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I’ve recently come across some very contrarian views on conventional eating wisdom.

One being the notion of meal frequency. 3 Square meals or 6 small ones?

I have ALWAYS believed and practiced the latter but I once heard it said that we need to take much of the advice touted about eating and put it into an evolutionary history/biological perspective.

So remember the whole Paleo Diet we talk so much about?

Well it’s based on the beleif that we should eat like cavemen do. Eat foods as close to their natural form as possible. For example the way people ate prior to the agricultural revolution-eat the foods we’re biologically adapted for.

But when we place the “Eat Small Meals All day long” rule under the caveman microscope we may realize: Wait, Cavemen did not eat small meals all day long. In fact, they had meals at pretty unpredictable intervals because food supply was itself unpredictable. So if they did not follow this advice, shouldn’t they have been just as hefty as modern populations???

Well some research indicates meal frequency makes little metabolic difference. Studies indicated caloric intake consumed over 3 meals or 6 meals has same the effect. What matters is the actual food, not the frequency.

Check out this Article from the New York Times

The notion behind eating smaller, more frequent meals is simple: spreading out one’s daily calories over six meals stimulates the metabolism, keeping it going at a faster pace and thereby burning more calories.

Some studies have found modest health benefits to eating smaller meals, but often the research involved extremes, like comparing the effects of two or three large daily meals with those of a dozen or more snacks. Six meals, according to some weight-loss books and fad diets, is a more realistic approach.

But don’t count on it. As long as total caloric and nutrient intake stays the same, then metabolism, at the end of the day, should stay the same as well. One study that carefully demonstrated this, published in 2009 in The British Journal of Nutrition, involved groups of overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to very strict low-calorie diets and followed for eight weeks. Each subject consumed the same number of calories per day, but one group took in three meals a day and the other six.

Both groups lost significant and equivalent amounts of weight. There was no difference between them in fat loss, appetite control or measurements of hormones that signal hunger and satiety. Other studies have had similar results.

For a more reliable metabolic boost, studies show, try exercise.

THE BOTTOM LINE

There is no solid evidence that six small meals a day instead of three will speed metabolism.

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WOD

5 Rounds
15 Thrusters #95
400 m Run

  • Red October 26, 2010, 1:16 am

    Check this shiznick out…. We should do this!!! http://www.facebook.com/spartanrace

  • SHEILA October 26, 2010, 6:42 am

    Were cavemen skinny? I love the paleo way of eating but I cant remember one depiction of a caveman that I would want to look like.

  • Ricky October 26, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Didnt you ever see Jane?

  • SHEILA October 26, 2010, 4:47 pm

    Real cavemen not actors!