Blog Nutrition Bad Food Combinations: 10 Plus Foods That Should Not Be Eaten Together

Bad Food Combinations: 10 Plus Foods That Should Not Be Eaten Together

According to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical practice, there are certain food combinations that one should avoid because they can cause delayed digestion, gas, and bloating. In some cases, it is said that the food combinations may even form toxins in the body and cause more harm than good (11). To solve this, Ayurveda has come up with a process of matching and eating specific foods together in order to improve digestion and make the most of nutrients absorbed from them. Food combining is not based on modern nutritional science. In fact, some of its principles go against modern health recommendations. That said,  if you feel like this diet works for you and you like the structure of the rules, it probably won’t cause you any harm either.


What Are Bad Food Combinations?

The Ayurvedic food combination diet pairs foods according to:

  • Compatible pH levels – certain foods are said to have an alkaline-forming effect on the body while others are more acidic. It’s believed that pairing foods with compatible pH levels makes digestion more efficient.
  • Digestion speeds – some foods digest faster than others. Proponents of food combining say that pairing foods with similar digestion speeds is best to avoid overloading the digestive system and making it inefficient. 

Based on these principles, you have three rules:

Foods That Can Be Eaten Together

  • Starches + non-starchy vegetables
  • Protein + non-starchy vegetables 

Foods That Shouldn’t Be Eaten Together 

  • Starches and protein 
  • Protein and other protein 

 Foods That Should Be Eaten Separately

  • Fruits – they should be eaten 20 minutes before a meal or on an empty stomach 
  • Dairy foods

bad food combinations

The Bad Food Combinations List

There are several food pairings that (according to proponents of Ayurvedic food pairing) may wreak havoc on your digestive system. They include:

Soda And Pizza

It doesn’t take an ancient medical practice to tell you this – soda and pizza are not great for you. There are a number of reasons why. 

First, pizza is high in fat, and not the good type. The fat is the saturated kind. Diets high in saturated fat can put you at higher risk for heart disease (8).

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Second, it’s also high in salt and spiciness which can be difficult on the digestive system. Salty foods also lead to water retention, which can throw your weight into a spin (8). Salt can also affect your blood pressure, especially if you have hypertension.

Finally, eating these two foods together could lead to carb overload. And because they are both rich in simple carbs,  your body is likely to crave more, which could lead to weight gain over time if you eat that way often (8).

Soda is similarly problematic by being very acidic. The combination of soda with pizza may overwhelm the digestive system causing discomfort.

White Bread And Jam

While a slice of white bread and jam for breakfast might be the quickest breakfast you can make before rushing off to start your day, it’s certainly not the healthiest. It’s a bad food combination because it’s low in protein and fat and extremely high in simple carbs. This sets you up for a terrible day, food-wise.

First of all, the sugar in jam is likely to give you energy for an hour or so. When it wears off, however, you are likely to be hungry again soon. Secondly, white bread is made from highly processed flour that does very little for your digestive system. It essentially just turns into sugar and will never keep you full for long.

There are some times when this pairing would make a perfect snack – like before you hit the gym and need a light, quick-digesting energy boost. However, other than that it’s a bad food combination.

To make this food combination better, swap the jam for some protein-rich nut butter that also offers a dose of satiating, healthy fats. And swap the white bread for fiber-rich whole grain bread.

Read More: The Renal Diet List Of Foods: How To Eat For Kidney Health

bad food combinations

Salad And Low-Fat Dressing

It seems logical to think that a salad paired with a low-fat dressing would be a great choice for weight loss. Unfortunately, it’s not the best food combination in terms of digestion and health, according to Ayurveda.

Some experts suggest that combining fat-free dressings (and other fat-free items) is not virtuous at all since skipping out on fat can lead to cravings later on. In other words, you might be so hungry that you give in and overeat (5).

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Furthermore, there are nutrients in a salad that can’t be absorbed in the absence of fat. Such nutrients include beta-carotene, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids (9).

Instead, it’s better to have a small amount of healthy fat with your salad-like a drizzle of olive oil and a nut-based dressing. You may also add avocado slices to your salad for a boost of healthy fats.

Moderation is key, however. A large amount of fat with a salad may lead to digestive discomfort and if you end up consuming more calories than you need, the weight gain that comes with it.

Iron-Rich Foods And Coffee

It’s common to have iron-rich foods like a spinach omelet for breakfast alongside a cup of coffee or tea. Unfortunately the polyphenols and tannins in tea, and the chlorogenic acid in coffee can reduce the absorption of iron (13).

For women of menstruation and child bearing age, this can be an issue since iron is essential for proper health and energy levels.

Eating these foods together could lead to a lack of energy and general feeling of ill-health if you aren’t getting enough iron (13). The solution? Skip the tea or coffee when you eat your iron-rich meal and wait at least two hours before drinking any other beverages with caffeine in them.

On the other hand, vitamin C can help increase non-heme iron absorption (12). If you must have coffee with your breakfast, make sure to eat something that’s high in vitamin C like citrus fruits or some red bell peppers along with a source of iron at lunchtime.

bad food combinations

Citrus Fruits And Milk

Milk and orange juice are common features on a breakfast table. It seems like a good way to start your day, but it’s actually a bad food combination.

According to ancient Ayurvedic literature, sour fruits like oranges should not be paired with milk. This food combination is a bad idea for a few reasons. First of all, they claim that because citrus fruits are acidic they can disrupt the balance of your stomach’s digestive enzymes making digestion difficult (11). In reality, your stomach itself is a very acidic environment due to the hydrochloric acid it produces to aid digestion. It is unlikely that the acidity of citrus fruits has any effect at all on the pH of your digestive system.

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Milk is also high in lactose sugar that requires an enzyme called lactase to break it down properly into glucose and galactose. Without this enzyme, you are more likely to suffer from gas, bloating, and indigestion after drinking milk (1).

If you follow the Ayurvedic food pairing principle, instead of having orange juice with milk, make sure to eat your citrus fruit on its own, preferably 20 minutes after you’ve had your breakfast.

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Breakfast Cereal And Orange Juice

Most breakfast cereals are  fortified with vitamins and minerals that are great for your health. Unfortunately, they’re not so good when eaten with orange juice.

Juices like orange juice contain high amounts of sugar that can trigger a spike in blood sugar levels (10). Combined with sugary cereal, this meal can cause a blood sugar spike which leads to a crash in energy levels about an hour later.

Instead, have cereal with other options like soy milk or fresh whole fruit. Go easy on the dried fruits though since they can be high in calories and sugar content.


Wine And Dessert

A glass of wine with your favorite chocolate mousse may seem like the perfect way to end a nice dinner, but it’s not.  In fact, there are a few reasons why it’s not a good combination.

First of all, alcohol slows down the digestive process since it interferes with your stomach’s enzymes and bile production. This means you’ll likely be feeling bloated and full after eating your favorite chocolate mousse (7).

In addition to that, the sugar in the mousse will be absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, which can trigger fatigue and possible sugar cravings. The best thing to do is to end your meal with a cup of herbal tea or some fresh fruit.

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If you must have your wine, make sure to drink it on its own so you won’t interfere with digestion. Then wait a while before you have anything sweet to eat.

Chips And Salsa

Chips are usually salty and crunchy, which makes them a perfect companion for salsa. The problem is that chips are high in processed carbohydrates that break down into sugar rapidly to give you an energy boost (4).

Although salsa is low in calories, it lacks the fat and protein needed to slow down the digestion process. This means you’ll feel hungry soon after eating chips and salsa, making it a dangerous food combination for weight loss.

The best thing to do is swap the salsa for guacamole and limit yourself to a handful of chips. Guacamole is made from avocado, a healthy fat that slows down digestion and prevents the body from absorbing high amounts of sodium.

Bacon And Eggs

Bacon and eggs are a classic breakfast food that’s been enjoyed for generations. Unfortunately, this breakfast food combination is a bad idea according to Ayurveda due to the high amounts of protein and fat.

Your stomach needs time to produce enough acid that can break down proteins. A combination of two proteins has a particularly long digestion process (3).

Furthermore, bacon is high in saturated fat while eggs are high in cholesterol, which can cause fatty deposits to form on the artery walls over time. This increases your chance of developing heart disease and stroke.

The best thing to do is eat bacon or eggs either with some whole-wheat toast or some fresh fruit. Protein and fat can be combined together in a more ideal ratio with whole grains than with products like eggs.

Read More: Low Carb Desserts: The Dos And Don’ts Of Having A Treat On The Keto Diet

bad food combinations

Pasta With Tomato And Cheese  Sauce

Tomato sauce is acidic in nature, while spaghetti is made from carbohydrates that break down into glucose quickly, which can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels (4). In addition, pasta lacks the protein needed to balance out this meal.

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In fact, when you have tomato sauce with pasta, you’re mostly eating carbohydrates. This means you’ll feel hungry soon after eating your meal, which can lead to unhealthy snacking later on.

The solution? Pair whole wheat pasta with a protein and add some vegetables like mushrooms or spinach for extra fiber and nutrients.

Cheese And Crackers 

A plate of crackers with cheese is one of the worst food combinations ever because it’s high in salt, fat, and processed carbs.

Cheese is high in saturated fat (6). Crackers are low in fiber and easy to break down so they will raise your blood sugar levels quickly.

In addition, crackers lack the fiber needed to slow down digestion so you’ll feel hungry soon after eating them.

The solution? Serve cheese with whole wheat bread for dipping. Whole wheat contains more fiber than crackers, which slows down digestion and prevents your body from absorbing too much salt.

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bad food combinations

Roasted Nuts And Beer

If you’ve been to a bar, you’ll notice that peanuts are usually served with beer. While this food combination might not sound too bad, you should know that roasted nuts are high in salt while beer can cause dehydration (14).

Putting the two together makes it even worse because both have diuretic properties that can make you even more dehydrated. This may worsen conditions like acid reflux, and can cause you to feel bloated (2).

If you absolutely have to have a beer with your roasted nuts, just make sure you drink plenty of water after your meal.

The Bottom Line

Some food combinations can yield a negative effect, according to Ayurveda. In general, proponents believe that it’s best to keep your meals as simple as possible and eat foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories. This way, you can save yourself from feeling hungry all the time and cut back on weight gain over time.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. [Lactose intolerance and the consumption of milk products] (1997,
  2. Abdominal Bloating Pathophysiology and Treatment (2013,
  3. Adverse Effects Associated With Protein Intake Above Recommended Dietary Allowance for Adults (2013,
  4. Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar (2015,
  5. Change in food cravings, food preferences, and appetite during a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet (2011,
  6. Dietary fat and functional dyspepsia (2016,
  7. Drinking alcohol during a rich meal slows down digestion, but does not increase indigestion, study finds (2010,
  8. Energy and Nutrient Intake From Pizza in The United States (2015,
  9. Fat-Soluble Vitamins – Diet and Health (n.d.,
  10. Fruit Juices: Are They Helpful or Harmful? An Evidence Review (2021,
  11. Incompatible Food Combining (n.d.,
  12. Interaction of vitamin C and iron (1980,
  13. Iron absorption and phenolic compounds: importance of different phenolic structures (1989,
  14. The Diuretic Action of Weak and Strong Alcoholic Beverages In Elderly Men: A Randomized Diet-Controlled Crossover Trial (2017,
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