Food Combining

What do forum members think of the food-combining theories, advocated by the likes of John Berardi (i.e. Protein + Fat, Protein + carb meals etc. etc.)

Pseudo-science for the body-builders or sound nutritional sense for athletes?

when i read or hear food combining i think back to the book from the 70s called “fit for life” and it makes my skin crawl. i never did read it but it was a huge fad back in the day and some of my personal training clients swore by it.

anyway, macro combining makes a lot of sense and has had a real positive effect on my body since the JB seminar i was lucky enough to attend last oct.

I do try and follow the macronutrient combinations, P&F and P&C rules and I try and get the carbs in either early in the day or later depending on the training program for that day.

I do think it takes a little time to used to them and putting them into practice - but personally the chnages I’ve made have been SO worth it.

Sometimes it can be very hard to follow - in fact if I’m as a total 85%-90% strict to the rules for a whole day - I would count that as positive in my book.

Ok - Does it work?
Over the past 6 weeks I have probably made greater positive changes to my body and health than ever before … this is due to a number of reasons - but certainly the ‘JB rules’ have made a great impact and influence.
I’ve dropped fat and maintained strength levels - (so I presume LBM also).

And remember - ‘Health’ is the key word here …

I do feel though that for athletes who are running quite a bit - a slightly higher level of carb intake would be reccomended.
I’d love to hear what N4D has to say about this.
I think that Bodybuilders or more sedentary individuals can operate on lower levels of carbs - but sprinters or footballers I think would benefit from slightly higher Carb intake…
But - perhaps I’m wrong and JB (like Charles Poliquin - who stated ‘Carbs are overrated’) are bang on - the key to body cahnges is Carb manipulation.

The below are what I have based my eating on since June last year, I am very pleased :smiley:
Maximum Muscularity 1

Maximum Muscualrity 2

I read an article by JB where he has been using a very similar method lately with some athletes to very good effect.


"Protein intake should be set at 4.0-4.5g/kg of lean body mass "

Can you justify this? What were your gains? Strength, speed, body composition?

Body like Brad Pitt in Fight Club? (n4d will appreciate this…)

Firstly so we are completely clear here…I don’t justify anything :smiley: :smiley:
Serioulsy though my diet is based around the principles put forth there not verbatim. I have PMd one of the writers and asked him to join in.

Below is an outline of my diet.

I don’t get as many veges during the day as suggested as much due to the hassle involved but eat HEAPS of veges at night for dinner. I also only use vinegar post w/out as per JB reccomendations.

A typical day is

  1. 4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs scrambled
  2. Bowl of chicken (any meat not just breast) and fish tabs
  3. 250g cottage cheese with 1 Tablesspoon flaxseed mix (whole and crushed)
  4. PP with flaxseed mix and 1 Tablespoon flaxseed oil
  5. Post w/out = 1 scoop PP, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 heaped Tablespoon glucose
    10-15 mins later solid meal of P&C
  6. 2-2.5 hours later either another Protein shake as per 4 or Oatmeal/PP dessert.

hmmmmmmm did someone say dessert?

I have been experimenting a bit with pig out overfeeds on certain days rather than the Oatmeal/PP dessert. I am not totally convinced they work for me diet wise but it fits well with the family and my goal of not being so hmmmmm how can I put it? …particular this year :smiley:

As for gains I am not a sprinter although I do use HIIT in my training. Since June last year I have gone from 172lbs to 190lbs with minimal BF% gain. Strength has gone up as well (which one would hope). As much as anything I find it convenient and fits around my family, work and training.

I think any diet that effects you mentally is bogus. If the diet is messing with my head it’s gonna effect my performance in a bad way. Eat what you want, when you want; as long as it’s not horribly effecting your performance/gains/body composition goals it’s fine. I set cheats at once per month and so-so meals at one a day. A cheat is like a large pizza :slight_smile: and so-so meal is like General Tso’s Chicken. Of course, I often have 3 workouts (GPP, Weights, MMA/Cardio) a day so everything is sort-of in the “anabolic window”. But to follow this you gotta know what to eat when. P+C postworkout with more carbs (like 1/2 my meals :slight_smile: ). P+F before bed and whatever is available for the remaining 1 or 2 meals. Before serious competitions I cut down a bit on carbs.

That’s where we differ a little.
I think diets have a major bearing on ones mental perspective/attitude etc.

I agree with you here man …

If a diet is messing with your head - is it not (90% of the time) a bad diet?
Diets are bad for 2 reasons:
A. They are bad food choices or excessive/inadequate choices or
B. They are too drastic a change for the body to react to …
If we take a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is a very bad diet - 10 is perfect in terms of quantities and food choices.
No one goes from eating at scale 1 to 10 in one go.

I hear you man - I get the General Tsongs chicken here - ummmmm!!!

Damn 3 a days is tough going - never overtrain?

I also think it is good to have a stnadard daily diet that you can fall back on if things don’t go the way you planned that particlaur week/day or whatever.

I was just looking back over some of the diets and influences on athletic dieting and this is the short list of people who I have read or fallen for over the past say 10 years …

The ‘Eat right for Your Type’ Diet - (endorsed by Charles Poliquin)
Metabolic Diet - by Dr. Di Pasquale (Similar to next one below)
Metabolic Typing Diet or Natural Hormonal Enhancement (Originiated by Faigin)
John Berardi - (Massive Eating and food combining)
Will Brink - (Muscle Building Nutrition)
Body for Life by Bill Phillips - for the masses?
Haycock’s - Hypertrophy Specific Nutrition - for body building only)

… and there’s more … don’t worry we’re not finished yet …

‘No-Grain Diet’ by Dr. Jason Mercola
‘Burn the Fat - Feed The Muscle’ by Tom Venuto
‘Militant Body Opus’ by Dan Duchaine’s
‘Ketogenic Diet’ - Various Artists
‘The Warrior Diet’ (really a Paleolithic-hunter\gatherer type diet)
‘The Atkin’s Diet’ - by … well you know who …
‘The Zone Diet’
Nancy Clark

The ones I’ve ‘bolded’ are the ones I think are best suited to athletic careers on the whole.
The underlined ones I think are more suited to bodybuilding types.

Comments on any of the above guys … N4D?, Clemson, Herb etc.?

The key for any information is to not get upsett what is different…be alert to what they agree on. I use Zone meals (1/3 protein 2/3 healthy carbs from vegetables and fruits.) and Berardi Combos. The stuff that is different is usually the stuff that is what is use for marketing…

I like Colgans holistic approach, Sears’s science and real world simplicity, Berardi’s attention to detail, and my own willingness not to give in to anyone.

Darn - I knew I missed one big one - Colgan… and I find some of his stuff very good also.

Clemson - do you use much fruit outside of PWO meals?

I find fruit plays a little too much with my blood sugar.

I do take one (very small < 10 grams Carbs) piece of fruit with all my P&F meals - the fat slows the gastric emtpying rate so with P&F meals it doesn’t have that effect.

Apart from that I use exclusively Veg. for carbs - if carbs are falling low only then will I go to oatmeal or other carb sources.


Most of my coaching now is swimming and fueling seems to be an issue so carbs will provide an important role…but I think if you stick to berries you should be fine…try dried fruit (not the sugar coated stuff) like apricots and prunes. One apple should not create a problem!

Preworkout GPP can add more % carbs but comp phases seem to respond well to N4D’s cottage cheese suggestion. I think he really found something that works for speed athletes.

Yes- the Carb element is the crtical difference between any literature out there on dieting as most stuff is strength or bodybuilding focused where the use of macronutrients is very different than that of athletics or other sports.

I’ll try some of those suggestions - the dried fruit has many great possibilities …

I have tried the cottage cheese thing a while ago but I never really liked the taste however much I tried - but I’ll start trying it again …

GPP is for active recovery. 20 minutes before breakfast not even close to lactate threshold or muscular failure.

Weights is only heavy 3 times a week. The other times are just ancillary workouts like grip and abs.

MMA is mostly technical for me right now, but it’s still a great workout.

Cardio is tempo most of the time w/ sprints/energy system work coming 2-4 times a week depending on training load.

It’s a good setup,

while i am not american i would like to quote the movie “miracle” and the late great herb brooks:

“20 guys that left nothing on the table.”

narked, this statement by you "Eat what you want, when you want; as long as it’s not horribly effecting your performance/gains/body composition goals it’s fine. "

shows me that you are leaving speed/performance on the table. until you figure out how important what you eat and when you eat are, you will never maximize your talent. i say all the time that it is any athletes right to use or waste his/her talents as they see fit, so go ahead and eat whatever you want.

excellence and dominance are attitudes you carry with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks and when you toe the line this season, your race is a bi-product of 10,000 decisions made through-out the training year.

bottom line, you make the choice on how you will perform, not on raceday, but the other 355 days of the year.

Here is the response to this from Tim Skwiat one of the co-authors of MM.

With regard to the protein intake suggested in Maximum Muscularity, it’s too high…and it’s a drastic over-recommendation for any serious, hard-training athlete. Without a doubt, as written, MM wasn’t intended for any performance athletes; however, it could be adapted with appropriate modifications.

That said, there’s really no reason that protein intake should exceed 3.3g per kilogram of fat-free mass. For athletes, 2.2-3.0g per kilo of FFM is plenty. In any case, these recommendations can be exceeded provided that adequate carbohydrate and essential fatty acids are consumed.

This is one thing I have learned in my daily comunications with Nightmare, is that you get out what you put in. 3 weeks ago I told him I was going on a diet. I have told him this about 10 times already in the past, however McDonalds did me in every time. This last time he layed the smack down and basically got me thinking about where I want to be when I am OLD like he is. What I do today, directly effects what and who I will be in the days to come. I lost 10lbs in the first 2 weeks simply by taking Nightmare’s advice seriously. No McDonalds, no junk, no cheating with junk food EVER. Cheats for me include adding a bit of gravy to a well rounded meal. I LOVE LIFE right now as I am sleeping better, feeling better than I have since I was 18, and the weight is naturally comming off, with little or not strain on my part…all I am doing is eating LOTS of good food, instead of having any junk food. I am in MMA, and am serious about it. I have stepped into the ring before unprepared and it cost me 6 months of hurt and recovery along with at least another year of emotional trauma (for serious).

When I think of eating junk food, I think of Nightmare and him saying, “I told you so.” I know he said he never believed that I would make it, only because I am so simple minded and reverse psychology still works on me. Thanks Nightmare. I am still going strong and I plan on being at the top of the MMA world realistically within 3-4 years.

One other point, Clemson makes mention in one of his articles that your body’s cells completely change in an 18 (?) month period. Eat properly for this time and you will know what Nightmare is talking about.

I owe alot to Nightmare who really inspired me a long time ago to look seriously at my diet which I consider effects everything I do - by at least 50%.

I too lost 10lbs recently - all fat too - far more than I ever lost before - took me a little more than 2 weeks - 4 to be exact - the it has stayed off and like Herb - I’m sleeping like a baby training like an animal and eating like a bear…
I’m eating more than I ever ate - feeling far better than I have in maybe years and everyone is telling me how good I look and how much weigth I lost.
… most importantly my play is far better because I feel calmer and more relaxed and as a result I’m taking more time to recover and put time into my stretching and preparation.

I know what you mean Herb - been there … :wink:

I think the key aspect to having a good diet isn’t actually diet but - ‘lifestyle’.

What I mean here is that unless you take a proper concious effort to improve yourself as an athlete you will fail and fall back into old habbits very easily. This only finally came to me in JB’s DVD - and I’m not plugging it - but it essentially made me realise that my diet has nothing to do with supplements or protein powders - it has to do with how seriously I take myself as an athlete and a person or as Herb put it …

Ouch - :smiley:
(… or did you mean like Brad Pitt in Fight Club Herb?)

Take yourself seriously - no one else will if you don’t
Treat your body well - you only have one - it’ll thank you later
Start with the basics …
Develop good simple habits - they’ll be easy to keep in a few weeks
AND start NOW!

Following on this - I think JB made one very fundamnetal point that stuck with me - Nightmare has been saying it for a long time too, and it is reiterated by Clemson in regenerationlab.coms latest article - START WITH A HEALTHY DIET FIRST.

I’ve been guilty of it and so have most of us try and jump to C-A stacks or duerectics, other dramatic supplements - even food combining - to try and lose or gain weight - but the single most important and effective step you can take is to eat healthy good food.
And if you think you are doing it - think again and be honest and critical with yourself.

I’ve read all the books, heard all the gurus - know all the supplements and tried most of them - but it’s not about all that - it’s about good simple food - …it’s kinda been like going round the world looking for my one true babe to find her back at home next door …
Good healthy diet and then take it from there …

- “Food is a drug - you buy it in Safeways”

Charles Poliquin

After I read that it probably sounds like I’m soon going to be ‘like Brad Pitt in Fight Club’ in a matter of weeks - but no - I ain’t got it perfect yet.

Not by a long shot - sure - I grab a chinese once in a while - and I notice that if stuff gets me down and I’m in poor form sometimes icecream is my refuge ( aahhhh ) …

But I’m working on it and bit by bit I’m goign to get there.

  • Brad watch out!

thanks for the props guys.

i wasnt sounding off on narked for any other reason than there are alot of people that read this site and if someone reads that and no one holds him accountable (as clemson did with me oh so long ago) others will think thats the way it is for everyone.

i owe alot to the members on this page for making me the athlete and performance nutrition specialist i am today.

and now that i am back in the world of triathlon, i do have a body like brad pitt in fight club (skinny to the point my parents are sending me food), not that this really helps me get around the course any faster…