In our great digital age, you can learn at any time about the nuances of a healthy diet, including which foods might be unhealthy or even dangerous to eat together.
We have probably all run across information that indicates certain food combos can cause a host of dangerous conditions like diabetes, cancer, or arthritis. As an intelligent person who craves the best information possible to guide your dietary choices, the internet is a real life-saver.
Sometimes there is a grain of truth to food combination warnings, but it is rarely reason enough to swear off of them entirely. Stick with us to discover the facts and the fiction surrounding 4 food combinations that the internet says will ruin your health.
1. Cold Water With A Meal
The story: The theory goes that drinking cold water directly before, during, or after a meal will cause the food to congeal or solidify in your stomach. After all, fats do congeal when exposed to cool temperatures outside of your body. Some people also suggest that drinking water with food dilutes stomach acid and thus reduces the acid’s ability to digest a meal.
The reality: What this idea fails to consider is that our bodies are warm inside. Cold water doesn’t stay cold for long after being consumed; it quickly warms up to body temperature. And while cold water can help prevent overheating when you’ve been out in the sun too long, it’s not enough to solidify fat and keep it that way throughout digestion.
Drinking water of any temperature during a meal actually aids digestion. Water can be pretty good at breaking things down all by itself, and in your digestive system, it works in tandem with stomach acid, not against it.
2. Cucumbers And Tomatoes
The story: Because cucumbers and tomatoes have vastly different digestion times, eating them together is likely to cause nausea, gas, bloating, or even (gasp) death. Cucumbers also contain an enzyme that destroys the vitamin C in tomatoes. That salad you thought was healthy is really making you sick.
The reality: It’s actually true that cumbers contain an enzyme that destroys vitamin C, but as long as you eat a generally balanced diet, you will get plenty of daily vitamin C from other sources. And, adding a little vinegar to the combo negates the effect. Since salad dressings often contain vinegar, you rarely need to worry about this part of the rumor.
3. Meat And Pasta
The story: Proteins and carbohydrates are digested differently and your system can’t handle that. A carbohydrate begins to be broken down by saliva and the process continues in your stomach and intestines, while protein doesn’t really start to get digested until it hits your stomach. So goodbye, spaghetti and meatballs. Adios, chicken fettucine.
The reality: While different foods are digested a bit differently, most bodies are totally able to handle this. Humans evolved eating a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, so in reality we are built specifically to eat this way. Unless you actually experience digestive distress, don’t worry about this one.
4. Fruit With Or After A Meal
The story: Another twist on the theme of “different digestion times” suggests that eating fruit with or after a meal is dangerous because fruit is so easily digested that it ferments in your stomach while hanging around waiting for other food to digest.
The reality: The sugars in fruit do digest pretty quickly, but fruit also has fiber that acts to slow absorption of that sugar into your blood. It’s actually a helpful failsafe that prevents a dangerous spike in blood sugar.