blues thanks in part to a change in eating habits.

Source: Nationalploughing
Source: Nationalploughing

Food Combining

As Lesleigh and I parked ourselves in a quiet spot in one of the popular cafes in Brisbane, she asked me, “Do you know why you feel bloated after a meal of fish and chips?” I thought for a bit and said it must have been the oil that the fish was battered in, that made me feel that way.
“Yea, that can sometimes be part of the reason,” she remarked. “But I’d be inclined to attribute it to food combining,” she added.

Digesting large amounts of proteins and carbohydrates in the same meal is a complex task for those with weak constitutions (or a weak tummy!) she said. That struck me as an interesting thought! I listened further… The food combining theory she said, posits that proteins and carbs should not be eaten together, and that fruit should be eaten on its own.

The premise for this is that, proteins and carbs are digested at different rates and require different digestive environments. Eating the two together leaves you with partially digested food that waits in your system while other foods are digested. During the waiting period, partially digested food rots or ferments, causing bloating, gas and other problems.

Source: ZiCheng Xu

Whether there’s merit in attributing bloating to this, it’s not easy (particularly in the Asian diet) to effectively practice this as most foods contain a combination of protein, carbs and fats! According to my colleague in the Research and Web Outreach Department, that could be a blessing in itself as eating a variety of food types (comprising proteins, carbs and fats) in Asian foods, helps one ensure balanced nutrition, without emphasis of any food or group of foods.

Apart from entreating oneself to a healthy variety of foods, she added that it’s also important to weigh the positive impact of food interactions when different foods are consumed together. She also debunked the notion that a meal of fish and chips causes bloating simply because they were a mix of proteins and carbs. The way that food is prepared (cooked in fatty oils) can impact digestion and potentially feed bacteria in the gut that in turn cause gassy reactions in the body.

Interesting eh?

vegesfruitsIt looks like there’s more to healthy eating that I imagined! The defining barometer of good health cannot simply be limited to one’s immediate reaction to a particular meal. The gastrointestinal tract is after all designed to handle complex digestive processes, even as our biochemical print is unique (much like our thumb print) in every individual.

Still, some people have found that food combining has positively impacted their digestion and overall health. There’s no denying that. But there’s also no need to depart from other tried and true methods like eating less high sugar and starchy carb diets and packing in more vegetables, lean meats and exercises every day!

At the end of the day, do what works for you! And if you’re uncertain of what works, just have a variety of foods prepared healthily-even if it’s a combination of proteins and carbs in the same meal!

Take it easy mate! : )


Posted by:Thomas Danny Jeyaseelan

I've been working for over 7 years at Science Centre Singapore... a place I've come to call "home" where science befriends and transforms me day by day! I love communications and this blog has given me a terrific opportunity to express myself in writing. I continually aspire to engage the community through my contributions. And would love to hear back from readers like you if you have something interesting to share (please leave a comment!). That would really encourage me! Am also looking forward to hitting the centennial mark with 100 posts. Am nearly 70% there. ;) I hope you have a great online experience on Stir-fried Science, enjoy all science has to offer, and be inspired to make or be the difference you wish to see in the communities you find yourself in.

3 replies on “Burp! | Who’s up for Food Combining?

  1. Very interesting blogpost, Danny! Like what you mentioned, each of us probably have some slight differences in the way we digest our food.

    I think ultimately, we just need to be more aware of how we react when eating certain food, and the conditions in which we consume them, rather than simply applying what works for others. 🙂


    1. Absolutely Kiat Teng. There’s definitely great wisdom in paying attention to our bodily reactions. And if I might add, but in so doing, there’s more than meets the eye! (no transformers pun intended) A lot of factors seem to weigh into this equation – more than identifying what foods (and combinations) we have just consumed.


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