Why: Fruit goes quickly through the stomach and digests in the
intestines. When you combine fruit with foods that take longer to digest — such
as meat, grains, and even low-water fruits like bananas, dried fruit, and
avocados — it stays too long in your stomach and starts to ferment, because
fruit, says Alder, really acts like a sugar.
Bhaswati Bhattacharya, MD, a
holistic health counselor and physician in New York City, agrees. “Sugars are
actually not easy to digest, according to Ayurveda, because they are heavy and require good fire to process.
That is why fruits should be eaten alone.” Bhattacharya adds that fruits
(especially fresh, seasonal fruits) are also “energetically purifying foods and
complete foods,” and to combine them with proteins and carbs takes away their
Instead: Eat fruit 30 to 60 minutes before your meals. When fruit is
eaten alone on an empty stomach before a meal, it prepares the digestive tract
for what’s to come. Water rinses and hydrates the tract, fiber sweeps and
cleanses it, and enzymes activate the chemical process of digestion. That’s
why, says Alder, eating fruit first makes the digestive tract “more capable of
absorbing nutrition.” After a meal, wait at least three hours before eating
fruit. It’s best to eat most fruits on their own — especially melons, because
they are high in sugar and enzymes specific to each melon. If you want to
experiment with food combining, eating fruit alone is a great first step.