Have You Heard of Trophology?

Zachary B.

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Trophology_PhotoWhat if you were told the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich was a bad idea?  Or that having a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice with your morning cereal could leave you feeling sorry?  Nonsense you’d say, but this is the new order of the day, according to trophology, a scientific approach to how we should combine our food groups.

Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins make up our everyday meals, but how should they be eaten?   Once upon a time, a food pyramid told us how much to eat, but not when or how to eat them.  Trophology advocates a change from this, stating that a more scientific approach to eating will ease digestion. 

We all know that digestion begins in the mouth as we chew our food into tiny pieces, but chemical digestion only begins for carbohydrates, which kickoff breakdown by the enzyme amylase in our saliva.  Proteins, however, must wait for chemical digestion by pepsin and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, while most fats need to wait even longer.  Did you know that the majority of fats are only digested after passage into the small intestine?  Or that the work of salivary amylase on your pizza crust stops once it reaches the stomach and will not begin chemical digestion again until it also passes into the small intestine?

Advocates for trophology feel that digestion is orderly and systematic, but throwing heavy combinations of the wrong foods into our body at once can cause an imbalance.  Using our peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an illustration, trophology would argue that the protein in the peanut butter would delay the passage of the carbohydrate in our bread to the small intestine.  As a result, digestion slows allowing the carbohydrate to ferment causing bloat and gas.  An alternative example would be mixing your cereal and the acidic orange juice.  While some acidity is good for killing bacteria, acidity can also inhibit the salivary amylase that begins digesting the carbohydrate in your cereal.  As a result, the acid has slowed the cereal’s smooth digestion and nutrient absorption.

Although it may seem impossible to completely separate out the food groups, here are a list of the some of the food combinations trophology advocates for smoother digestion:

·         Never mix carbohydrates + proteins

·         Never mix carbohydrates + acidic juices or fruits

·         Never mix proteins + fat

·         Never mix proteins + fruits

·         Vegetables can be mixed with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in any combination

·         Eat fruits alone, especially melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, etc) since these will rapidly digest once they reach the small intestine (less than 30 minutes)

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