Belching after a meal is often not caused by swallowed air, but from gas and fermentation in the stomach due to improperly combined foods.

Many Americans have gotten so used to indigestion that they consider it virtually a normal way of life, routinely tolerating stomachaches, cramps, gas, diarrhea, constipation and the like. The SCDiet can often solve this problem without the use of antacids and other pharmaceuticals.  Occasionally, however, we need a little more help, especially in the beginning of SCD, and can tackle the science of combining foods for even better digestion and absorption.


Every day we eat a variety of foods containing proteins, carbohydrates and fats from meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, etc. The body requires a variety of foods to meet its needs. Each category of food requires different enzymes to digest them, and each category has its own timetable of digestion. This means that in order to achieve optimal digestibility and absorption, it is helpful to monitor food combinations.


Fortunately, there are just a few simple rules to follow in order to correctly combine foods to get the most benefits from them:

Do not combine SCD simple carbohydrates with highly saturated fats. Simple carbohydrates/ sugars in fruits (fructose) are high-glycemic foods and normally digest quickly. Saturated fats, such as in red meat, may take up to four hours to digest, however. When eaten together, the saturated fat slows the digestive process down for both during this period. The intestinal microbes have more time to feed on the carbohydrates/sugars (their favorite food) which can lead to damage of the digestive tract lining, causing leaky gut syndrome and digestive disturbances. The problem can be especially pronounced for those who also have insufficient stomach acid due to stress, aging or medications.

Since fruits are normally digested very quickly, it is recommended to eat fruits as an appetizer a half-hour before a meal, rather than as a dessert. When you eat fruits with other foods you slow their digestion. The fruit sits and can ferment until all foods are ready to move on together. This, again, can allow damaging microorganisms such as Candida to gain a foothold in the body.

If you choose to eat your steak (red meat) and fruits together, and continue to have digestive problems, you may need to consider taking SCD legal digestive enzymes to ensure you have adequate levels of stomach acid.

Just say no to dessert. The worst thing you can do is to put a simple carb on top of a healthful, balanced meal. Honey-sweetened high-glycemic desserts, which would normally be digested rapidly, instead sit and ferment while the whole meal undergoes lengthier digestion.

If you're going to eat sweets, it's best to eat them on an empty stomach for optimal digestion. The exception to the rule, however, is for diabetics: They should eat protein first and then very limited amounts of honey-sweetened foods or fruits second, so as not to shoot their blood sugar up too quickly. Treat sweets as special treats rather than everyday events. Chew them very slowly and thoroughly . . . so the pleasure lasts longer.

Chew foods very thoroughly until they are virtually in liquid form before swallowing. The more food is broken down in the mouth, the more readily it can pass through the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.


Of course, combining foods correctly is only part of an overall digestive strategy that includes a rich variety of whole foods and an abundance of healthy fats: Essential Fatty Acids from wild salmon, avocados, olive oil, nuts, etc.   

Health enthusiasts also strongly caution against antacid use. Clever advertising seduces many consumers with digestive challenges to reach for these, when in reality Americans suffer from a shortage, rather than excess, of stomach acid. Also, limit sipping/drinking liquids during meals. They dilute digestive enzymes.

Whatever your digestive challenges, rest assured that there's a solution for you. Patience and persistence in fine-tuning the SCDiet and making simple, healthful, common sense choices should restore digestive health to the most stubborn of problems.

Kay Stence