What Are the Risks of Mixing Certain Foods?

Combining foods is common practice when preparing our daily diets, but we must consider the effects of mixing certain foods. In this article, we'll tell you all about what you should keep in mind!
What Are the Risks of Mixing Certain Foods?

Last update: 23 September, 2021

Mixing certain foods can have negative consequences for the digestion process. Certain substances are capable of interfering with the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.

For this reason, a bad combination of products results in a waste of their properties, or in a reduction of the speed of digestive transit that ends up causing stomach discomfort.

Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines.

Be careful with fiber when mixing certain foods

Fiber is an essential substance for the body. It reduces the risk of intestinal transit problems and the likelihood of developing complex diseases in the long term, as stated in a study published in the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences.

However, it can be a drawback when it comes to absorbing certain minerals, such as iron. In addition, it partially blocks the passage of glucose through the intestinal epithelium.

For the most part, the latter is good news, as it reduces the impact of carbohydrates on health and serum glycemia. However, in the case of an athlete looking for an extra supply of energy, it’s an interaction they should take into account.

Sources of fiber, including legumes, raspberries, greens, and more.
Dietary fiber is capable of interfering with the absorption of iron at the intestinal level.

Tannins should not be mixed with just any food

Tannins present in grapes have many antioxidant properties. Their intake is positively linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, as stated in an article published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

However, all that glitters isn’t gold. Tannins partially block the absorption of certain minerals such as iron and calcium. This is one of the reasons why it’s not a good idea to combine wine and dairy products. Mixing both foods can cause digestive problems due to the formation of calcium salts inside the digestive tract.

Similarly, other substances can affect the absorption of nutrients. The phytic acid contained in some nuts and legumes is good proof of this. However, to alleviate the negative effects of these substances on the absorption of iron or calcium, individuals should increase their intake of vitamins C and D.

Theories regarding mixing certain foods and metabolism

A few years ago, a series of dissociated diets became popular, characterized by not mixing foods from different food groups. This type of dietary plan was based on eating each macronutrient separately.

The underlying theory held that combining them slowed metabolism and hindered the digestion process. The truth is that there’s no scientific evidence that this is so.

It’s best, according to expert opinion, to eat a varied and balanced diet that combines foods from different food groups at each meal. The fac of dissociating products not only does fails to offer health benefits. It can also lead to the appearance of certain nutritional deficiencies.

However, such diets did have one positive aspect. They tended to discourage the intake of processed products in favor of increased consumption of fresh foods. This guideline offers benefits to the body, as the intake of trans fats, simple sugars, and additives are reduced.

Sugary cereal and canned foods.
Processed foods represent a dietary problem, as they provide trans fats.

You may also be interested in: 12 Worst Toxins in Processed Foods

A varied diet is the best for your health

Except in specific cases, such as wine and dairy products, food combinations don’t usually carry health risks. Although it’s true that excessive doses of fiber cause intestinal discomfort and a decrease in the absorption of certain nutrients, this substance doesn’t cause problems when it’s introduced in a controlled manner.

There are certain substances present in some foods known as antinutrients. Tannins or phytic acid are a good proof of this. These compounds partially block the absorption of minerals at the intestinal level.

However, this is a problem that can be remedied by increasing the amount of vitamins C and D in your diet. This increases the bioavailability of iron and calcium respectively and reduces the risk of deficiencies.

Finally, an extreme diet isn’t recommended. Such dietary plans are considered unbalanced and may cause problems in the medium and long term.

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  • Masrul M., Nindrea RD., Dietary fibre protective against colorectal cancer patients in asia: a meta analysis. Open Acess Maced J Med Sci, 2019. 7 (10): 1723-1727.
  • Durazzo A., Lucarini M., Souto EB., Cicala C., et al., Polyphenols: a concise overview on the chemistry occurrence, and human health. Phytother Res, 2019. 33 (9): 2221-2243.