Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why Eating More Often is Beneficial

Honestly, I'm always skeptical of new nutrition advice I receive. It seems that everything causes cancer, is linked to heart disease, or helps/hurts mice in a lab study. I believe that what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, common sense reigns supreme when it comes to my nutrition. It may not work for you, but in this case, the science makes sense.

For years, people have stuck to the "three square meals a day" mantra. With post-workout fuel, this works out (for me) to eating five times a day. But three of those meals are around 700 calories, and the other two post-workout "meals" are around 100 calories each. Here's where science comes in: Humans are designed to hold fat. Humans were scavengers, not necessarily knowing where their next meal was coming from. Therefore, by evolution (don't start that argument of creationism vs evolution) human genes gradually changed to hold fat cells because meals were often spaced by days, not hours. Man has been fighting his physique ever since the evolution of agriculture and technology made food more accessible and affordable.

By eating more often, we can counteract this natural propensity to hold fat. Instead of three meals a day, make it five or six slightly smaller meals. Because three meals are too far apart to prevent the body from storing carbohydrates and proteins as fat, by working out (using those carbs and proteins) and eating more often, the body will not go into fat-storage mode.

I was skeptical of the idea, so I decided (like I do with most scientific "facts") to experiment with my body and see if it really works. I did no working out for two days while I was sick, on day one eating three times about 1800 total calories, on day two eating the same, but eating six times. By no means is this scientific, but on between day one and two, I gained about .6 pounds, between days two and three, I lost .4 pounds. Again, this isn't at all scientific, I am simply commenting on my own observations, but I believe that the gain and subsequent loss was caused by my body going into and then coming out of fat storage mode.

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