The Insider asked Dr. Kantor about Food Pairing…

Foods you should never pair together (either from a health standpoint or a culinary one)

Dr. Keith Kantor CEO of NAMED Program

What are food pairings? Please describe in your own words.

There are culinary food pairing which is more focused on the palate and overall enjoyment and taste of food flavors. Nutritional food pairings, which do not focus on taste, more so digestion and impact on overall health.


What are popular food pairings found in America? Why? 

There are traditional food pairings that Americans tend to have simply due to popularity, availability and culture.

Bacon and Eggs

Peanut butter and Jelly

Macaroni and cheese

Spaghetti and meatballs

Grilled Cheese and tomato soup

Hummus and pita

Chicken and waffles

Milk and cookies

Shrimp and grits

Coffee and doughnuts

Hamburger and French fries

Wine and cheese

Corn bread and chili

Bagel and cream cheese

Tomato basil and mozzarella

What foods should never be put together?

There are several philosophies on food pairings, if a person is eating an unhealthy diet and they want to overhaul their lifestyle into a more healthy one, they should not start with food pairings, they should start by replacing unhealthy processed foods with whole unprocessed foods like more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, poultry and steak. After they have started eating healthier then paying attention to food pairings can be an option. Consuming starchy carbohydrates with fats would be the first food pairing I would avoid.


What are the reasons these foods you’ve mentioned shouldn’t be paired together? (Please go into detail for each of the various reasons you list.) Consuming carbohydrates and fats like sausage and biscuits can irritate digestion causing bloating, gas, and stomach upset due to the work our digestive system has to go through to process this combination.


The high carb and fat combinations also raise insulin levels which reduces the body’s ability to effectively burn it’s own fat stores for fuel. When insulin levels are high the body does not burn it’s own fat for fuel, instead it uses the glucose from the high carbohydrate food consumed as fuel and will end up storing the fat and excess carbohydrates for later, resulting in weight gain and sub optimal metabolism.



What are the effects of bad food pairings? As mentioned above long term it can result in weight gain, hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance.


What food pairings can make you sick? Why? High fat and carbohydrate foods can cause digestive issues with symptoms like bloating, gas or stomach upset.


Can bad food pairings make you sleepy? Bloated? Other effects? Yes, food pairing that spike insulin levels (those high in sugar/carbohydrate) will provide a short burst in false energy followed by a crash that will leave you feeling sleepy and craving more sugar.


Can you provide examples of good food pairings?  All food groups are digested best by themselves (only that specific food) but that is unrealistic. Optimal pairing includes fats and protein and carbohydrates and protein. As mentioned above do not get too hung up on food pairings, simply listen and take note of how your body feels after you eat and if you suffer with feeling sick or bloating then avoid consuming those foods and that food combination.


How can you know if you are eating a pairing that won’t make you feel bad? 

If you do not feel bloated, nausea, gassy or get brain fog after a meal then that food pairing is probably okay. Some people are more in tune with their body and it is easier for them to recognize symptoms.