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Food combinations and fake news: beliefs without any scientific basis

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Food combinations and fake news: beliefs without any scientific basis

diEliana Liotta

Eliana Liotta’s «Smart Tips» column deals with food pairings that are not recommended on social media, especially in the name of at least bizarre ideas about digestion and its timing

Cheese and eggs never in the same meal, beware of acidic fruit and other amenities circulating on social media. The theory of food combinations to avoid is a pillar of hygienism, which is not the discipline of hygiene specialists but a set of practices with no scientific basis. Here are five combinations that are banned for no reason.

Proteins and proteins

If each protein food (meat, fish, cheese, eggs, legumes) requires specific enzymes for its digestion, then it is better not to weigh yourself down. Too bad the assumption is false. The enzymes that degrade proteins are the same: pepsin in the stomach, endoprotease and exopeptidase in the duodenum. It is true that protein sources are composed of different amino acids but this does not alter the mechanism by which they are digested.

Carbohydrates and proteins

The enzymes that degrade proteins work in an acidic environment (in the stomach), while the enzymes that digest starches do so in an alkaline environment (mouth and small intestine): therefore eating a first course and a second course would create digestive difficulties. No: it is not a problem at all if in the various stages along the digestive tract the food bolus contains partially degraded nutrients and others completely. Among other things, foods such as bread and pasta are composed of both carbohydrates and proteins (gluten).

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Watermelon and pasta

Eating a slice of watermelon after a first course would be heresy. Ditto insert melon cubes into the salad. Hygienists argue that the rapid decomposition of the two fruits would compromise the digestion of other foods. An oddity.

Bananas and fish

Again according to the absurd idea of ​​digestive times, sweet fruit (bananas, persimmons, grapes) should not be combined with proteins such as meat or fish, starches and acidic fruit (oranges, kiwis, lemons). False.

Fruit and lunch

The fermentation processes of fruit eaten at the same time as the meal would lead to weight gain, therefore peaches or strawberries should be consumed on an empty stomach. Yet another fake thesis.

* The review is by Lucilla Titta, coordinator of the Smartfood program at the Ieo-European Institute of Oncology.

February 21, 2024 (modified February 21, 2024 | 11:13)


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