3 food combinations nutritionist advises against

By Thuy Quynh   March 24, 2024 | 05:04 pm PT
Mixing alcohol with carbonated beverages, coupling milk with acidic foods, and combining tea with iron-rich foods are examples of food combinations that could potentially be detrimental to one's health.

Nutritionist Hai Yen, of the Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine, has stated that while there's no concrete scientific proof to suggest that improper food pairings could be fatal, it is clear that certain active compounds should not be consumed simultaneously in order to prevent interference with the body's nutrient absorption processes. The act of pairing foods in everyday meals might appear straightforward but actually necessitates a degree of scientific understanding to maintain optimal health.

The following list outlines foods that should not be paired.

Consumption of cow milk alongside acidic foods

Eating acidic foods, such as soft drinks or citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, while drinking cow's milk is not recommended.

The primary concern is that casein protein, which constitutes 80% of cow's milk, can react adversely with acids, leading to the formation of precipitates. Regular consumption of these combinations, especially in significant amounts, may thus result in digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, appetite loss, or even vomiting in young children.

Sliced oranges. Illustration photo by Pexels

Sliced oranges. Illustration photo by Pexels

Alcohol and energy drinks, carbonated beverages, or caffeinated drinks

Mixing beer or wine with carbonated drinks to improve taste is a common practice yet can lead to unexpected health issues. Carbonated beverages like soft drinks are rich in CO2 gas, which accelerates the absorption and systemic distribution of alcohol, particularly affecting the nervous system. This acceleration can cause symptoms including pains, drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and memory loss.

More alarmingly, such mixtures can cause the skin's blood vessels to widen while narrowing those within internal organs, potentially resulting in a rapid surge in blood pressure and introducing a multitude of health risks, including the possibility of death.

Caffeine-rich beverages like energy drinks and coffee, do not lower blood alcohol levels but instead mislead drinkers, causing them to underestimate their level of intoxication and possibly consume more alcohol. Consequently, this can disturb sleeping patterns, elevate the risk of alcohol poisoning, and extend the duration of alcohol's adverse effects.

Tea paired with foods rich in iron

The polyphenols and tannins in tea, when ingested alongside iron found in foods such as red meat and organ meats, hinder the body's ability to absorb these nutrients effectively.

In particular, the absorption of iron is reduced by high levels of polyphenols and tannins in the diet. Similarly, an excessively protein-rich diet, especially one high in iron, can diminish the antioxidative benefits of green tea.

As such, it is recommended to avoid consuming tea in conjunction with iron-rich foods. Ideally, a gap of at least one hour should be maintained between their consumptions.

This is particularly important for individuals at a higher risk of iron deficiency, including women of childbearing age, infants, and young children, who should be especially cautious of this advice.

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