8 Common Food Pairings That Mess with Your Health
People tend to automatically associate certain foods with others; burger and fries, peanut butter and jelly, and wine and cheese. When eaten together, some of these classic combinations that you know and love could be harmful to your body. By avoiding these food combinations, you can boost weight loss, energy, and digestion.
According to James Briscione, Director of Culinary Research at The Institute of Culinary Education and author of The Flavor Matrix, “When two or more ingredients share similar flavor compounds, the chemical structures in food that create aroma, they taste good together”. The first flavor combination many of us were exposed to was most likely the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The saltiness of the peanut butter combined with the sweetness of the jelly is what makes it a delicious duo.
You may be surprised to learn that some of these classic food pairings that you’ve been eating for years, could cause health problems.
- WHOLE GRAINS AND SPINACH
Meal prep has become popular recently for people who want to eat healthily but don’t have time to prepare their meals every day. These meals typically contain a protein, a vegetable, and a grain. Although this seems like a very healthy meal, you may need to think twice. It’s important that you don’t combine a whole grain with a leafy green.
Briscione says that “the high fiber from the whole grain and oxalic acid from the leafy green can block calcium absorption”. He recommends continuing to eat spinach, in order to maintain strong bones, however, do so more than two hours before eating high fiber foods, like quinoa. By doing this, your body is given time to absorb the vitamins and minerals from the spinach.
- CHIPS AND SALSA
Eating corn chips with salsa typically leads to overeating. The seemingly healthy snack will also leave you with an unsatisfied appetite. Even though the salsa may be low in calories, you could be overeating in an attempt to satisfy your hunger. This leads to a high consumption of calories.
A great tasting alternative is to switch out the salsa for homemade guacamole. Guacamole contains heart-healthy fats that are guaranteed to fill you up. Another way to make this snack healthier is to switch out the corn chips for multi-grain, low-sodium chips. They offer more fiber and will help suppress your salt craving.
- BURGER, FRIES, AND SODA
We know that there isn’t anything nutritious about a burger combo. However, it could be worse for your body than you thought. Aside from the high amount of salt, sugar, and fat it contains, the combination can cause you to crave more! You’ll want to eat more of these unhealthy foods because the processed sugar turns off the signal that lets you know when you’re full.
- FRUIT AFTER A MEAL
If you’re like me, you may try to finish dinner on a healthy note by having some fruit for dessert. According to David Nico, PhD, MBA, and certified wellness coach, “the starchy carbohydrates from the fruits require different digestive enzymes compared to those required for animal proteins (typically consumed in a main dish), which may create digestive confusion. Some people have difficulty processing certain fast-digesting simple carbohydrates (fruits) combined with slow-digesting animal protein and fats (beef)”. Depending on what you eat prior to the fruit, the combination could potentially lead to gas and bloating.
- GRILLED CHEESE AND CANNED TOMATO SOUP
You may be craving a warm meal for lunch such as tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich but keep in mind this could give you a stomach ache soon after. The acid from the soup, when combined with the cheese, can be tough to digest.
Another reason to avoid this combo is that canned tomato soup tends to be high in sugar and the grilled cheese is high in fat and carbohydrates. The meal also contains little protein and a high level of sodium. If you can’t give up this classic duo, try substituting the regular tomato soup for low-sodium tomato soup with no added sugar. Swap out the white bread for whole-grain bread and use low-fat cheese.
- SAUSAGE AND BISCUITS
Unfortunately, this tasty meal is loaded with carbs and fats that can irritate digestion. This pairing can cause bloating, gas, and nausea. Aside from your digestion having to work extra hard to process this combo, the meal also increases insulin levels which leads to more problems for your body.
Dr. Keith Kantor, CEO of NAMED PROGRAM, said "when insulin levels are high the body does not burn its own fat for fuel, instead it uses the glucose from the high carbohydrate food consumed as fuel and will end up storing the fat and excess carbohydrates for later, resulting in weight gain and sub-optimal metabolism".
- WINE AND DESSERT
It’s best to not pair wine with dessert because according to Women’s Day, the alcohol interferes with blood sugar by increasing levels of insulin. Let’s say that you decide to have a glass of wine with a slice of chocolate cake. Because of the increase of insulin, the sugar from the cake will turn into fat leading to weight gain.
Instead, consider having that glass of wine with dinner. You could then opt for a coffee or tea with your dessert.
- MUFFIN AND ORANGE JUICE
A muffin and orange juice may seem like a quick breakfast to get you going in the morning, however, it will probably leave you feeling drained shortly after. This happens because the meal has an excess of carbs. These carbs cause your blood sugar to peak and then crash quickly, leaving you feeling fatigued shortly after.
To avoid fatigue, you could eat a whole grain muffin for added fiber. Instead of drinking orange juice with your muffin, try using orange zest in your muffin recipe or have a few slices of fresh orange on the side. By doing this you’re adding fiber to your diet from the whole fruit and muffin. You are also avoiding the high amount of sugar in the orange juice.