Dissociated diet

Dissociated diet

What is the Dissociated Diet?

The dissociated diet, described for the first time in the book Food Allergy , published in 1931 by Dr. William Howard Hay, is a diet widely used throughout the international diet scene.

The leitmotif of this diet is represented by the possibility of gaining in well-being and figure, through the correct association of the various foods.In particular, the classic dissociated diet and its variants are based on very strict rules, which prohibit the association of certain foods within the same meal or even on the same day.

This concept has been taken up and revisited by other authors, giving rise to a long list of diets based, at least in part, on the theory of “good and bad food combinations”.


Rules to Follow

Precisely because of this heterogeneity, we will try to classify, in order of importance, the 10 main rules on which dissociated diets are based.

Correctly associating foods means:

  1. In the same meal, eat only one concentrated food or several “compatible” foods (generally belonging to the same category )
  2. Do not combine protein-rich foods with carbohydrate -based foods within the same meal , especially if they are high in sugar
  3. Avoid combining protein sources of different nature (for example meat and fish or legumes and dairy products)
  4. Eat complex carbohydrates and sugars in separate meals
  5. Abandoning the classic habit of concluding a meal with fruit and/or dessert ; it is better to consume these foods alone and at different times of the day
  6. The body balance is disturbed by the modern lifestyle, which favors the accumulation of toxins to the point of compromising the functionality of the entire organism. To defend against the pitfalls of this dangerous condition, it is necessary to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables, smoothies and vegetable broths which, together with caloric moderation and correct food associations, favor the detoxification of the organism
  7. If on the one hand the dissociated diet encourages the intake of plant foods, on the other it warns against the dangers of a diet too rich in animal products ( cardiocirculatory and metabolic diseases and some forms of cancer )
  8. The consumption of carbohydrates must be maximum during the early stages of the day and gradually decrease as you approach dinner
  9. The most abundant meal should be eaten from 13 to 16 in the afternoon, always taking care not to combine carbohydrates and proteins
  10. Dinner must be rich in protein foods and almost completely exclude carbohydrates, with the exception of the complex ones contained in vegetables or in small quantities of whole grains

The first seven points are the backbone of dissociated diets that are more attentive to the health aspect and aimed above all at the prevention of gastrointestinal problems linked to bad eating habits ( aerophagia , flatulence , tiredness , postprandial loss of concentration , etc.).

Rules 8, 9, and 10 are instead more common in diets intended for athletes and people wishing to gain in line and physical efficiency (see chronodiet and glycogen supercompensation ).


Physiological bases

The rules proposed by the dissociated diet are not entrusted to chance, but based on more or less solid scientific foundations.

The entire digestive process is in fact mediated by a series of chemical, mechanical and enzymatic reactions which interact with each other.

Let’s look at some key points:

  • while simple carbohydrates are digested and absorbed very rapidly, foods rich in starch , after being partially digested by salivary amylase ( ptyalin ), require a more laborious process which is completed in the small intestine . Sweets and sugary fruit should therefore be eaten alone and away from meals, with the exception of apples and pineapple.
  • While at the gastric level the digestion of proteins takes advantage of a particularly acidic environment, the same conditions inhibit the activity of ptyalin . Fats , thanks to their retarding effect on the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, make protein digestion more difficult but favor that of starches, which takes advantage of an environment close to neutrality .
  • Green light therefore for the marriage of fats and starchy foods, red light instead for the association of proteins with foods rich in carbohydrates. Some supporters of the dissociated diet allow you to combine protein foods rich in fat with small quantities of starches, while the association of proteins and vegetables is always welcome which, due to their salt content, favor the enzymatic action and counteract the putrefactive processes .
  • Points 8, 9 and 10 are instead based on the study of circadian rhythms and the influence of the various hormones on the body’s metabolism (for more information see: Dr. Todisco’s chronodiet ).


Does the split diet work?

At this point it is right to ask whether the biochemical and physiological rules set out in this last paragraph are sufficient to decree the success and scientific nature of the dissociated diet.

Generally speaking, the answer is negative, since a healthy organism is perfectly capable of tolerating the most disparate combinations of nutrients , you know the expression: “that person would digest even stones”?!.

However, this simple observation does not authorize us to demonize the dissociated diet or to mock those who support us. Indeed, some aspects of this food model deserve the right attention.

Praiseworthy are, for example, the advice to increase the proportion of plant foods in one’s diet, to distribute the caloric intake in at least three main meals and not to exaggerate with fats and condiments.

It is more difficult to agree on the role of correct food associations which, although important and in some cases fundamental for the resolution of the most common digestive problems , risk unnecessarily subtracting flavour, imagination and balance from one’s diet.

Many of us, from personal experience, know that we cannot tolerate the association of certain foods but this does not authorize us to think that this rule is valid for everyone.

By dwelling on the chemical analysis of the foods in question, we will probably discover that it is not so much the particular mix of macronutrients that disturbs us , but rather the foods themselves. In some cases it is sufficient to change the origin of the ingredients or the cooking methods to bypass the problem.

In other words, sometimes we blame incorrect food associations when in reality the problem is another ( food intolerances , excessive stress , bad chewing, poor cooking, dietary habits and incorrect lifestyle, etc.).

The dissociated diet is not a panacea, but a food model with positive and negative aspects, which must be known and faced with a critical spirit. Those who defend it staunchly are wrong, but those who dispute it without taking into account some of its elements are also wrong, which, despite the criticisms, are perfectly in line with the latest health acquisitions.



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