The Food Combining Diet is a 28-day weight loss programme developed from Dr Hay’s theories on managing food combination in order to eliminate the build-up of toxins on the body. It does not involve calorie counting.

Recommended for:
It is recommended for gradual weight loss and detoxification

Not recommended for :
It is not recommended for those whose priority is rapid weight loss or spot-reduction of specific areas of the body.

Advocates of food combining believes that the inadequate elimination of waste products from the body can occur when protein and starch are mixed within the same meal. The enzymes that digest proteins need an acid environment to act effectively, whereas the enzymes for breaking down starches need an alkaline environment. This results in incomplete digestion when these foods are combined in one meal, which ultimately results in poor absorption of nutrients and poor elimination of waste products.

There are five basic rules to the Food Combining Diet:

  • Do not mix sugar or starchy foods with proteins in one meal.
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads.
  • Always eat fruits in isolation, do not mix them with other foods.
  • Do not mix milk with protein or starch within one meal.
  • Avoid foods which are processed or refined.
  • There are no forbidden foods on the diet but the recommended foods are generally low fat, fresh and natural.

The diet tends to be heavier in alkaline-forming foods (e.g. fresh fruits, vegetables and salads) with acid-forming foods, such as meat and fish, carefully combined to establish optimum nutrition.

The programme also includes a 24-hour Detox Diet using alkaline-forming foods only (fresh fruits and vegetables). This is designed to rest digestion and eliminate toxins from the bloodstream. Drinking plenty of fresh water and cutting down on caffeine and tea is emphasized at this stage, although it is recommended throughout the Food Combining Diet.

Menu Plans are provided for a four-week period providing three basic meals with snacks and desserts included on specific days. Each meal is clearly identified as either alkaline or acid forming, starch or protein based, enabling the dieter to become accustomed to the foods and their combinations.

A Typical day’s menu

Breakfast (starch)

  • Homemade muesli
  • Mid-morning snack (alkaline)
  • Small bunch of grapes

Lunch (alkaline)

  • Vegetable crudites with avocado clip

Evening Meal (protein)

  • Grilled lemon sole with green salad

In addition to the four week plan there are food lists which clearly show which specific foods can be combined for protein, starch and neutral meals and an at-a-glance reference chart to show the best combinations of food groups. The Food Combining Diet features meal suggestions which are appropriate for vegetarians. Many of the menu options do require some preparation. Until accustomed to food combining, the dieter might find it difficult to devise their own meals for packed lunches or when in a hurry.

Eating Out

There are no specific recommendations for eating out and the dieter may feel that he or she needs to be experienced in food combining before being able to eat in a restaurant.

How Fast is it?

There is no average weight loss on the Food Combining diet. Author Kathryn Marsden believes that in following the plan, weight will be lost at a steady, gradual rate and target weight will be permanently maintained.


There is no specific exercise programme but the author recommends that 15 to 20 minutes should be performed each day.


Using the four-week plan should enable the dieter to get to grips with the practice of food combining, which can then be developed as a lifestyle approach to eating.

The diet also looks at the importance of good blood circulation, for promoting the supply of nutrients to body cells and removing the waste products for elimination. If the body is suffering toxic overload then this system of delivery and removal slows down and the toxin levels rise even further. Exercise and skin brushing can help to improve the circulation and thereby promote the supply of nutrition and the lymphatic drainage of waste products.