The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meal Frequency BS and How it Can be Helpful.

I'm sure anybody who is remotely interested in changing up their diet and eating habits has goggled the subject and seen: "Instead of eating 3 big meals a day, eat several small meals throughout the day to stoke your metabolism fire. You will burn more calories and fat eating this way."

Bull shit.

I've already addressed why this is bull shit in my post about breakfast, but I'll leave this blurb here again.

"Besides the anecdotal evidence of me being the leanest and strongest I've ever been and rarely consuming food before noon (despite having to wake up before or around 8am) for the past year, there is research to show that it might be better to eat food less frequently. But I won't really address that for now.

People often say that eating breakfast is important because it starts up your metabolism. Because of the Thermic Effect of food, the energy required to break down food, our bodies do boost our metabolism. However, it is in direct relation to the amount of food we eat. At the end of the 24-hour period, or as long as you are consuming the same amount of calories, there would be no difference in the thermal effect of food. You cannot "trick" the body in to burning more or less calories by manipulating meal frequency.

This means you can eat your food whenever you like, in the morning when you wake up, after noon, at midnight, in 1, 2, or even 12 meals. If you're in a calorie surplus you will gain weight, if you're in a calorie deficit you will lose weight. Meal frequency and timing is a matter of personal preference and comfort, not of health."

I'm not convinced I would be this lean with breakfast regularly in my diet.

I'm a big non frequent meal dude. I hate eating meals that are unsatisfying. However, I've also come to dislike the feeling of being overly full. So, like everything else in life, I have to find a balance. 

"Shit, more shit about balance."

Nah, I have exhausted that topic...for now. I'll just talk practical crap.

Looking Decent Throughout the Day.

For most of us, we don't have super fast metabolisms that allow food to run through us like water. Hell, even drinking too much water or any other liquid can still make most of us puff up for a while.

Consuming small meals throughout the day will not make you have a better physique overall, but it will keep you looking and feeling rather lean through the course of that day. Not like waking up and chilling out in a fasted state kind of lean, but relatively lean looking.

Me after a 16 hour fast.
This is partly responsible to having actual matter passing through our bodies but mostly has a lot to do with the chemical reactions that occur whenever we ingest multiple calories in one sitting. The variety of foods that can cause you to bloat and retain water range from bread, to veggies to fats, to sugars of all sorts, so avoiding foods that make you bloat or puff up are pretty much unavoidable, however, ingesting smaller quantities of these foods makes the bloating less intrusive.

Big surges of insulin

Now, insulin does not make you fat. I repeat: insulin does not make you fat. You can eat all of your daily calories worth in one meal, get a gigantic spike of insulin and if you have a healthy body, it will not affect you at all if the rest of your diet is in check.

But, I know that if I have myself a great workout and I come home and slam down half of my calories for the day in one sitting, I am going to be sleepy as fuck. Literally grab a pillow, stick my thumb in my mouth, and replicate childhood with my Blankey and nap time. This is because the surge of insulin triggers tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin in your brain, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel sleepy.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I have come to really enjoy naps. However, a lot of us don't have that kind of time to take a midday siesta. We got responsibilities, y'all! People count on us to be awake! Lives are at stake! 

Well, nah, it ain't that serious. But, it can cause us to push back responsibilities for an activity that is deemed a luxury. And it can also cause us to not have such great sleep at night, where society has set aside time for us to sleep.

Poor guy ingested too many pre workout carbs. He's sleepy.

Insulin spikes can actually be quite a beneficial tool if used correctly. For those of you who have trouble sleeping, If you eat all of your carbs right before your bed time, that insulin spike is gonna send you straight to sleepy town. Or if some reason you need to hit the hay earlier to prepare for an early wake up call (drive to the airport, or some kind of shit like that), this trick will work wonders.

I'm hungry all the time

I loved this movie as a kid. Dat Feast!

You and me both. Regardless if I am in a calorie deficit (dieting) or I am in a caloric surplus (bulking) I am always hungry. I could literally eat every hour on the hour if it was a matter of life and death.

But really, the only way to completely satiate hunger is to fill yourself with food. Which, in my opinion would be better serviced by consuming two to three larger meals. However, in a way, having more frequent meals can help with this (theoretically) assuming your eating is more based on patterns rather than hunger. That your oral fixation and constant desire to chew on something is what fuels you rather than actual hunger. Some people just prefer snacking all day. Which is more than fine, it's not better or worse for you than eating 1, 2 or three meals a day as long as you are keeping track of your calories and your micro and macro nutrients.

You'll hear a lot of old school body builders preach meal frequency as if it were their religion, completely ignoring all of the science that's been brought about the past several years. But it's okay, they've found a system that they like and they can live and die by it for all I care. Things like random bloating and unevenness in their physique are psychologically challenging for them. That's their passion and often times their living, so they are going to stick to something that works for them regardless of the science being introduced. I can relate to this on some level because I've let body fluctuations affect my mood, my confidence and my performance in the gym both negatively and positivity. So, if spacing out your meals helps with your mental help, by all means, use the tools you have available.

Speaking of tools...
Ol' Yeargain's bag of tools.

Eat the way you wanna eat, when you want to eat. In the end it's about how much you eat and hitting your macro and micro nutrient numbers that will get you the results that you desire.

For those interested in researching how regular fasting, shorter eating windows, and skipping breakfast can actually get you faster weight loss results, check out my basic intro to Intermittent Fasting (IF), my post about breakfast, and


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