The concept of food combining was developed in 1929
by Dr William Howard Hay, and presented by him in a book called A New
Health Era. It became known as 'The Hay System".
Dr Hay suffered from a severe kidney disorder which did not yield to
medical treatment, and the diet was a result of experimentation to try and
aid his problem. It was based on the premise that the digestion of starch
needs alkaline conditions in the digestive tract, while the digestion of protein
requires acid conditions. Since it is clear the digestive tract cannot
meet both of these requirements at the same time, one of the basic rules
of the diet is that proteins and starches should not be combined in the
The Hay System also specifies that the basis of our daily diet should be
foods which create alkaline residues in the body - ie fruit, vegetables and salads.
Bread and other starchy foods, and meat, eggs and cheese should comprise
only about a fifth of what we eat, and any increased energy requirement should be
met by an increase in carbohydrate, not protein, intake - an idea
that finds favour with some dieticians today.
For a simple pictorial explanation of how the combining principles work, Click Here
Dr Hay had positive results from following this diet and it has been used
equally successfully in other diseases, such as digestive disorders, rheumatism
Books are available, both explaining and developing the application of the system,
and in the form of cookbooks for the diet. See below.