Bore yourself thin

It's all down to 'sensory specific satiety', reports Jeremy Laurance

THERE IS only one diet that works and that is the one that involves eating (and drinking) fewer calories (or expending more in exercise). Every commercial diet offers different routes to this goal and some may be more or less successful in helping dieters achieve it. But there is no way of shortcircuiting this fundamental law of dieting.

The theory behind food combining is that different types of food are digested best in different chemical environments within our digestive systems. By keeping carbohydrates and proteins separate, the digestive system can be kept in balance and control of appetite becomes easier. Dr Nick Finer, head of the obesity clinic at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, explains, "The principles of the diet are mysterious and unscientific. If it works, and it may work, it is by restricting food intake. You could have a similar diet in which you were not allowed to combine red and green food. That would clearly restrict your food intake."

One issue unexplained by proponents of the diet is how normal eating, in which carbohydrates and proteins are routinely combined in the same meal, leads to weight gain. If the combination results in poor digestion, as the theory claims, that would mean fewer calories are absorbed, which should result in weight loss. Tom Sanders, professor of human nutrition at Kings College, London, says, "Food combining is a game people play to make eating difficult and unpleasant. It's a bit like saying you have got to stand on your head when you eat."

Eating only one type of food at a meal is a way of inducing "sensory specific satiety", which results in fewer calories being consumed. The principle is familiar to every child: there is always room for pudding.

Professor Sanders, who is the author with Peter Bazalgette of the anti- diet book, You Don't Have To Diet, believes, "The diet industry is a racket. The more money we spend on it, the fatter we get. Diet books are full of half truths and bogus science." For those who eat a high-fat diet - lots of chips, cakes and chocolate - the easiest way to cut the calories is to eat less fat. But for those already eating a low-fat diet there is only one option: eat less.

Jeremy Laurance is the Independent's Health Correspondent

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    KS1 Float Teacher

    £90 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay : Randstad Education Southampton: ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

    KS1 Primary Teacher in Bradford

    £21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: KS1 Primary Teacher in Br...

    Year 3 Primary Teacher in Keighley

    £21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 3 Primary Teacher in...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor