9. The Physiological Necessity Of Proper Food Combining
One of the cardinal principles around which Natural Hygiene/Life Science is built in dietary practices is that of food combining when more than one food is eaten at a meal. Humans are capable of digesting with great ease a single food of their adaptation. However, when more than one food is consumed at a meal, the foods thus combined must be compatible in their digestive chemistry.
If the digestion of a meal’s various items requires differing digestive tasks, digestion will suffer. Digestion may be retarded and vitiated whether or not we are aware of it, whether we suffer the discomforts of indigestion or fail to feel them. Indigestion may be suffered beneath the level of awareness for decades before its debilitating effects show up as diseases and symptoms. On the other hand, the sufferer may be keenly aware of distresses resulting from indigestion on practically a meal-to-meal basis.
The ill effects of wrong eating and improper food combining are commonly treated with a raft of drugs, primarily antacid drugs such as Turns, Rolaids, bicarbonate of soda, poisonous aluminium preparations, Milk of Magnesia and so on.
9.1 The Chemical Character of Digestion and the Rules It Decrees
Further along in this course a complete lesson is devoted to food combining. The physiology of digestion recognizes that different foods present dissimilar digestive tasks. For instance, protein foods require an acid medium for digestion. Pepsin, the protein digestive enzyme, requires an acid gastric secretion, more specifically hydrochloric acid. Starchy foods, on the other hand, require an alkaline medium to enable the enzymes of salivary amylase (ptyalin) to perform their digestive task. Below a pH of 4.0, starch digestion is totally suspended. Pepsin will not break down proteins at a pH higher than 3.0. Thus starchy foods and protein foods are incompatible in digestive chemistry. From this physiological fact of life emerges this feeding rule: Do not eat a protein food and a starchy food at the same meal.
There are many foods that do not combine with others. It is the practice of many to eat oils and sugars together. Sugars undergo no digestion in the stomach and melons and sweet fruits may stay in the stomach as little as ten minutes or remain for as long as thirty to forty minutes. They are expelled rather quickly and absorbed very quickly from the small intestine. Oils remain in the stomach for several hours for processing before being forwarded to the small intestine for further elaboration. If eaten with fruits they hold up the sugars and fermentation is very likely to occur, thus vitiating the meal.
9.2 Differing Digestive Times Dictate Selectivity in Food Combinations
Even different fruits have differing digestive tasks. The body readily digests acid fruits and it also readily digests sweet fruits. But acids must first be changed and become alkaline before absorption can occur. This involves some delay in the stomach. Any delay in the stomach of a sweet fruit may dispose to fermentation. Thus, again, combining foods improperly may vitiate digestion and contribute to physiological problems, immediately and down the road, if unhealthful physiological practices continue.
Sweet fruits have their own digestive characteristics. Watermelon is perhaps the fastest digested of sweet fruits. Other melons are passed through the stomach quickly, too. But bananas, grapes and apples may remain in the stomach for two or three times as long. Hence, if bananas, apples or grapes are eaten with melon, fermentation and upset stomach may result.
9.3 Character of Food Determines Suitability in Diet
Humans are adapted to a narrow spectrum of the world’s foods, just as are most other animals. Our anatomy and physiology are highly specialized to handle efficiently the fruit foods of the earth. We have developed limited capacities to digest oils, proteins and starches. But under no circumstances are we primarily protein-eaters, starch-eaters or oil-eaters.
Inasmuch as some 85% to 90% of our diet by dry weight is for the purpose of fueling our body, it behooves us to eat primarily foods that most efficiently furnish our fuel requirements. Inasmuch as foods of our natural adaptation furnish this ratio of fuel values relative to other necessary nutrient factors within their context, we can most healthfully devote ourselves to a raw fruitarian regime.
Many, including a great number of Hygienists, will object to the all-fruit diet and cite supposed dangers that fruits are inadequate in the needs of life, especially proteins, essential fatty acids, mineral salts and vitamins. Thus they advocate green leaves and other vegetables, seeds and nuts and even cheese. They condemn “the more is better school,” yet tend to side with them in practice.
Close scrutiny of our physiological character decrees that we eat sparingly of nonfruit foods. It is erroneous to assume that the fruit diet is deficient in the needs of life, as will be demonstrated in other lessons.
- 1. What Constitutes Nutrition? (Definitions And Concepts)
- 2. Food Is An Element Of Nutrition
- 3. Physiological Criteria Foods Must Meet
- 4. Nonfood Nutritional Factors
- 5. Discussion Of Conventional Nutritional Teachings
- 6. Discussion Of Human Eating Habits The World Over
- 7. Negative Nutrition: Harmful Foods And Practices
- 8. A Survey Of Unconventional Dietetic Schools And Their Fallacies
- 9. The Physiological Necessity Of Proper Food Combining
- 10. Nutritional Miscellany
- 11. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Paradise Diet by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: The Elements Of Nutrition by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Nutrition, A Hygienic Perspective by Ralph C. Cinque, D.C.