In this critique of Mercola's guest "Dr" William Pickering, I look at his claims of healthy eating. Essentially, his view is that you should avoid eating certain foods together. He also believes that certain foods should only be eaten in season and at certain times. So, would fruits from other portions of the world be bad to eat because they are not in season locally? Is greenhouse food evil? I will focus on his food combining claims.
Watch his video below to understand more about his position.
In this video(1), at the 12:36 mark, Dr. Pickering beings to provide an overview of his concept of Food Combining but he really doesn't begin to lay out his principles explicitly until 18:12. Dr. Pickering states that he believes there are seven principles of Food Combining and states that there are three that one should not deviate from. His beliefs are listed below:
1.) "No proteins and starches at the same meal."
I found this confusing as all whole foods contain protein, just in varying amounts. He asserts that greens are preferable with proteins. Unfortunately, he does not explain the reasoning behind this. He also doesn't make the distinction between animal and plant-based protein so the chemistry and science behind his claims are difficult to follow. He appears to consider that only meats are protein sources as he mentions hamburgers and hotdogs when referencing protein.
2.) "No fruits and vegetables at the same meal."
He mentions that vegetables are double sugars while fruits are single sugars. This is confusing as both have disaccharides. Vegetables simply have far more starches and not all fruits are created equal as bananas are high in starch(2). Dr. Pickering states that carbs rot in the stomach. This is an assertion with no scientific evidence to support this claim(3). In the Nutrition Textbook, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, it clearly lays out that digestion begins in the mouth with all foods being masticated along with the mixing of amylase enzymes which begin to breakdown complex carbs. Proteins are digested primarily in the stomach but this doesn't cause some blockage. All foods are moving through our system slowly but continuously while specialized enzymes do their work along the way(4). They are all moving through the GI tract in a consistent manner. Nothing is just sitting there to rot. He later suggests waiting an hour between the 3 different types of sugars. I could not find any verifiable scientific evidence supporting the necessity for such a process.
3.) "Eat melon alone or leave them alone"
He never completed his thoughts here as Dr. Mercola appears to have thrown him off with his question about tomatoes (Kudos to Mercola). In the last minute of his attempt to explain his concept, Dr. Pickering stated that you should eat your least complex foods in the morning, more complex foods around noon, and the most complex (proteins) in the evening. This is confusing again, as all foods have protein. If he's talking about meat, then I would disagree as insoluble and soluble fiber with high protein meals are beneficial as it aids in flushing excess lipids, absorbing water, as well as cleanses the colon(4).
Dr. Pickering, appears to suggest that there is a path to eating in such a way as to digest foods effectively, efficiently, and with less taxing on the body. I tend to agree with Dr. Pickering here in that there are ways this can be accomplished. In general, he appears to argue that food combining can be detrimental to health or beneficial depending on when these foods are introduced. An example of this would be having an early meal consisting of mostly simple carbohydrates such a fruit smoothie. For lunch, you'd have a more starch heavy meal such as potatoes and root vegetables. For dinner, you would have a heavier protein meal, soybeans, tofu, or a meat source. I'm sure he'd argue that having some green leafy vegetables are good for you but he doesn't explicitly lay this out in this particular video.
There are many logical and scientific errors in this presentation, so much so that I had to research Dr. Pickering to get a grasp of his expertise. Dr. Pickering is a self-appointed Doctor and doesn't appear to have any form of doctorate based on his own LinkedIn page(5) and his website(6). It is difficult to trust his expertise on the topic with so many glaring inconsistencies and errors as well as his deceptive credentials. Take anything you hear from "Dr" Pickering with a tremendous amount of Himalayan sea salt.
1. Mercola, J. The mango man discusses the principles of food combining [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2020 Jul 23]. Available From: https://youtu.be/fS8PY0RQcNw
2. Arnarson, A. Bananas 101: Nutrition facts and health benefits [Internet]. Healthline. 2020. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/bananas
3. Dennet, C. Carbs and proteins don’t mix — and other ‘nutrition urban legends’ [Internet]. Seattle Times. 2015. Available from: https://www.seattletimes.com/life/wellness/carbs-and-proteins-dont-mix-and-other-nutrition-urban-legends/
4. Rolfes SR, Pinna K, Whitney EN. Understanding normal and clinical nutrition. Cengage learning; 2020. Available from: https://razanmut.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/understanding-normal-and-clinical-nutrition-8th-edgnv64.pdf
5. Pickering, W. Dr. Wayne MANGOMAN Pickering, N.D., Th.D., Sc.M. [Internet] LinkedIn. 2020. Available from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-wayne-mangoman-pickering-n-d-th-d-sc-m-bb8b285/
6. Wayne Pickering: The ambassador for health [Internet]. WaynePickering.com . Available from: http://www.wayne-pickering.com/1-bio.htm