Binge and fast for fat loss and health

June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nutritionists and, “experts,” have claimed that eating small meals throughout the day is advantageous because it will, “keep the metabolism burning,” akin to throwing kindling on a fire.  In addition to this argument is the notion that large meals cannot be properly digested and metabolized by the body because of the high caloric values of the meal.  In other words, we cannot use all those calories at once, so they will be stored as fat.

Consequently, the advice in the media and mainstream has been to increase meal frequency to maintain a healthy metabolism and to avoid the metabolic drop due to starvation.  ( Like skipping a mid-after noon snack will really set us in starvation mode)

These arguments make the case for “grazing,” and eating small meals frequently. I believe it is time to challenge these myths.  In fact, a mainstream media outlet already has.

In our culture, we are constantly in a fed state,  meaning our bodies are continually digesting and processing food.  Is this really necessary?  Just because we have access to an abundance of food, does that mean we have to eat it around the clock?  This logic is flawed for two main reasons:

1.  The hormone, insulin is raised when we consume food.  Insulin is needed to deposit and store nutrients to different locations in the body.  Unfortunately, when insulin is raised, fat-burning comes to a halt.

2. Eating frequent meals per day is a new dietary habit.  Looking back to our evolution, we were not raised to eat every couple of hours. We would go through periods of feast, or famine.  Food was not avaliable at our disposal so our bodies have been designed to accommodate that.   Physiologically, we are not equipped to continually process food as this is unnatural.

Let’s take a look at the studies supporting intermittent fasting.

Three meals per day is superior to several small meals for appetite control

Studies using whole-body calorimetry  to assess total 24 h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging.

No significant effect of meal frequency on 24 h EE or ADMR

Increasing MF does not promote greater body weight loss under the conditions described in the present study.

Alternate-day fasting was feasible in non-obese subjects, and fat oxidation increased

Fasting every second day increased the insulin sensitivity approximately sevenfold according to the homeostatic model assessment (2) and decreased the incidence of diabetes

10 overweight subjects lost an average of 8 percent of their original weight at the end of the eight week experiment. A shift in energy metabolism toward utilization of fatty acids was also noted.


References also used in this article and sites that you should check out:

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Brad Gatens, CSCS

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