Monday, March 19, 2012
Why You Donít Need Six Small Meals A Day
Today a question from a reader on the subject of whether you need to eat six small meals a day.
ďAll the research Iíve done has said youíre supposed to eat six times a day and I pretty much do,Ē she wrote.
ďBut Iím not losing and weight and feel hungry every 2 or 3 hours. What am I doing wrong?Ē
The idea that you need to eat 5-6 small meals a day to ďkeep your body fueled and stoke your metabolismĒ is the stock answer given to people who want to lose weight.
But itís actually a myth. How it got started I donít know, but itís been debunked so many times that it surprises me people still believe it.
The most recent study I came across, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at 3 versus 6 meals a day, and concludes that ďincreasing meal frequency does not promote greater body weight loss.Ē
ďThere were no significant differences between the low- and high-meal frequency groups for adiposity indices, appetite measurements or gut peptides (peptide YY and ghrelin) either before or after the intervention. We conclude that increasing meal frequency does not promote greater body weight loss under the conditions described in the present study.Ē
In fact, research going back to the 1990′s ó nearly 20 years ago ó shows no difference in weight loss with 3 or 6 meals a day.
Itís a myth thatís a lot more damaging for women, as they generally need fewer calories each day than men.
Letís take the example of a female trying to lose weight by eating 1200 calories per day.
If she was to eat six times a day, each meal would contain just 200 calories ó the equivalent of a large banana and a few nuts. Such a tiny amount of food isnít going to do much for your hunger pangs and will probably leave you wanting even more.
ďEating six meals a day, every two hours is just another way of being a slave to your lifestyle and your stuff,Ē writes Jason Ferruggia. ďHaving to eat every two hours is just more baggage. Itís like owning something else that you just donít need. Something else you need to always take care of and revolve your life around.Ē
In my experience, most people donít want to eat six times a day anyway. Who has time for that these days?
* WHAT ABOUT MEAL FREQUENCY AND MUSCLE GROWTH? *
For years, weíve been told that eating every 2-3 hours is the best way to build muscle and gain weight. However, there is some emerging research to suggest that eating too frequently could actually impair gains in muscle mass, an idea that flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
The idea is that eating too often has the potential to slow muscle growth by ďdesensitizingĒ muscle tissue to further stimulation by amino acids, increasing the rate at which protein is oxidized. Spacing meals apart and allowing amino acid levels in the blood to drop, rather than maintaining them at continuously stable levels, appears to have the greatest impact on protein synthesis. Both Layne Norton and Lyle McDonald have covered the subject in more depth here and here.
However, I should point out that much of the research out there looks at short-term changes in muscle protein synthesis rather than actual changes in muscle mass. And while the two are linked to some degree, short-term changes in protein synthesis donít always add up to long-term gains in muscle mass.
In one of the few studies to look at the impact of meal frequency on muscle growth, researchers assigned a group of men and women with at least one year of strength-training experience to either a six-meal or a three-meal a day group. They trained four days per week for 12 weeks using the same strength-training program, giving each muscle group one heavy session and one light session per week.
Contrary to what you might expect, the three-meal group actually gained more muscle than the six-meal group.
But when I looked at the research in detail, the results werenít as exciting as they first appeared.
The first problem is that the study was presented at a conference (12th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science in Jyvšskylš, Finland) and not published in a journal. Important information about how the study was done is not normally included in conference proceedings, and sometimes the way a study is set up can render the results totally irrelevant.
The second problem is that calorie intake was self reported, which means that the subjects simply wrote down what they ate each day. The researchers then used these food diaries to estimate the calorie intake of each subject. However, self-reporting is a notoriously inaccurate way to estimate calorie intake, and thereís often a big difference between what people say they eat and what they actually eat.
As well as gaining more muscle, the three-meal group gained more fat than the six-meal group. This raises the possibility that the three-meal group simply ate more calories overall, which is obviously going to have a big impact on the results.
So how many meals is optimal for building muscle? Iíd go with four Ė three meals plus a protein supplement either before or after your workout. You might do just as well with three (two meals plus a protein shake).
However, meal frequency is going to scale up with the amount of muscle mass you have. A lean and muscular 250-pound guy with high caloric needs will need to eat more often than a woman half his size. But this is being driven mainly by the difficulty of eating large amounts of food in just a few meals, rather than any significant physiological benefit of the increased meal frequency.
Thatís not to say you canít lose fat or gain muscle by eating six small meals a day. Plenty of people have done it. But itís not necessary, or even desirable, as far as improving body composition is concerned.
Click on the following link for the complete article:
About the author:
Christian Finn holds a master's degree in exercise science, is a certified personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest and other popular fitness magazines
Monday, March 12, 2012
One man's opinions on health, science, and the essentials of diet... by Kurt Harris MD
An Archevore is someone who eats based on essential principles, and also someone who hungers for essential principles. Take your pick.
Exploring these principles is one of my interests, but not the only one.
So you may find commentary here about other issues in medicine, health, other sciences, or just about anything.
Archevore is written, produced, and directed by me. I am an independent science writer with no outside sponsorship from any private firm, NGO or, Zeus forbid, government agency. Donations are greatly appreciated.
The Archevore Diet - A pastoral whole foods diet that can improve your health by more closely emulating the evolutionary metabolic milieu (EM2) and avoiding the hazards of industrial foodways.
This diet is a practical framework using whole foods easily available in the 21st century. It is designed to be as universal as possible. The average person who adopts it in preference to the standard American diet should be healthier in every respect, and will usually settle at a more optimal body composition spontaneously.
The diet minimizes putative neolithic agents of disease (NADs) and ensures adequate micro-nutrition.
The diet is designed to be healthy and sustainable as long as you are alive and to offer plenty of satisfaction, while minimizing food reward effects that lead to overeating.
Historically, many find this diet results in spontaneous reduction in caloric intake and in health-improving fat loss, with no measuring, weighing or special supplements. I eat this way myself, of course.
Although this diet is a framework designed to work well for as many people as possible who are starting with a western diet, it will not necessarily work well enough, or completely enough, for everyone who needs to lose fat or for anyone afflicted with any particular disease. For fat loss, more radical maneuvers might be necessary, depending on the etiology of your obesity.
This information is offered as a free piece of educational information to anyone who finds it useful and is not to be considered individualized dietary or medical advice.
Your health is your responsibility. If you have any doubts about the advisability of any dietary maneuver that might affect your health, consult a competent physician.
Go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The further along the list you stop, the healthier you are likely to be. Earlier steps, in my clinical experience, will give more bang for the buck.
There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. Calories count, but why bother counting?
1. Get plenty of sleep and deal with any non- food addictions.
2. Eliminate sugar and all caloric drinks.
Drink water, tea or coffee. No sodas, sports drinks, juices, or milk. Don't add sugar to your food or eat things made with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
3. Eliminate gluten grains and wheat flour.
No cake, cookies or pastries. No bread or pasta, whole grain or otherwise.
This rule and rule #2 pretty much eliminate anything that comes in a box.
WHITE RICE and whole meal corn products are reasonable sources of starch if tolerated, but not as nutritious as plant storage organs (root vegetables).
4. Eliminate seed oils - grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Eat or fry with with ghee, pastured butter, animal fats, or coconut oil. Avoid temperate plant oils like corn, soy, canola, flax, walnut, etc. Go easy on the nuts, especially soy and peanuts.
5. 2 or 3 meals a day is best. No snacking. You're not a herbivore. Whole foods prepared at home should be the rule. Low meal frequency is a powerful tool if you have weight to lose.
6. Whole foods from animals. Eat them for the protein, the micronutrients and the fuel.
Favor grass-fed ruminants like beef and lamb for your red meat. These meats have excellent n-6/n-3 ratios and their saturated and monounsaturated fats are a great fuel source. Wild game is good if you can process it yourself- but commercial venison and bison is too lean and is expensive.
Eat fish a few times a week and pastured eggs if you like them.
Eat offal for the vitamins and choline- some fresh beef liver 1-2 times a week is plenty. Mix it with your ground hamburger if you prefer. Pastured butter is good source of K2.
7. Choose fuels from the EM2. Both animal fats and starchy plant organs are time-tested fuel sources for humans.
Animal fats are an excellent dietary fuel and come with lots of fat soluble vitamins. It can work very well to simply replace your sugar and wheat calories with animal fats. If you are not diabetic and you prefer it, you can eat more starch and less animal fat. A low carb diet can rely more on ruminant fat and pastured butter.
Plant storage organs like potatoes and sweet potatoes are nutrient laden and well tolerated by most people. Bananas and plantains are convenient starchy fruits. The soluble fiber in all these starchy foods is very likely beneficial, unlike the insoluble fiber in bran.
If you are not diabetic, there is no reason whatsoever to avoid either animal fats or starches in whole food form.
8. Make sure you are Vitamin D replete. Get daily midday sun in season or consider supplementation if you never get outside.
9. Vegetables and fruits - Besides starchy plants for fuel and micronutrients, eat a variety of different colored plants of whatever you like and tolerate. Think hormesis. Some is better than none, but neither big salads nor fruit to excess will save your life. You're not a gorilla, you're an omnivore
10. Get proper exercise - both resistance and "aerobic" exercise have benefits, including mental. Think hormesis again- the recovery periods are where you get the benefit. Lift weights every day or run marathons for "fun", but not for your health.
11. You won't get too much fructose eating reasonable quantities of fruit, but don't make it your staple. Most modern fruits aren't really just bags of sugar. That was hyperbole, folks, a rhetorical technique. Bananas rich in starch and citrus fruits are preferred. Don't go nuts with watermelon and agave, which are nearly pure fructose. Beware stone fruits like peaches and apricots if you have IBS - the polyols are fermented in your colon.
*A diet based on beef and potatoes is healthier than one based on granny smiths or 30 bananas.
12. If you are allergic to milk protein or concerned about theoretical risks of casein, you can stick to butter and avoid milk, cream and soft cheeses. Aged cheeses 6 months and older may not have beta-casomorphin and are good sources of K2.
No counting, measuring or weighing is required, nor is it encouraged.
I am agnostic on macro-nutrient ratios outside of very broad parameters.
Archevore eaters typically range from:
- 5-35% carbohydrate
-50 to 80% fat (mostly from animals)
... but wider ranges are entirely possible if you are not dieting and you are meticulous about the quality of your animal food sources.
IF TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT
If you are trying to lose weight, really minimizing fructose and eating 50-70g a day of carbohydrate as starch is recommended. Skipping breakfast or at least no carbs for breakfast can be very helpful.
you are at your desired weight and healthy, 20% of calories as carbs is plenty for most very active people.
It is perfectly acceptable if you don't gain fat with it to eat more starch and less animal fat.
Note that the 19th century categories called "Fat" and "Carbohydrate" are each broad macro-nutrient categories that contain both good and bad.
Saturated and monounsaturated fat is generally good. A lot more than 4% of calories from PUFA (whether n-3 or n-6) is likely bad.
- For healthy non-diabetics, starch is good.
- Excess fructose (added sugar) may be bad.
In wheat, the carbohydrate starch is probably not the major problem. It is the gluten proteins and wheat germ agglutinin that come along with the starch that are suspect.
So forget "carbs vs fat".
It is neolithic agents of disease versus everything else. And consider that the way food is prepared and its cultural context (food reward) may itself prove to be a NAD.
Most Archevores only know macro-nutrient metrics in retrospect, as they don't target numbers just like wild humans didn't target numbers.
Your mileage may vary!
So eat what you want. This is simply free advice that has worked very well for me and at least hundreds of patients and readers. I'm not trying to save the world, as I find it generally does not want saving.
Note: The order of the steps is arrived at by balancing my best guess at the noxiousness of each neolithic agent or food with the prevalence of each agent in the north American diet and the effort/reward ratio of the step. If your culture has a different diet the order of the steps might change. For instance, Chinese who fry everything they eat in soybean oil and don't eat much wheat would move step three up to the step two position.
* If you prefer to suffer with a calculator and scale without trying this first, knock yourself out, but why not try it first? If it doesn't work, go to 70g of carbs a day and take out whatever foods you are "enjoying" the most. If that doesn't work, then you might indeed have to count calories. You might have lost the genetic lottery or it may just be too late.
Click the link below to access more information about this diet:
Monday, March 12, 2012
... I stopped by the Paleo Life Style website and found this article that I thought would interest those of you who want to include starches like "white potatoes" in your diet.
Another misconception running around in the Paleo community is that starchy vegetables are unhealthy and that regular white potatoes are especially bad. The bias against starchy vegetables probably comes from the low-carb ideas about a healthy paleo diet.
Itís important to understand that our ancestors probably enjoyed caloric-dense starchy vegetables as much as they could once they knew how to cook them properly, which dates back a very long time ago. The amount of amylase, an enzyme that digests starch, in our saliva is much higher than in most other mammals, showing that we became adapted to eat and digest starchy vegetables.
We now know than an optimal diet is not a long-term zero or very low carb diet and that some amount of carbohydrates is healthy and desirable. In fact, in a discussion about the perfect macro-nutrient ratio, it has been established that 20% of our calories as carbs is probably optimal. Obtaining that amount of carbohydrates by eating only non-starchy vegetables is very difficult if not impossible and is not necessary at all. Many people understand the need for at least some carbohydrates, but choose fruits instead of starchy vegetables to fulfill that need. This is fine as long as fruits are eaten in very moderate amount, but the fructose content of most fruits makes them problematic in too high amount.
Contrary to the simple sugars like glucose and fructose found in fruits, starchy vegetables are often mostly starch, a polymer of glucose molecules. Starch is broken to simple glucose molecules in our digestive systems and our bodies ends up only dealing with glucose, which is a sugar that can be used by all our cells for energy, contrary to the toxic fructose.
Therefore, as a source of carbohydrate, starchy vegetables, provided that they donít contain toxic proteins, are often healthier than most fruits. They are also often very nutritive and contain high amounts of some key minerals and vitamins.
Of course, the story is almost never all black or white and two main subgroups of people might want to take it slow on the starchy vegetables:
Metabolically deranged people: Those with a broken metabolism that isnít insulin sensitive anymore might find it hard not to overeat starchy vegetables and might struggle to lose weight if they eat just a little too much of them. Those people often do better if they go on a lower carbohydrate diet for a while in order to heal and help their body learn to use fat as a source of energy. Some people might never be able to go on a higher carb diet, but most people end up being able to include healthy amounts of carbohydrates without problems after a while.
People with digestive issues such as bacterial overgrowth: Some people with digestive issues and IBS-like symptoms, especially those suffering from bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, have a hard time breaking down starch and should limit their overall starch consumption.
Regular white potatoes are a vegetable that has received its load of hatred from the Paleo diet community in general, often without reason. Itís already established that, like eggplants, tomatoes and bell peppers, potatoes are in the nightshade family of vegetables and can create problems for those already sensitive to other nightshades. Unlike other nightshades though, most of the toxins are found in the skin of potatoes and not in their flesh. We now have access to simple tools to detoxify vegetables such as potatoes: potato peelers.
Potatoes, especially green potatoes and those with green spots (try not to pick those), also contain saponins, mainly solanine and chaconine, which are also toxic in high dose. Once again, the major part of those compounds is found in the skin and is easily removable. Many studies have failed to demonstrate that the amount of those compounds found in commercially available potatoes could be detrimental to our health.
Itís very important to keep in mind that virtually all vegetables contain some amounts of toxins. Potatoes are no exception, but are often not any worse than other commonly eaten vegetables. This is why itís a good idea to eat a diet thatís diverse when it comes to plants.
I myself have been dealing with digestive issues and many otherwise healthy food choices are still off limits for me. In spite of that, I tolerate potatoes pretty well and include them as a source of healthy carbohydrates in my diet. Many people are in similar situations where they struggle to properly digest many sources of carbohydrates while peeled and cooked potatoes are just fine.
Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Potatoes are also a source of complete protein and can be eaten exclusively in periods of scarcity without the risk being protein deficient. Many cultures have thrived on diets very high in potatoes
Iíve abstained from including recipes with regular potatoes in the past in order not to confuse people, but I can not stay on the safe side anymore and have to speak the truth in whatís really healthy and whatís not. Iíve already done so in showing that most nuts and seeds are often suboptimal, even if many people swear by them. The association against potatoes is strong and will take a long time for some people to break.
Some people with digestive issues might still want to abstain from potatoes, like they should already do for other nightshade vegetables like tomatoes or peppers, but most healthy people can eat potatoes, without the skin, and benefit from them. Starting now, some of the recipes on this site will feature potatoes. If youíre still not sure about eating potatoes from everything youíve heard around the Paleo diet circles, now is the time to practice your skeptic muscle, try them for yourself and see how it goes.
Click here for the article:
... after my 21 day challenge, I will be adding peeling white potatoes back in to up my carbs. Stay tuned, "white rice" is now also accepted in the paleo diet!
Sunday, March 11, 2012
... so I am not losing anything! and I have been eating all primal/paleo foods and exercising. So I stopped by "The Paleo Diet website, hosted by Robb Wolf and saw the following. I thought it would be a good reminder for me and anyone who is following the Paleo lifestyle and may be having problems with losing or maintaining their weight.
These are the questions Robb suggests that we ask ourselves:
1-Have you taken before pictures as is detailed in the Paleo Solution? Are you taking progress photos?... *NO, don't do photos, but I do look in the mirror and my reflection is enough to motivate me... progress in the form of my clothes fitting looser is what I am aiming for.*
2-Are you getting 8-9 hrs of sleep per night in a pitch dark room. I do not give
two squirts about your excuse here! DO IT... *NO, but working on it!*
Inadequate sleep cock-blocks fat loss. And give me a break! Iím asking you to SLEEP! How much easier can I make this?
3-What is your primary and secondary performance goals? If itís run a marathonÖoh, so help me! ...
*Primary goal: reduce LDL level & increase bone density
*Secondary goal: lose weight/inches, look better in my clothes
4-Give some thought about what a reasonable portion size is. Lead with protein, have ďlotsĒ of veggies, donít go wild on the fat sources so we can get both appetite suppression via the protein AND a mild calorie restriction. K?
Follow the protocol folks, read the FAQ and re-read the implementation chapter of the book. This stuff will work, donít fight it!
To see the article in its entirety, click on the link below:
For me, the question that hits home is #4. I have been eating too much "food and fat". I realize now that although I am eating all the "right" primal/paleo foods, I have to focus on "reasonable portion size"... there is such a thing as "having too much of a good thing!" ... so I will focus on the following:
2.) Lots of veggies
3.) Fruit in moderation
4.) Fat in moderation
... I am not posting my weight, sorry... Tomorrow starts week 2 of the 21 day challenge... here we go, wish me luck!
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