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too-open-minded

One big meal a day.

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Would it be healthier to eat one big meal a day rather than 3 small sized meals throughout the day?

 

If you ate one big meal it would give your body and metabolism more time to digest and process the food.

 

Could it be healthier?

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I guess that makes sense. I didn't read the whole thing but I think I got the jist of it.

 

Could it be because we have evolved from hunting and gathering so little food throughout the day rather than a lot of food should be healthier and more natural? I beleive the study results and everything but just wondering why?

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Phi for All    4819

I don't think there has been enough time since we were hunter/gatherers to have evolved very much in that regard.

 

Large meals, on the whole, tend to have more sugars and complex carbs that can spike insulin production, causing us to retain fat, salt and water, and also increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels. That study confirms that the stomach can't hold as much food in one sitting as it does over three meals a day, so you will consume less calories, but that isn't beneficial enough to offset all the other effects of one large meal.

 

You're probably right about a single meal giving the body more time to digest and process the food, but that could also lead to lethargy. Especially once your body gets used to processing the heavier meal, I would imagine it would want you to stop exerting yourself in preference to food processing. Eating a single large meal before bedtime might sound like a good solution, but I think digestion works best if you're not lying down (I've heard this all my life but have no real evidence). At the very least you risk messing up your sleep cycle.

 

I've heard great things about eating very small meals six times a day, but I've never been able to get the hang of it. Three meals a day is probably more of a marketing economy thing than an ideal diet thing, but it does seem easier to schedule in our current society.

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Phi for All    4819

Something tells me that two larger than normal meals would increase the likelihood of higher caloric intake. It seems most of the recent studies support eating smaller more frequent meals to avoid glucose intolerance.

 

There is also some evidence to support alternate day fasting, where you eat normally one day and then eat nothing the next. This seems to increase fat oxidization but may not be a great sustainable diet due to hunger, irritability and energy requirements on the fasting days.

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Phi for All    4819

Since the research seems to support several small meals per day, I think you should focus your too-open-mind on the best way to prepare six small nutritious meals for daily consumption. ;) They have to have all the daily dietary requirements but also be portable for modern workers, and require the same amount of preparation and time that a normal three meals require.

 

I think the toughest part is variety. Some people don't like to eat the same things every day, and that leads to straying from the plan if you don't take it into account.

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Your right variety is a very good thing, I don't take supplements or pills. I'm willing to bet they do more harm than good, 30 years ago we thought salt helped you retain water. I mean it does kind of but it doesn't work the way we thought it did.

 

A variety introduces many different nutrients and helps stabilize your immune system.

 

So the small seeds diet, what does it consist of? I like flax seeds.

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Electron    1

I thought there were mouse studies that showed caloric restriction improved lifespan? Were these flawed? I agree that many small meals is better for the body and blood chemistry keeps things stable and continuous but does force the body to metabolize more which probably causes stress in the cell. So proper balance is key. You want to keep the body energized but not burn through enzymes and celluar functions. I wonder if there are inner cell functions that are limited in lifespan like tellomeres. I believe there are that is why we replace cells in the body.

 

Anyone agree with me? Or am I just full of it?

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iNow    4581

When you only eat one meal per day, the body starts acting like you're in a situation where food is scarce and will tend to store more of your caloric intake as fat. The body thinks food is hard to find, so tries to pack the most energy out of each bite. That means more fat. Eating more meals in smaller quantities overcomes that effect, and has the side benefit of keeping your metabolism higher.

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Appolinaria    115

When you only eat one meal per day, the body starts acting like you're in a situation where food is scarce and will tend to store more of your caloric intake as fat.

 

Really? In the few articles I've skimmed, no changes involve what you've mentioned. If anything- there is a decrease in fat mass. ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2645638/ )

 

I thought there were mouse studies that showed caloric restriction improved lifespan?

 

I don't see how meal frequency involves caloric restriction

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iNow    4581

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19798071

 

In addition to the above, there is also an effect where conversion to fat increases due to increased cortisol release in stress situations.

 

Food shortage (even if consciously induced due to dieting or eating only once per day) is functionally equivalent to a stress on the body.

 

Finally, your own link states that the decrease in fat they measured during the 1 meal per day diet is most likely related to the fact that participants were ingesting ~65kcal less daily under these conditions.

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Appolinaria    115

Your article is about CR. Once again, no idea what the flippity fudge CR has to do with meal frequency. Decreasing caloric intake and distributing the same amount of calories at different intervals are two completely different things. Off topic.

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