Dissociated Diet: How It works?

When describing the Dissociated Diet, the first thing to say is that it goes against virtually everything we’ve been taught about food and nutrition for years and years. Here goes – the DD revolves around the concept of eating only certain food groups as a meal, whether it’s all vegetables, all starch or all fats, for example.

How does it work?

The Dissociated Diet (DD) presents the suggestion that alkaline and acidic foods can’t be digested together, though experts have agreed there is no scientific basis for this.

Father of the DD, Dr William Howard Hay (who founded the idea in 1990), believed that eating multiple food types during one meal sitting would overwork the human digestive system, slowing down metabolism and put excess pressure on the digestive organs.

The reasoning is that the body has to produce and secrete different enzymes for acidic and alkaline foods. Dr Howard also theorized that in eating just one type of food each meal, you’re more likely to eat more slowly.

Unfortunately, this assumption is made based on the fact that eating just one type of food, is less exciting than eating a balanced meal. But then, diets often involve making sacrifices.

Though we often hear from celebrities being forced to eat nothing but chicken for months on end and how unpleasant this becomes…

It could be that the DD is useful if strictly followed for a matter weeks or months and then a more sustainably long-term diet is adopted after this period.

What is on the menu?

There are three main food groups associated with the dissociated diet which are: protein, starch and neutral foods. The diet avows that you can combine proteins with neutral foods and starches with neutral foods but that you should avoid combining proteins and starches.

This is because the combination of protein and starch is shown to create an optimum environment for disease-causing pathogens in the intestines.

Tips to succeed

Let’s be honest. The majority of us would probably grow very bored with eating just one food type for each meal after very little time, hence why we made the point about limiting your time following this diet above.

To get the best results out of the DD, plan to follow it for a limited time only and don’t go off the beaten track during this time. This is a much more productive approach than committing to it full-time and then falling off the wagon regularly: in short, be realistic.

This is a diet suited to people who are committed to putting time and energy into reading labels, researching online and planning meals. Planning meals will be crucial in not caving to peer pressure when you go out with friends to the restaurant or someone turns up at work with a box full of doughnuts!


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  • callum young says:

    Great read, I tried this diet and I did lose a bit of weight as it helped me eat less however it is quite restrictive. Though, I did enjoy it for the week I tried it!