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A novel concept to dieting and weight loss seems to have gained traction over the past few years. Combination diets, based on the principle of segregating macronutrients like proteins and carbohydrates. They claim that when carbohydrates and proteins are eaten together, their enzymes cancel each other out, halting the digestive process and causing weight gain. They restrict foods that contain both carbohydrates and proteins such as dairy & dairy products, pulse, daals, soy & soy products as they are combinations of proteins and carbohydrates. For example, eating chapattis with rice; or yogurt with daal; or combining roti with daal and/ or chicken and so on.

This approach not only creates confusion with respect to healthy eating messages but can also lead to compromised nutrition over a period of time, as we may miss out on the benefits of many foods and end up in nutritional deficiencies.

While, food combination diets may help you lose weight to some extent because of reduction in your daily intake due to elimination of numerous foods and food groups, but such diets are based on non-scientific principles. Foods usually are a combination of nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins and fats in various proportions. For example, cereals, pulses, dairy and nuts are all a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that they cannot be digested in the body successfully.

Further, they violate the most important principle of healthy eating i.e. variety. Combining different food groups and encouraging variety within each food group is one way of ensuring that your body gets all the nutrients it needs. For instance, having multigrain flour chapatti with vegetables, daal and yogurt is far superior nutritionally toeatingjust a wheat chapatti with vegetables with the same calories. Also, combination of daals with chapatti helps to make a complete protein value of the meal, as individually, both are incomplete sources of protein- a principle known as complimentary value of protein.

Such regimes, such as combination diets neither encourage healthy eating nor establish safe and permanent weight loss. They are not easy to follow long-term and can be counterproductive, if followed for longer duration. 

Thus, the key to healthy weight loss is to understand food better, customize it your needs, reduce calorie intake, optimize nutrients, control portion sizes, and follow an active lifestyle.