Is a century old diet the key to lasting weight loss?
Has the key to lasting weight loss been around since 1911?
Devotees of the dissociated diet, also known as food combining, say yes. The diet is based on the principle that by eating alkaline (fruits, vegetables, grains) and acidic (eggs, cheese, meat) foods together, you create an imbalance of digestive and metabolic enzymes in the body which eventually leads to weight gain. To reverse the imbalance, they suggest limiting each meal or even an entire day’s worth of food to one food group.
“The theory behind the disassociated diet plan is that by eating only one food group, you will keep your body’s enzymes in check, which help maximize nutrient absorption and lead to eventual weight loss per followers of this diet,” says Noreen Sheridan, a registered dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
The five guiding principles of the diet are:
- Do not eat carbohydrates with protein or fruit in the same meal.
- Make fruit, vegetables and whole grains your main source of nutrition.
- Eat protein, starch and fats in limited quantities.
- Avoid refined and processed foods.
- Wait four hours between eating each meal.
Followers typically adhere to one of two eating plans; either a daily rotation where each meal is based on one food group or a weekly rotation schedule like Sunday whole grains, Monday protein, Tuesday fruits and vegetable, etc.
Some experts argue the diet is too focused on the digestive process and not enough on the nutrient density and diversity needed to achieve and maintain optimal health. Additionally, there is concern that eating too much of one food, such as a day of only poultry, can lead to boredom and disordered eating.
“Components of the diet including its emphasis on eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as the main sources of nutrition, while avoiding processed foods are sound nutritional principles, but it is too restrictive to be a long-term solution,” says Sheridan. “Like any sustainable meal plan, you need a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid behaviors like binge eating.”
Sheridan also recommends consumers look at diets critically and focus on evidence based information.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says Sheridan.
About the Author
Janine Sheedy is a public affairs and marketing manager at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She holds a B.A. in communications from Loyola University New Orleans and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. She has more than seven years of communications experience, most recently serving as a public relations and marketing manager for the Illinois Hospital Association. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and Green Bay Packers football. On September 9, 2017, Janine will be running for the coveted Musky Queen title at Wills Northwoods Inn.