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Toxic Food Combinations [moved from General Topics board]

Ever since I was a little kid, my parents have told me that eating crabs and persimmons together in the same meal is lethal. I highly doubt the validity of this but the image of a slow crab-persimmon induced death has been forever etched in my subconscious.

Are there actual food combinations that are lethal/bad for you?

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  1. I remember my grandmother having a taboo on fish and sweet (not buttermilk) milk. She would swear it would make you sick all night.

    1. According to my family history, one of my mom's siblings died after eating cherries and milk. Mom, of course, scoffs at the notion, but at least some of her older sisters still believe it, some 60+ years later.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        I think the cherries and milk myth is older than that--President Zachary Taylor died after a snack of cherries and milk in 1850. Could have been bad milk--typhoid or cholera or something like that.

        I have also heard of the fish and milk thing--my ex-husband swore that combination made him sick. Of course, he is an idiot.

        1. re: sparrowgrass

          I didn't mean that my family ORIGINATED the myth...only that some members believe it. Mom's sister did, in fact, die, and the proximal consumption of cherries and milk convinced my aunts of the connection.

          1. re: ricepad

            That's interesting, I wonder if cherry ice cream or just cherries and anything cream would be the same to them?

            Citrus and milk, mostly orange juice I NEVER have. I rather enjoy the lemon in my salad mixed with the cream sauce on my plate though.

            1. re: BamiaWruz

              One of my favourite things ever is orange juice with a big blog of vanilla ice cream in it.
              Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

              1. re: BamiaWruz

                Better not eat my amazing blood orange panna cotta or lemon pudding cake?
                Imagine life without lemon cheesecake? I think not!

            2. re: sparrowgrass

              I think Taylor was likely poisoned by his 'doctors'. But yes, typhoid was widespread in Washington back then.

            3. re: ricepad

              That can't be right, there is cherry ice cream all over the place.

              1. re: ricepad

                I am horribly allergic to fresh cherries and fresh milk, when consumed within an hour or so of each other. How do I know? By observing cherries in my vomit (ew) many times as a teenager, then realizing that I always drank milk throughout the day, and then deliberately eating the combination twice (!!) and getting violently ill (from both ends) all night after both times. Sweating/chills, projectile vomiting and diarrhea for at least 12 hours, including dry heaves after the stomach was completely empty. Yikes. You would think I'd only have to try it once to figure out my toxic reaction...

                1. re: Emmarie59

                  Did you ever eat cherries by themselves to see if you had a reaction? I know quite a few people, including my kids, who have oral allergy syndrome to cherries.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Yes, many times I've over-eaten cherries with no reaction. This morning I ate around 25 cherries. What a piggie.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Most especially durian and beer. Over ripe durian belches are best avoided if you value your sanity and your friends and family. I wanted to die the one time I had this combo, but unfortunately for the next few hours I remained alive... and suffered greatly. It's a bad day when the smell of your own burps makes your eyes water and you feel faint and nauseous.

                    1. re: JMF

                      That's hilarious! I remember to avoid that combo.

                      I think the perisimmons and crab combo is based on the old Chinese philosophy of ying and yang, that some foods are "hot" and others are "cold" and that certain combinations of these things can create "poisons" in the body. Or at least that's the only coherent explanation I was ever able to get from my parents.

                      1. re: mielimato

                        At a Shenzhen, China hotel, I saw a list of examples of what you're taking about. I wish I could recall the Chinese characters that were omnipresent in the list.

                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                            Ah yes. Though, it says "Cantonese" and lists Mandarin pinyin...

                            1. re: BuildingMyBento

                              Typical Wikipedia sloppiness… But did any of the characters ring a bell? I suspect that this vocabulary is pretty constant across the Chinese regional languages. Well, on second thought, I have no idea. But even in Shenzhen, most written Chinese would likely be in Mandarin (or it could be read equally well in Cantonese and Mandarin).

                      2. re: JMF

                        Dude- sounds like you should have stayed outside- in a crosswind.

                    2. the combination of crab and persimmon is very true, believe it or not. my mom just this very week had a really bad reaction and had to be hospitalized for a day. my mom never had any allergies before either. she first had persimmons then had a crab noodle soup later that night and she had a terrible rash break out all over her body. so, as crazy as it sounds, it's definitely true.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: azndove07

                        On Monday my wife finished up some crab and corn chowder that we had made this weekend. Last night (Tuesday) she ate a persimmon. She didn't say anything about not feeling well. On the other hand, she is still in bed- now I'm wondering if I need to go wake her up to check on her!

                      2. Raw shellfish and beer, I've heard. I always make sure to drink something else.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: coll

                          Raw oysters w/o beer? Please, say it isn't so!

                          1. re: coll

                            Guinness is a traditional accompaniment for oysters on the half shell. Beer often takes the place of sake at sushi and sashimi bars that serve raw scallops and other uncooked shellfish. Have never heard of anyone complaining of ill effects from the combination.

                            1. re: carswell

                              My brother in law told me that one, maybe he just had a hangover!

                            2. re: coll

                              The quantities of beer and raw oysters consumed every day in Louisiana would argue against this. Man, i want some oysters.

                              1. re: frankiii

                                Raw oysters of marine life, or oysters coming from some meat animal? Yikes! (if the latter)

                              2. re: coll

                                Have always heard that raw oysters and "hard" liquor will not sit well.
                                We had a local celebrity here once get pulled over for DUI and claimed it was the whiskey and oysters he had consumed, that was causing him to weave all over the road...

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    Oh come on now, I'm sure it was at least HALF true!


                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Scouts Honor. Became a local catchphrase "Beltway Oysters"

                                    1. re: Hue

                                      But how about oyster shooters? Pretty funny about local celeb.

                                1. I was at an ice cream shop in Germany where everyone was having ice cream w/ beer on the side. I asked for water instead, the waiter stuck his tongue out at me, grimaced and said something to my German friend. My friend told me the waiter said water with ice cream would make me sick. So, beer and ice cream is fine but water will make me sick?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    I think they were pulling your leg. German humor.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      I thought he just wanted me to order the beer. He was pretty funny. I think I caught his attention since he dropped a spoon and I was quick enough to catch it midair.

                                    2. re: chowser

                                      I actually have iced water with ice cream quite often, and I'm always fine.

                                    3. Fish with cream always makes me sick - but obviously that's not universal, just me.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Peg

                                        I have that problem with fish and tomatoes--but cocktail sauce is fine, as is ketchup with salmon patties. So I'm pretty sure it's in my head.

                                        1. re: Peg

                                          Seafood or fish in a creamy sauce (like lobster newburg) makes me sick, especially when accompanied by a glass of wine. It's a shame, because it's a tasty and rather common combination. But it doesn't sit well with me at all.

                                        2. There can be some bad combinations.
                                          Ginseng can act as a blood thinner, so in combination with some other herbs/foods/medicines(aspirin) can cause bleeding.
                                          Alchohol can intensify certain properties.
                                          Most of the "bad" effects happen with raw or near raw combinations as cooking can often change the properties of the ingredients.
                                          has a lot of information on the properties of different foods.

                                          1. Emeril always cautioned against combining citrus with dairy. I don't really know why. I've made a sauce for years for veal scallipini that combines cream with mustard and lemon juice (and garlic, capers, tomatoes and olives).

                                            43 Replies
                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                              The sauce is probably fine, but one way to make sour milk for a cake is to mix lemon juice with milk and let it sit a few minutes.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  Yeah, but I prefer using organic yoghurt. It doesn't ALWAYS do the whole job, sometimes I still have to add a little lemon juice, but it at least cuts it way way down.

                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                I made some lamb chops that involved yogurt and lemon juice (Epicurious, I think) and it was wonderful and we're fine.

                                                1. re: SweetPea

                                                  Not claiming to be an expert, but I thought acids and milk could cause the solids to precipitate out, leading to chunks of material in the food? But maybe cream is protected by its fat content and the yogourt is already processed due to the fermentation process? Or if you add cream and acid to a sauce, you can ad them in a certain order to avoid the curdling?Any real experts out there? This is a good question...

                                                  another toxic combination: Korean salted pollack (fish) roe and chocolate. This is what happens when you eat a Korean meal and follow it up with a Western dessert. Fishy doesn't go so well with cocoa. To put it another way, there ain't going to be a Vosges Mo fish roe chocolate bar soon. Nor should Koreans come out with chocolate covered dried squid (although I have a sneaking suspicion that it has been tried, I wouldn't put it past my tribe)

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    Some of the flavor combos Koreans have come up with probably should go in the toxic category.
                                                    I believe I did see a short lived chocolate covered shrimp chip while I lived in Korea.

                                                    1. re: moh

                                                      "Not claiming to be an expert, but I thought acids and milk could cause the solids to precipitate out, leading to chunks of material in the food."

                                                      Which explains why you should NEVER accept a free shot of the "Cement Mixer": Bailey's and lime juice. Swirl in mouth before swallowing.

                                                      1. re: jennywinker

                                                        He he. My cheeky boyrfriend gave me one of these as a joke - it was borderline fatal for me, even more so for him! ;)

                                                      2. re: moh

                                                        haha... Filipinos eat chocolate & fish all the time. There's a sweet chocolate rice porridge called champorado, usually eaten with dried salty fish.

                                                        1. re: mogo

                                                          Oh dear, I'm not sure I'd find that appetizing, but I guess I'd be willing to give it a try if you told me it wasn't bad. Have you tried it? is it ok?

                                                          I also remembered that Big Island Candy in Hawaii does a chocolate covered cuttlefish....

                                                          1. re: moh

                                                            I've never tried it myself, but I do have friends who love it. :)

                                                            1. re: moh

                                                              @chocolate covered cuttlefish -

                                                              OMG! Fer realz?

                                                      3. re: Chinon00

                                                        >> Emeril always cautioned against combining citrus with dairy.

                                                        He can have my creamsicle when he pries it from my cold, dead hands.

                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          My guess is he was cautioning against the possibility of having the milk/dairy curdle. Nothing lethal that I've ever heard of in a lemon-dairy combination beyond the possibility of unwanted curds.

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            This reminds me of the alcoholic beverage challenge on Top Chef when Betty made a cocktail with Baileys and citrus and the judge after hearing ingredients said I doubt this will be good-tried it and said yes I was right it isn't good. The dairy had curdled.

                                                            1. re: foodseek

                                                              There is a ratio of how much lemon any milk or cream will handle before curdling. I posted my all-time-ever favorite cocktail (pink lady in a version that is sometimes called a pink rose) in another thread that is drop-dead fantastic, but has a really wicked kick. Tastes so innocently good I'm very careful who I serve it to. It contains gin, an egg white, half and half, grenadine and fresh lemon juice, but mess up on the ratios and you have a martini glassful of pink cottage cheese! blech! However, I don't have any experience trying to mix Bailey's Irish Cream with anything more than Bailey's Irish Cream! Some things just come across to me as trying to French fry beluga caviar. Why?

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                You should try a BBC (Baileys Banana Colada) it was all the rage around here this summer. Has Baileys, dark rum, banana liqueur, fresh banana and pina colada mix in equal amounts, with lots of ice: can add a floater of dark rum on top. Talk about a wicked kick, after you think you just drank a milkshake!

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  ratios please? Sounds gorgeous, I love pretty cocktails. Almost a ramos fizz in the pink?

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    Sorry just found your question, too bad summer's over. It's actually just a tan color, like a milkshake, you could always serve it with an umbrella to pretty it up! Here's the recipe:

                                                                    for a blenderful:2 big glasses:

                                                                    2 bananas
                                                                    2 oz creme de banana liqeuer


                                                                    Then add
                                                                    2 oz baileys irish cream
                                                                    4 oz pina colada mix or cream of coconut
                                                                    4 oz dark rum
                                                                    lots of ice cubes

                                                                    Blend and serve in hurricane glasses.

                                                                    If you want to go crazy, you can add a floater of dark rum on top.

                                                            2. re: Chinon00

                                                              so homemade creamsicles are forbidden?
                                                              i think i'd rather take my chances

                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                I know this is many years old, but I went looking for this tonight because…

                                                                Around 11:30 this AM I got a latte from Starbucks, non fat milk. Didn't get to drink it for quite awhile, because I wanted it with my breakfast I had yet to make. Breakfast was cheese toast (melted Dubliner on a very dense, nutty European bread), super pulpy orange juice (which I very rarely drink) and the now lukewarm latte. Started feeling a bit crappy about 30 minutes later, almost as if I had eaten too much (although I only had one piece of toast), and it just got worse throughout the day. Around 3 I took the dogs out, and had to cut our walk short because I felt so achy and tired and nauseas. Couldn't get off the couch for about three hours, and the only reason I did is because I was freezing (it was in the '70's in SoCal) and thought a bath would help. Obviously by this time I'm thinking flu. Had a scalding bath, but could not get warm. Finally got out, and barely had the energy to throw on sweats and a sweatshirt before I fell back on the couch (still freezing). After another hour of writhing my aching legs and groaning, I made myself puke (sorry--TMI) and ended up violently projectiling what smelled like (again, sorry) very curdled milk. It's now about 3 hours later, and I'm just starting to feel pretty normal-a bit hungry, even. The only thing I can think of is the warm milk/ OJ combo. Also, my stomach was very bloated all day- which means it's probably dairy related? Anyway, it's never happened before, but then, if I make coffee at home, I usually use CoffeeMate creamer, which I think is non-dairy. Not sure why it happened, but it is a combo I will be staying away from for the rest of my life!!! PS-I soaked a washcloth in cold water and a few drops of lavender oil-it's really helped get the old-baby-puke smell out of my nostrils :)

                                                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                  i ate a million creamsicles as a kid. not dead yet.

                                                                  glad you're feeling better.

                                                                  there could have been poor food-handling at the starbucks or it could have been something you ate yesterday or even the day before.

                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                    oj is pretty acidic, so maybe the curdling of the milk got ya! (but the stomach is quite acid anyhow). hmm, strange. good you puked!

                                                                    i drink my coffee with half and half even hours after it has reached room temp. but then i'm "ironstomach" woman. (usually ;-).

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      I do the coffee + half and half thing too. I'm pretty sensitive to coffee - I can only drink about 1/4 of a cup at a time, or I get strangely feverish/cold. So I either pour myself a tiny cup, or I have a regular sized cup that I let sit around until lunchtime. Never bothered me a bit!

                                                                      1. re: khh1138

                                                                        I've always gotten lattes and let them sit around all day while I sip them. Sometimes for HOURS. Never bothered me. Also, I've had cereal with milk and a glass of OJ for breakfast and was never bothered. I think Starbucks gave me some rancid milk. Either that or didn't wash their hands. That seems to be the only real logical explaination.

                                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                          Yes, you got food poisoning from some ingredient you ate that day.

                                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                            More likely it's the flu or norovirus, both are going around, with similar symptoms.

                                                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                                                              A flu or virus does not resolve so quickly. There is no such thing as a 12- or 24-hour flu. Symptoms fit classic food poisoning profile.

                                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                I misspoke about the flu, but there is definitely some sort of stomach something going around, that lasts 12-24 hours. I have tons of friends coming down with it and it's decimating attendance in some classrooms. I had it myself 2 weeks ago and my husband had it last weekend. Intense cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue. I find it extremely unlikely that all of these people are coming down with undiagnosed food poisoning.

                                                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                  Not all stomach viruses are related to food poisoning. It sounds like you all are getting gastroenteritis likely being spread via regular every day human contact. They typically are short-lived as you describe.

                                                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                    Rampant here in VA - 24 hrs of misery! They call it 'the flu' here, too, but it's not the same 'flu' that you get an immunization for every fall. Most people here are not confused by the terminology.

                                                                                  2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                    Norovirus - a lot of us call that the stomach flu (incorrectly but we do). And that can resolve in 12-24 hours (or it can take 2 days or even 3).

                                                                                  3. re: Chris VR

                                                                                    There is no such thing as "stomach flu." It's either food poisoning or something like norovirus. It's not "the flu."

                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        Norovirus takes 12 hours to 1 week to make someone sick and a week to resolve, so with the immediate onset and quick resolution of this illness, it seems like food poisoning.

                                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                          there's a 24-hour virus going around in Florida, too -- per a conversation with a licensed, board-certified physician during a regular visit.

                                                                                          She said she's been seeing a dozen or more people a day recently, all with the same symptoms.

                                                                                          Since very few of them eat in the same places, it's highly unlikely to be food poisoning -- her patients range from toddlers to retirees.

                                                                                          It just might be what she said it is.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Honestly, it could be both -- since norovirus is often acquired via contaminated food or drink.

                                                                                            As well as touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, and being exposed to infected persons.

                                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                              we're not talking some snot-nosed intern here...we're talking an established, licensed and board-certified gp with a large practice.

                                                                                              I'm pretty sure if it were norovirus, it would be called norovirus and not a "24-hour bug that's going around".

                                                                                              How is it you can acquire enough information to diagnose patients whom you've not examined, and whose history you don't know?

                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                I'm not interested in arguing with you. The symptoms present pretty clearly as food poisoning, both in onset and resolution.

                                                                                                Norovirus usually takes longer to resolve than 24 hours (the resolution here was about 5 hours, too quick for noro, and after vomiting/elimination). With norovirus, also, the onset is .5 to 7 days after exposure.

                                                                                                I've just checked with the medical folks around me about norovirus, and with some other folks versed in food poisoning onset and resolution, and I'm standing by what I have written.

                                                                                                True, none of us can diagnose from a distance.

                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                  You all sound very informed! Here's what makes me think it might be a poisoning of some sort--right after I threw up, all the body aches/fever/freezing cold feeling went away, although I was still nauseas the next day (but I don't think I got it all out). Usually when I've had a sort of flu/virus thing, the puking comes along for the ride. This time, it was the aching/fever etc that was hanging on the throw-ups coat tails. As soon as the contents of the stomach were eleminated, the rest went away too. And the thought of having a latte makes me shudder! (Although I had a hot cocoa tonight and it was fine).

                                                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                    I've had verified food poisoning twice and one yak didn't get it over with. Both times the symptoms went on for (torturous) hours. I am no sort of medical professional, that's just been my experience.

                                                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  This is one of the silliest debates I've seen in a while. I'm just a snot-nosed resident but not sure why Maria Lorraine is insisting that only food poisoning is short-lived. Many stomach viruses can be symptomatically short lived. Perhaps they infected days before symptoms but to the sufferer it can be a 24-36 hour illness and not be food poisoning. Norivirus is not the only cause of non food-borne gastroenteritis.

                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                    I get it. But this was 5-6 hours -- not 12 or 24 hours -- and resolved by puking/eliminating. That's not just short-lived, that's super short-lived and a big tipoff.

                                                                                                    I'm quite familiar with food-borne illnesses, safety, precaution, etc.

                                                                          2. I would think the whole no "milk and lemon" thing is simply to prevent the production of cheese. Literally. When I make paneer (an Indian soft cheese), it involves boiling a gallon of whole milk and then throwing in some lemon juice.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: CulinaryCutie3

                                                                              the warnings against combining citrus & dairy aren't about health...it's more of a cautionary guideline in terms of food prep - the acid in citrus foods can cause milk products to curdle.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                Thank you. It's a coagulation thing, about the solution "breaking."

                                                                                Citrus/dairy combos rock. The beloved Creamsicle/Orangsicle. Beurre blanc. Hollandaise. They just have to be combined using the proper method.

                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                  Don't forget lemon cream cake. my all time fave.

                                                                            2. This party pooper website claims all sorts of toxic food combinations in TROPHOLOGY-THE SCIENCE OF FOOD COMBINING.
                                                                              Check out the link and read this list of forbidden food combinations (left hand side of page entitled "Food combining rules").
                                                                              This stupid website takes all of the joy out of eating and I personally think whoever wrote it sounds like a loser.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                WOW, that was hilarious! I tried to connect to the "I can't poop!" link on Youtube but unfortunately they had removed their video. Good thing, I might have popped a gut laughing... Not quite what they were intending with their whole Colonic Cleansing message.

                                                                                1. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                  Oh *that* again. An old roommate had the "danger food combinations" chart posted prominently on our fridge. Among the forbidden pairs: acid + starch. My inner italian laughed every time I scooped some tomato sauce over a nice plate of spaghetti. Carbonara drove her absolutely bonkers ("oh my god! you can't mix eggs with cheese! and protein and grain together! no!")

                                                                                  I think that was when I decided to never use scientific sounding terms I didn't really understand ("protein", "carbohydrate", "lactose") in place of actual food words because that seemed to lead to deep confusion.

                                                                                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                    I think the key term is "Scientific-sounding". There was a fair amount of what felt like pseudoscience on that website.

                                                                                    And if avoiding toxic food combinations means giving up carbonara, well, I'll keep my bunged up colon, thank you.

                                                                                    But still can't fully recommend chocolate with salted fish roe products

                                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                                      As a practicing scientist (hope that doesn't sound too presumptuous), I couldn't detect any science whatsoever in either the website or in the "food combining rules". Just someone with no real knowledge of digestion and an aversion to farting, I guess.

                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        I also have problems with a "scientific" source that uses Moses as an example. Reading parts of that, it amazes me that mankind has managed to survive. How will I eat pasta when it has BOTH protein and carbs?

                                                                                  2. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                    good god, this guy is a quack with a capital Q.

                                                                                    there is zero scientific basis for his claims.

                                                                                    and as someone of jewish descent, i'm personally offended that he has the gall to cite the dietary law forbidding the simultaneous consumption of milk and flesh as justification for his contention that you shouldn't combine milk & meat. what an ass.

                                                                                    some other gems i have to acknowledge:

                                                                                    "If you're eating a starch-based meal of noodles or rice, avoid vinegar as well as concentrated protein (meat, chicken)."
                                                                                    - so much for the healing powers of chicken soup [or as it's known to some of us, "jewish penicillin"]. guess we'll also have to forget about spaghetti & meatballs, nigiri sushi [and actually, the majority of non-vegetarian dishes in all eastern cuisines], paella, jambalaya....

                                                                                    "Avoid combining concentrated proteins and acids at the same meal."
                                                                                    - ummm, protein IS acidic, einstein. ceviche, anyone? ;)

                                                                                    "Eat concentrated proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and cheese separately from concentrated starches such as bread, potatoes and rice. For example, eat toast or eggs for breakfast, the hamburger patty or the bun for lunch, meat or potatoes for dinner."
                                                                                    -yep, now that's what i call sound nutritional advice. have a hamburger bun for lunch. just the bun.

                                                                                    "Bread (starch) and butter (fat) is a perfectly compatible combination, but when you spread a spoonful of honey or jam over it, you introduce sugars to the blend, which interferes with the digestion of the starch in bread. eat starches and sugars separately."
                                                                                    - considering that starch IS sugar, i'd really like to see him figure out a way to pull this one off.

                                                                                    "If you really have a 'sweet tooth' and crave cakes, pies and pastries, indulge your habit occasionally by making a whole meal of them."
                                                                                    -again, ideal dietary advice for a nation struggling with an obesity epidemic...forget the entrées, let's just eat cake and pie for dinner! but wait...don't those desserts contain starch AND sugar? uh-oh...

                                                                                    btw, am i the only one who thinks we need some additional topic/board categories around here? i know it's not easy to classify some of these threads, but how is it that a discussion titled "toxic FOOD combinations" falls into the "NOT about food" category?

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      My favorite?

                                                                                      Trying to explain why one should not combine protein and starch:

                                                                                      "If that is the case, you may well wonder, then why does the stomach have no trouble handling foods that naturally contain both protein and starch, such as whole grains?

                                                                                      As Dr. Shelton points out, "There is a great difference between the digestion of a food, however complex its composition, and the digestion of a mixture of different foods."

                                                                                      To a single article of food that is a starch-protein combination, the body can easily adjust its juices, both as to strength and timing, to the digestive requirements of the food. But when two foods are eaten with different, even opposite, digestive needs, this precise adjustment of juices to requirements becomes impossible."

                                                                                      I love it . My stomach is smart enough to figure out the difference between a single type of food vs. 2 different types of food. How can we NOT believe?????

                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                        i got a good laugh out of that one too.

                                                                                        unfortunately, as much as we can poke fun at this guy, it's incredibly disturbing to realize that there are actually people who fall for this nonsense.

                                                                                    2. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                      This looks like the diet the high colonic people promote.

                                                                                    3. After seeing what happens when a Mentos is dropped into Diet Coke, I wouldn't recommend consuming those together.


                                                                                      Grapefruit consumed with some medicines can be harmful.

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                        Not harmful, it just blocks the medicine from working.

                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                          Depends on the type of medicine. I take heart medicine. If that doesn't work, it can be quite harmful. Believe me.

                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                            No: not necessarily. GFJ + Xanax (alprazolam) will actually prevent the body from metabolizing the Xanax, thus making it feel considerably stronger and make it last longer. This could be undesirable or even dangerous for some people.

                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                              Well that's certainly good to know!

                                                                                          2. re: Antilope

                                                                                            My mom and dad each eat half a grapefruit with their breakfast every morning, and have done so every day of their lives for years and years. When their doctor put them on Lipitor, they asked him about the sign on the side that said they couldn't eat grapefruit. He said that it probably wouldn't hurt them since the daily grapefruit consumption predated the Lipitor. So they continue to take their Lipitor and eat their grapefruit, and their cholesterol counts are where they're supposed to be now. YMMV, however, and folks should obviously check with their own doctors.

                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                              This is a really fun topic but I have to respond with some killjoy info about the grapefruit-medicines combo. It can be potentially dangerous, especially the Lipitor (or other cholesterol lowering meds) and grapefruit, either whole fruit or juice. Apparently the grapefruit actually raises the concentration of the drug in your system (does not block the medication, as mentioned above). My grandfather ate a grapefruit every morning and several months after starting Lipitor was diagnosed with painful and debilitating peripheral neuropathy - basically the nerves in his hands and feet were permanently damaged and he could no longer walk. Please let your folks know. There's lots more info out there on this awful side effect.

                                                                                            2. re: Antilope

                                                                                              The Mentos and Diet Coke film made my day - thanks!

                                                                                            3. I always thought it was crab and pumpkin that's toxic. Or maybe both of that combo. You can easily check by looking at the back of one of those thin yearly Chinese Almanac-type book. While most combo they list (with drawings of the items, so you don't really have to read Chinese to get it) are not lethal, they always list the antidote for the condition. I think about 70% of the time, green mung bean soup is the antidote. This is especially so if the condition is some sort of skin rash.

                                                                                              As for the validity? You all can laugh all you want. Do stop to consider that perhaps in the olden time various food had more distinct properties than they do today. As a kid I was traumatized when my face broke out with boils after eating crab and pumpkin (or persimmon?), not even in the same meal, but probably in the same day. The thing that stuck out in my mind was the stupid things that kids do to scare themselves... there were only a couple of them left to heal, as they're scabbing, I kept staring at the one on my nose...me with a mirror in my hand...focussing so hard on this ugly ugly boil...quickly looking away, and then inevitably unable to NOT look, I look again, and back and forth, and of course, eventually got so disgusted that I started yelling and crying...
                                                                                              ah well, I was maybe 5, 6 years old...but it DID happen!

                                                                                              1. Persimmons generally can be dangerous if they aren't ripe. Unripe persimmons, especially some varieties, contain lots and lots of tannin that can bind with protein in your stomach and create a bezoar (google persimmon bezoar), which is an indigestible mass that sticks around in your stomach for a while. I don't know if crab has anything unique that exacerbates this, but it is high in protein so it would certainly contribute.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: SteveG

                                                                                                  My dad loves persimmons but he says if he eats too many of them, he gets severely constipated...so now he eats the peel along with the fruit and apparently his problem has been solved...

                                                                                                2. Fiber One + broccoli soup, though not lethal, SMELLS lethal.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. i remember being warned against drinking orange juice and milk in any kind of proximity, that it would curdle in your stomach. I seem to remember a similar do not drink milk with stuff like lobster rule too........when i was growing up.

                                                                                                    Than again.....i was also warned against eating apple seeds and told that the would sprout and grow a tree in my belly.........

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                      Apple seeds contain HCN, i.e. hydrogen cyanide. I'm not sure of the validity of this, but I've heard that one apple core can contain enough HCN to possibly harm a child. Probably a good idea to avoid eating them.

                                                                                                      1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                        Apple seeds have a skin remains intact through digestion. So they are only dangerous if you break the seeds covering. The numbers I read said that it takes about 100g (approx 1/2 cup) of seeds with the skins broken to make a 150 lb person ill. That's a lot of seeds!!

                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                          This could be an urban myth but I had a teacher tell us about a man who loved apple seeds, like people like sunflower seeds, so he saved up apple seeds the way you would pumpkin seeds and ate them all at once. He supposedly died. But, the cyanide has such a bitter taste, I'm surprised anyone could eat that many.

                                                                                                    2. You must be Korean because I vaguely remember my mom telling me this as well. A quick google search led me to this:


                                                                                                      People on this board seem to be ridiculing this food combining guy because he's saying things that are not based on scientific claims. I haven't seen his website, but I do know a lot of people who have had an easier time with digestion once they did incorporate food combining principles. It's probably not for everybody. But in my experience those who have serious problems with digestion do find some benefit. I'm not sure what terminology he's using to describe it -- but basically food combining principles say if you eat meat, dairy or legumes you should combine it with green low-carb vegetables as opposed to complex starches (eg. grains) for more efficient digestion. I don't think I could do this because this means I would have to give up dumplings.

                                                                                                      I feel that before completely dismissing something to try it for oneself. When I was younger I laughed at so many things because it wasn't scientific (I was involved with science and mathematic research) and sounded ridiculous. However, as I get older and experience new things, I see the wisdom in a lot of these claims. And I realize how presumptive I was in the past. It pays to keep an open mind. So don't beat it until you try it.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                        I won't be trying it as I was not impressed with the site. Too many rules and like I already said, it takes the JOY out of eating. By all means you go ahead and try it and let us know how it goes. If I was to try to follow all of his ridiculous rules I would probably be eating every hour. Which would wear down the enamel on my teeth because my mouth would be so acidic. Etc. Etc. Nope I still think its the stupidest thing I ever heard of.

                                                                                                        1. re: Cookiepants

                                                                                                          I was standing in line at a local convenience store when I heard the clerk say to the person in front of me "That's quite a combination."

                                                                                                          I looked to see what he was buying. Chocolate ice cream and cat food. Not lethal, probably, but a good stomach turner.

                                                                                                          1. re: ekammin

                                                                                                            When we were kids and I ate meat) my mother wouldn't allow us to eat pork and drink water at the same time. It didn't make sense to me then and now I don't eat meat anymore so it doesn't matter.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                              The only reasoning I can come up with is perhaps your mom did that because she thought pork was hard to digest (a lot of people view it this way). Drinking water with your pork would dilute the gastric juices, impeding digestion.

                                                                                                      2. While attending junior high, the word was out in the cafeteria that chili and milk would kill you. More than likely that rumor was created by someone that wanted either or both that day. But I never took chances, and skipped lunch.
                                                                                                        Today, I love chili and milk, not together, I'd much rather have an ice cold beer.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                          But people top chili with cheese all the time?

                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                            I get the bad digestion but she could have left out the death thing - I was petrified. Someone else I knew wouldnt serve spaghetti with milk - besides being a disgusting combination - she would only serve soda as it was dangerous to serve it with milk. Very strange.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                              A hot bowl of spaghetti with a cold glass of milk??? Nothing disgusting about that.

                                                                                                              1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                growing up i was told spaghetti sauce and milk would make you sick. i got to drink soda with dinner on those nights :)

                                                                                                                1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                  every friday night growing up, i had spaghetti with meat sauce, and drank milk with it. i also had white bread with butter on it, and a green salad. ah, friday night...and i could watch my favorite tv show, "the wild, wild west " -- with <swoon> robert conrad.



                                                                                                            2. I absolutely, positively, completely cannot believe that no one has mentioned the most lethal food combination of all time...

                                                                                                              POP ROCKS AND SODA!!!!!

                                                                                                              I mean really, we all know it killed Mikey, right?

                                                                                                              1. This whole idea is rubbish. If it tastes good, eat it. There is no such thing as a toxic food combo. An individual might have a bad reaction to a certain food, but to suggest that certain edible foods, when mixed in the human stomach, are poisonous is ridiculous. There is absolutely no serious science in support of this whacko idea.

                                                                                                                1. Coffee and orange juice side-by-side for breakfast. Toxic to my stomach, at least.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: azhotdish

                                                                                                                    Coffee and onion rings is pretty bad too.

                                                                                                                  2. King John of England died of eating a large meal of peaches and new ale. I learned this in Senior English, and it stuck with me because I thought this was an odd way to die.

                                                                                                                    1. An acquaintance of mind conducted a study on Aspartame and Caffeine and the results showed that the combination was neurodegenerative. It was just state science fair, but still....No Equal in my coffee please...

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: lycheefloat

                                                                                                                        How much Aspartame to how much caffeine? I'm really curious, since I drink a lot of Diet Coke.

                                                                                                                      2. I quickly browsed through the other posts, so if I repeat something already mentioned, I apologize ahead of time.

                                                                                                                        About the citrus and milk, from what I understand, it is NOT toxic, but it MAY cause indigestion to some people.

                                                                                                                        Same for soymilk and egg --> may cause indigestion.

                                                                                                                        Crab and green bean can be very bad. It will make you sick.

                                                                                                                        Too much ginko nuts could be poisonous.

                                                                                                                        Chinese people believe that pregnant women shouldn't have green beans, watermelon, daikons and raw food. It may cause miscarriage if you consume too much!

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                                                          I have a very clear childhood memory of my Japanese mom absolutely forbidding the family the watermelon we had been anticipating all day because we had just had tempura for dinner. She even had what we called the "fortune telling book" which listed all the "dangereous" food combinations. Right there in black and white characters was the warning against combining tempura and watermelon in the same sitting. Or maybe she just didn't want to cut up the melon. Hmm.

                                                                                                                        2. I learned at a Mushroom Festival last year that morel poisoning can occur in some individuals if they consume them with alcohol.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: PaperMoon

                                                                                                                            I'm not saying the person in question is wrong, but this sounds like the person was confusing morels with inkcap mushrooms, which really are poisonous when combined with alchol (a fact expoited in countless murder mysteries) .

                                                                                                                            On a funnier note, I knew someone who took the "no acid/milk" thing literally, until the point when I noted that by that defintion, and ice cream soda or root beer float was impossible, since even if you found a soda that was citric acid free (an practically all types have citric acid in them somewhere) your still left with the fact that carbonated water is istelf an acid (H2O+CO2=H2CO3(carbonic acid) and is more than capable of curding milk on its own (I know I actually tried it once) .

                                                                                                                          2. Just stumbled across this, but I thought I'd add this from ancient Chinese wisdom. The translation is from the source website, and is rough, but generally comprehensible.


                                                                                                                            Can't eat with the persimmon together:

                                                                                                                            The ancient medical book records : "If eat crab with persimmons together, it can make people suffer from diarrhoea . "The reason is that the crab includes the abundant protein, and persimmons includes a lot of tannic acid, the two eat together, will solidify and harden. In addition, the crab and persimmon all belong to the cold and cool things , at the same time can easily cause to uncomfortable if take it excessively . "when suffer crab’s toxin occasionally , fry purple perilla juice to drink or smash wax juice to drink, that can all dismiss . "


                                                                                                                            Other proscribed combinations included crab with loach and crab with muskmelon.


                                                                                                                            The original host website for the article has expired, but the text (without some images) can be dug out of the Internet Archive:


                                                                                                                            1. Cheese Fondue and Water. The idea is that drinking cold water, interacting with the cheese in your stomach, creates a ball of cheese, making for a very unpleasant digestion. I had alwyas heard this ("you must drink wine, my dear") and my step-son confirms that he had a terrible experince in Switzerland chowing fondue and guzzleing water.

                                                                                                                              1. Back in the "Olden Days" they thought my great grandfather died because he was working in the fields, and drank cold water before he cooled off.

                                                                                                                                OTOH - in my younger days....I thought *I* was going to die after drinking large quantities of Seagrams and just about anything we had,,,ginger ale, orange juice, diet pepsi, etc.

                                                                                                                                1. I know a lethal food combination which means don't try it at home.
                                                                                                                                  Mustard seed + very salty water = death.
                                                                                                                                  I hope I have been useful.
                                                                                                                                  But I have tried the eat popping candy and coca cola at the same time trick and no your stomach doesn't explode but a tummy ache might occur; I did check the result before hand on brainiac obviously because I don't like doing tests which might turn into disaster.
                                                                                                                                  But here are some food combos you also shouldn't try.
                                                                                                                                  Diet Coke + mentos = explosion. Vinegar + baking soda = explosion. Milk + citrus fruit juice = curdle. Hot milk + vinegar then drain of excess fluids = plastic. Bye

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: a cat

                                                                                                                                    >>"""I know a lethal food combination which means don't try it at home.
                                                                                                                                    Mustard seed + very salty water = death.
                                                                                                                                    I hope I have been useful. """<<<

                                                                                                                                    i'm sorry, but this has got to be one of the funniest things i have ever read on chowhound!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                      That is funny alkapal, if not a weirdly unintelligible post as well.

                                                                                                                                  2. I know this is an older post, but was curious about this subject today. Searching the cluttered web, I came upon this posting and wondered if any of yous guys had any comments. Seems almost like most of my meals are working against me.


                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                      After I read the no meat w/milk and no protein w/starch, I closed the site. I break those guidelines/rules ALL the time.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                        That's really funny. How has mankind managed to thrive over the centuries without that list? However, I am loving the "desserts at the end of the meal are a bad idea." From now on, I start with desserts. I want to know who the blogger is--I have some nice waterfront property in Florida I want to sell.:-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          another thought to consider is that if you following the guidlines to the letter morew or less would require you have many, many more meals than the 3-4 most people do, since pretty much every major food catergory would basically require a meal in and of itself. Try to follow these rules and something along the line of the USDA reccomended daily servings, and youd pretty much have to structure your diet so that youd have to be eating all of your daily servings of each category at one sitting (since I'm failry sure, based on the terms this person is using, that one has to wait until the meal you just ate is fully digested before you can move onto the next one) which probably isn't good for you. In fact, given some of the intereactions, you'd probably have to designate specific days for every nutrient (eat only meat on monday, only starches on tuesday, only fruit on wed, etc and have to practically gorge yourself on that days nutrient (Imagine trying to to eat a weeks worth of carbos in one day) to compensate. which can't be good for you. They also deserve an "F" in basic nutrition, since some of the foods they mentioned would tecnically be completely inedible under thier rules. For example the person says that you can't eat beans or peas with carbo's becuse protein stimulates you acid, and carbo's your alkaline. well if that were true then you couln't eat beans etc. at all becuse they are in and of themselves BOTH legumes contain both proteins AND starch as does practically every other seed (some seeds store more of thier energy as fats some most as starch but pretty much all seeds have a bit of both)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            Never a bad idea to eat desserts first. Life is uncertain!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, especially with those food rules. You could drop dead just by eating the wrong foods or the foods in the wrong order! :-)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                            Makes no sense whatsoever and shows a complete lack of understanding of what happens during digestion. When you eat, your body doesn't 'sense' what type of food it is and react. It says, hey food, and produces all the enzymes needed for all types of food. Here is a debunk of some of your link


                                                                                                                                            1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the responses everyone, they dovetail nicely with my own. These ideas seemed so preposterous to me, I had to ask for a second opinion. I knew these guys were kooks the more I scoffed in disbelief. With their pseudo-science malarkey, it sounds like something better suited for the Flat Earth Society!

                                                                                                                                              And I agree chowser, dessert BEFORE dinner, is a mighty fine idea!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                While we're on the subject I was wondering if anyone knows if there is any thruth to a related concept someone once told me with regards to legumes. According to them, the proteins and starches in legumes are in fact very difficult for the human body to digest as is or on thier own. supposedly however all of those spices (ginger, coriander, chile etc.) that are added to the legume dishes (espicially in the case of Indain "dal" dishes serve to make all of the legume nutrients avaliable. They are also supposed to provide the body with the enzymes needed to digest raffinose (a common sugar in legumes and some other vegatbles (like cabbage) and supposedly the reason this foods are so gas producing (we can't digest it, but the bacteria in our guts can, by fermentation) which is why people from cultures whose diets are legume heavy are not all constantly passing gas. anyone know if all of this is true?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                  If you eat legumes and cruciferous veggies on a regular basis (regardless of spices), you won't have a problem.

                                                                                                                                            2. My grandmother wouldn't let me take a bath during a thunderstorm -- she thought the lightning would come through the faucet and electrocute me!

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                A friend of mine was in the shower during a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning struck a tree root that connected with an electrical line. Se lived, but she was blown out of the bathtub and across the room. My take? During a storm, I hang up the phone, and don't turn on a faucet.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                  Back in the days of lead pipes this was a bigger issue, but in a modern house with PVC plumbing it's no longer a problem:


                                                                                                                                                  If you don't know for sure how your house is plumbed, waiting it out is wisest.

                                                                                                                                              2. I always avoided drinking orange juice or anything other than water after eating thousand year-old eggs as a kid. Must be that acid + alkaline = bitter thing? Jasmine tea was okay, don't remember if chrysanthamum tea was, too. I'm pretty sure it wasn't LETHAL, but you never know...

                                                                                                                                                1. Don't try this at home: just polished off a rather large serving of sauerkraut, and then--in a moment of insanity--went scavenging through the cupboards for something sweet, found nothing but marshmallows, and tossed down a few.


                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                                                                    Last week one of my co-workers had some hot and sour soup for lunch, then ate a handful of candy corn. The look on her face was priceless. She said it was the nastiest combination of foods she'd ever eaten.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm not sure if this is lethal but it hurts, when i was younger i put in a pint glass: about 3 cm nesquik banana milkshake powder, full glass of milk, Two drops of toffee sauce and one drop of chocolate sauce and stirred it for 5 mins. after i drank it, it felt like my belly vomited its inside out, after about 5 mins it goes away but those 5 minites it is torture. it fells like you need a number 2 but dont be fooled! LOL XD

                                                                                                                                                    1. orange juice and toothpaste. terrible.

                                                                                                                                                      big spoonfuls of cinnamon (apparently - who the h*ll thought of trying that???)

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                        Oh yes, OJ after brushing teeth is really bad!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                            How about milk and toothpaste (http://buildingmybento.com/2013/02/24...)?
                                                                                                                                                            Also, I'm curious to know what's in the "bamboo salt" toothpaste.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Cranberry sauce and Coca Cola. Not toxic, but a terrible after-taste when you eat one right after the other.

                                                                                                                                                              1. My great grandma freaked out when I asked for milk to go with my cherries... She said it was poisonous, but I don't understand it since there's things like cherry yogurt and cherry sundaes. I wonder where adults get these weird ideas from.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pikangie

                                                                                                                                                                  Did you take her out for a cherry sundae on her birthday?