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Food Combining in 30 Days - Review and Analysis

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

The theme of the book "Food Combining in 30 Days" by Kathryn Marsden is that foods can be combined in ways that assist digestion and prevent diseases. Its basic message is: "Do not mix protein and starch together in the same meal." According to author Kathryn Marsden, her dietary programme, based loosely on the Hay diet and described in this book, can help dieters lose weight safely, simply and sensibly - without cutting calories. The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the principle of food combining is explained; part 2 outlines a 30-day eating plan; part 3 lists food and nutrient suppliers; and part 4 provides recipes. The author starts by pointing out that, while food combining is no cure-all, this method has been used successfully to enhance quality of life in many ways, such as increasing energy, improving post-surgery recovery and promoting weight loss.

Food combining principle - Proteins and starches are treated differently by the digestive system. Mixing both food groups causes poor digestion, with symptoms including energy drain, bloating, discomfort and pain. Poor digestion means that fewer nutrients are absorbed from food eaten, which decreases the body's ability to fight infection. The ulcers which develop in some people, for example, are due to 'undigested stress,' asserts Marsden. When food is not broken down efficiently, she continues, nutrients are poorly-absorbed, leaving the body poorly fed, repaired and energised. This triple whammy triggers a vicious cycle of stress, exhaustion and illness, leading to more stress.

The programme - Alkaline foods include all fruit, vegetables and salads, while (good) acid formers include free-range eggs, grains, pulses, oily fish and spices. The author directs the food-combining novice to choose, in the first week of the diet, one protein-based and one alkaline-forming meal per day, both served with salad. In week two, daily intake is one protein, one starch and one alkaline-forming (exclusively salad) meal. Week 3 is a cleansing and nourishing phase, while week 4 is about consolidating the knowledge gained in previous weeks.

There are more recent books on food combining from the same author in the marketplace. This book, despite being out of print, remains a good starting point for anyone interested in trying out food combining, however, as it is fairly short (192 pages), inexpensive and still available from online booksellers. The programme itself is uncomplicated: a simple adherence to a protein, starch or alkaline menu, with no need to weigh portions or count calories. There is an extensive list of foods, sorted by category (protein, starch or alkaline). The author's style is clear and easy accessible to a layperson. The book includes some thought-provoking anecdotes, for example on hospitals feeding patients high-fat, high-sugar foods like cakes, cookies and ice-cream (all known health hazards) to assist their recovery following surgery. Disappointingly, in her recommendation of acid-forming foods, the author failed to point out the link between eating meat and developing cancer, for which scientific evidence abounds. Also, the book would have benefited from more attention to the need for essential fats in the diet.

Given the health problems linked to the overweight look now trending in modern industrialised society, most of us could stand to lose a kilogram or two. Food combining, as described in this book, offers one approach towards this goal. Its main critics cite the lack of scientific evidence supporting food combining as an effective weight loss method. There has been one widely quoted report, in which a research group compared weight loss and fat levels in obese people on a food combining vs. a "balanced" diet, and found no difference between the two groups. On the other hand, there are numerous scientific reports of the health benefits an alkaline diet brings. One might validly ask, therefore, whether the health benefits reported by Marsden are due to food combining itself, or to the fact that the food-combining approach emphasises alkali-forming foods, already proven to be wholesome. Whatever the answer might be, food-combining individuals seem to be quite happy with results, which reportedly include weight loss, increased vitality and freedom from allergies, bloating and intestinal problems. In conclusion, this book was a good read, with the truth (or otherwise) of its claims easily and safely testable. I would recommend it as a brief introduction to the principles and practice of food combining, particularly for people looking to resolve digestive problems.

Source: EzineArticles
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