Biochemistry of Nutrition

The relationship between diet and well being dates back as early as 400 BC and is found in the principles established by Hippocrates.

I believe personal performance is correlated to cell nutrition.  Proper nutrition is not only based on choice of correct foods, but how they are combined.  The improper combination of food groups will surround the cell with toxins rather than nutrients. This leads to weakness and disease, exhibited first in the athlete by poor performance.

Indigestion of food occurs in the absence of digestive juices.  Indigestion causes bacteria to activate fermentation of sugars and starches and putrefaction of proteins.  The end products of fermentation and putrefaction are toxins.  If toxins predominate in the media surrounding our cells then cellular death ensues with the immediate effect exhibited by poor performance in any activity.

Digestion begins in the mouth only for carbohydrates and no other food group.  Food passes from the mouth then enters the stomach.  Five million microscopic glands are embedded in the stomach for the purpose of secretion of specific digestive juices.  The secretions within the stomach are timed, ranging from nearly neutral to strongly acid in reaction specific to food eaten.  Further, the digestive juices contain pepsin and lipase to act on proteins and fats, respectively.

To support my premise, I will present biochemical principles for proper digestion.  These principles are derived from the research of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (Russian Biochemist).  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his work on digestive secretions.



Fruits require minimal, if any, digestion in the mouth and stomach and are quickly sent to the intestines where they undergo any needed digestion.  Fruits eaten with other food groups are delayed in reaching the intestine.  In addition, the acid in some of the fruits disrupts carbohydrate and protein metabolism.  Fermentation follows any time fruits are combined with other food groups.  Further, the acid conditions caused by fermentation will halt the digestion of carbohydrates and proteins.  Therefore, bacterial decomposition of the mixed food groups occurs with subsequent formation of toxins.  Eat fruits prior to a meal, usually 20 minutes.  Do not eat fruit in between meals when the process of other digestion is still underway.

Acid-Starch Combination1,2,3,4

Ptyalin, an enzyme that converts starch to maltose, is acted upon in the intestine by maltase to form dextrose.  Maltase and ptyalin are not interchangeable.  Ptyalin is preparatory to the end result of dextrose, sucrose, maltose and maltotriose that is the goal.  The mixed food is acid at the start.  Hydrolysis (enzymatic digestion of starch) from the saliva is halted.  The acids within the foods such as tomatoes, berries, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, pineapples, sour apples, sour grapes and other sour fruits destroy ptyalin in the saliva and suspend starch digestion in the stomach.  Undigested carbohydrates will undergo fermentation with the end products of alcohol and acetic acid rather than dextrose.  Therefore, eat acids and starches at separate meals.

Protein-Starch Combination1,2,3,4

The gastric juices secreted respective to the two food groups differ in physical/chemical composition.  For example, when bread is eaten the digestive juices are secreted in sequence to digest the carbohydrates then the protein.  The first phase is neutral, with the second phase of secretion containing hydrochloric acid to digest the protein.  When meat is intermixed with bread the acid secretions required for proteins are poured out immediately suspending starch digestion.  With the digestion of carbohydrates suspended, bacterial breakdown follows, and toxic end products result.  To avoid this, eat protein foods and carbohydrate foods at separate meals.

Protein-Protein Combination1,2,3,4

Conversion of protein to amino acids follows a sequence of specific enzymatic reactions.  First pepsin converts protein to peptones after which the peptones are acted upon by erepsin to produce amino acids.  Literature validates that digestive secretions are timed.  When milk and flesh products are intermixed the strongest digestive juices are poured out in the last hour for milk and the first hour for flesh.  Additional problems occur when milk is mixed with any food.  Milk turns to curds as it enters the stomach.  Curds engulf other food particles in the stomach.  Until the curd is digested, the engulfed food particle remains untouched.  The fat in the curd inhibits pepsin from being secreted.  In the absence of pepsin, bacteria will activate putrefaction of proteins with subsequent toxins formed.  Specifically, flesh and eggs; flesh and nuts; flesh and cheese; eggs and milk; eggs and nuts; cheese and nuts; milk and nuts, and the like should not occur.  Try to eat one concentrated protein group at a meal.

Acid-Protein Combination1,2,3,4

Acids inhibit the outpouring of gastric juice.  Even though the digestion of protein occurs in an acid environment, other acids, for example, from fruits will inhibit the gastric secretions and in turn limit or destroy the release of pepsin.  Acid end products of fermentation also affect the release of gastric juice.  Also, salad dressings that contain lemon juice or vinegar inhibit the secretion of hydrochloric acid.  Under these conditions, bacteria will activate putrefaction.

Additionally, pepsin acts only in an acid medium.  Pepsin is destroyed in an alkaline environment, precipitated by alcohol and retarded in low temperature environments as with iced drinks on top of a meal.  In the absence of enzymes, putrefaction of proteins occurs with subsequent formation of toxins rather than amino acids.  An end product of putrefaction, ethionine, is a confirmed animal carcinogen.  Therefore, eat proteins and acids at separate meals.

Fat-Protein Combination1,2,3,4

Fats will inhibit the secretion of gastric juice.  Also, fat lowers the amount of pepsin and hydrochloric acid in gastric juice.  Creams, butter and oils should not be mixed with nuts, eggs or fish.  If these conditions occur, bacteria will activate putrefaction.  Fats and proteins are to be eaten at separate meals.

Sugar-Protein Combination1,2,3,4

Sugars undergo their digestion in the small intestine, not in the mouth or stomach.  When mixed with other foods they are held in the stomach until the digestion of the other foods occur.  Under the conditions of warmth and moisture of the gut these sugars will ferment rapidly.  Acids from fermentation will inhibit the gastric secretions necessary for protein digestion.  These conditions cause the suspension of digestion with subsequent toxins forming during fermentation of sugars and putrefaction of proteins. Make sure to eat protein and sugars at separate meals.

Sugar-Starch Combination1,2,3,4

Again, sugars are held in the stomach awaiting the digestion of starches.  The consequent acidic environment from the fermentation of sugars will halt the digestion of starches.  Toxins will occur from the breakdown products of these food groups.  This is evidenced by most America’s breakfasts leading to a sour stomach and eructation.  An additional complication can occur when sugars are eaten with starches.  Sugars cause the secretion of saliva devoid of ptyalin.  Consequently starch with sugar may prevent the adaptation of saliva with starch, i.e., little or no ptyalin being secreted.


Milk, with its composition of fat and protein, combines very poorly with all foods.  The fat in the milk will inhibit secretion of gastric juice.  The gastric juice that is secreted will have lower amounts of pepsin and hydrochloric acid.  Additionally milk that enters the stomach will form curds and these curds surround food particles, insulating them from gastric juices.  Digestion is unlikely for the engulfed food particles.  Once the curd is assimilated the food particle will undergo fermentation of petrifaction, depending if it is a carbohydrate or protein, respectively.  Therefore, take milk alone.

In summary, performance gauged by strength and endurance originates at the cellular level where nutrients from proper digestion are to prevail.  Unfortunately diet wellness programs leave out the following facts:  1.) the American diet leads to the assimilation of toxins consequent to the improper combination of foods; and,  2.) diet wellness programs do not recommend the need to alter improper food combinations.

1Ganong, William F., MD  Review of Medical Physiology.  Los Altos California:  Lange Medical Publications, 1971.

2Wigmore, Ann.  Rebuild Your Health With High Energy Enzyme Nourishment.  Living Foods Lifestyle  (Available from the Ann Wigmore Foundation), (1991).

3Shelton, Herbert M.  Food Combining Made Easy.  Willow Publishing , Inc.:  San Antonio, Texas, 1994.

4Jensen, Bernard, DC, Ph.D.  The Science and Practice of Iridology (Volume I).  Bernard Jensen Publisher, 1952.


Dr. Brancato’s cumulative experience in nutrition, alternative medicine, chemistry, toxicology, physiology directed him to holistic approaches in human physiology to correct system imbalances. He maintains his professional certifications as a Naturopath from the American Naturopathic Medical Certification and Accreditation Board; the National Federation of Professional Trainers; Black belts in Kick Boxing and Kenpo.