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Some nutritionists claim that the simplest way of preventing common ailments is to eat food in the correct combinations.
The principle is that different groups of foods require different enzymes for proper digestion, so if - at the same meal - the stomach is presented with a range of ingredients each with different requirements, the body becomes confused and isn't able to supply all the enzymes and secretions at the right time.
For example protein foods require an acid enzyme and starches an alkaline medium. Fats and oils digest slowly, while sugars digest quickly.
The basis of the theory is that proteins and starches shouldn't be consumed at the same time - while proteins and fats or starches and fats can be combined at on sitting.
The rules are quite complicated. Proteins should only be eaten with acid fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit. Sweet fruit being better with starches, and although sugars can be eaten with starches, they are best eaten on their own, as they are absorbed very quickly. Green vegetables and non-starchy vegetables, such as avocado, aubergine and squashes, are neutral and can be eaten with both protein and starch meals.
People with sensitive digestions might find some benefit in this diet - originally made popular by Hay - but most foods aren't simply classified; so the theory falls down rather; most in fact being various combinations of carbohydrate, fat, protein and sugar. See 'Food'; 'Hay, Dr. William'