The Frequency of Eating is one of the main issues in dieting, and many people disagree on that subject.
One viewpoint commonly held is that frequent small meals are better for weight-loss and for one's body in general than less frequent larger meals.
The basic rationale for this is that smaller meals tend to raise metabolism because of the continual digestion process, and one is less likely to overeat
because hunger will never become intense.
Call me cynical, but I suspect that the recent popularity of this viewpoint may have something to do with food marketing.
Another commonly held viewpoint is that three medium sized meals are betterfor weight-loss and for one's body in general.
There are several common rationales given for this viewpoint.
One of them is that it has been the Traditional "American" way for the past hundred years or so.
Another is that avoiding all snacks between three meals instills Habits of Moderation, and after the mind and the body adjusts to this plan, weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss becomes easier due to the automatic no snacking habit.
Proponents of the Leptin Diet say that limiting eating to three meals a day, spaced 5 or 6 hours apart, helps the body's hormone Leptin to function better and therefore assists in weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss.
Intermittent Fasting proponents, such as in Eat Stop Eat, and the Fast-5 Diet recommend eating less often than three times a day. They recommend long breaks between eating...i.e. frequent periodic fasts, Their rationale is that this process helps the body's Insulin and growth hormones to function better and therefore assists in weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss.
Other "Experts", including proponets of Intuitive Eating, say that people should eat whenever they feel hungry and stop as soon as they feel full.
Some advocate eating only two meals daily. Some say skip breakfast. Others say skip lunch. Still others say skip dinner. There are also those who support eating only snacks with no actual meals.
The issue of eating frequency is actually an indirect way to restict the AMOUNT that one eats.
If one eats three "normal" meals and also adds in high calorie snacks...they will ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.
A person can also eat three large daily meals without snacking and still ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.
It one eats one very large meal every day, with nothing in between, that person can also ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.
If a person alternates occasional days of fasting with frequent days of overeating, that person will ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.
Feelings of hunger and fullness are subjective.
A person's body (physical) and/or a person's emotions (mental) can inaccurately report those feelings. This can occur whether one has a single meal each day or whether one eats small amounts of food all day long. In most cases outside an anexoric condition, inaccurate signals of hunger and fullness will cause a person to ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and therefore gain weight.
All of these positions have merit, and they all have flaws. SO...what is my personal position? My own viewpoint is that all of the various suggestions are acceptable.
I think people should individually choose to eat as frequently as is desirable or comfortable for them as long as they can get that plan to work for them. Any food plan works if it causes a person to ingest the same or less calories than their body uses as energy, and therefore causes an obese person to lose or maintain weight-loss.
I find Gary Taubes' writings about insulin's effects on the body to be interesting and valuable. However, at this current time, based on my own experience, and my observations of others, my opinion is that, even if his Theories are true, there is MORE to the issue of weight-loss and maintenance of that weight-loss than merely controlling the carbohydrate substances that one eats.
A low-carbohydrate diet might greatly help with the issues of obesity, and one MIGHT be able to eat more calories, or better regulate their body's hormonal functions by following such a plan. However, I believe that physical issues are only one part of the obesity equation.
Even if Taubes is correct, the basic position of calories in/calories out is still valid if one wishes to reach and maintain a body size which is smaller than one's body was genetically designed to be.
Consideration of calories in/calories out is also useful when considering eating issues that go beyond a person's physical requirements. By this, I mean eating issues which involve personal appetites, personal habits and personal character.
The picture of the apple and cheese at the heading of this article was taken as part of my latest recipe video Six Cheese and Sides, which is located in Tidbits, under RECIPES.
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