The Hay Diet

Created by Dr. William Howard Hay at the turn of the last century, the Hay Diet was the first diet to promote food combining. Published in 1911, this diet is based on the belief that certain foods cannot be eaten at the same time; if they are, the person will experience a host of heath problems, including weight gain. All foods are separated into groups based on their alkalinity, acidity and neutrality.

The Premise

After suffering from an illness Dr. Hay began eating only natural foods. By dropping his calorie intake, he lost weight and his health improved. After this Dr. Hay began studying the relationship between foods. He determined that when alkaline and acid foods are combined, digestion was poor. To fully digest any alkaline foods, they need an alkaline environment in the digestive tract to complete digestion and the same goes for acid foods. If the two are combined, then they will halt digestion.

The Diet

The Hay Diet focuses on food combining. When on the Hay Diet, dieters are not allowed to combine certain food groups together. These groups include alkaline forming foods, concentrated proteins and concentrated carbohydrates. Alkaline forming foods include fruits and vegetables. Concentrated proteins include meat, fish, eggs and cheese. These foods are considered acidic. Concentrated carbohydrates include grains, breads, sugars and anything else containing flour. These are also acid forming foods but Dr. Hay stated that concentrated carbohydrates and concentrated proteins should not be combined. Dr. Hay also provided a list of neutral foods that could be combined with either the concentrated proteins or the concentrated starches. These foods include seeds, nuts, most vegetables, herbs, cream, olive oil and salad greens.

On the Hay Diet, individuals are advised to eat three meals a day. Vegetables, fruit and salads should be the basis of the Hay Diet. Rules of the Hay Diet include never combining starches and sugars with proteins and acid-causing fruits. Proteins, fats and starches are only allowed in small quantities. Only unprocessed starches and whole grains should be consumed, processed and refined foods should be eliminated entirely. Always make sure there are four hours between eating a meal with starches or proteins. Milk does not combine well with any foods and should be consumed only in small quantities.

Fruits and Vegetables

The Hay Diet focuses on consuming fruits and vegetables, which is a healthy recommendation. In addition to focusing on fruits and vegetables, the Hay Diet bans processed foods and refined sugars. Combined together, while also paying attention to portion control, dieters should be able to lose weight through these recommendations.

The Hay Diet is a restrictive diet that is not based on any modern science. Scientists actually have proven that the human body is designed to fully digest acidic and alkaline foods simultaneously. Following this diet may be difficult in the long-term, especially when eating out or traveling.


The Hay Diet probably will not cause any negative healthy problems for individuals who follow this diet. It is a restrictive diet that is not based on any sound science, but it does not appear to be harmful.


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