Should I Eat 6 Small Meals A Day
There are a few main reasons why diet books recommend six small meals:
1) When you eat a meal, your body does have to burn extra calories just to process that meal. So, the theory is that if you eat all day long with small meals, your body is constantly burning extra calories and your metabolism is firing at optimal capacity, right? Well, thats not true.
Whether you eat 2000 calories spread out throughout the day, or 2000 calories in a small window, your body will burn the same number of calories processing the food .
So, the whole keep your metabolism firing at optimum capacity by always eating sounds good in principle, but reality tells a different story.
2) When you eat smaller meals, you might be less likely to overeat during your regular meals. I can definitely see some truth here, especially for people who struggle with portion control or dont know how much food they should be eating.
However, once you educate yourself and take control of your eating, some might find that eating six times a day is very prohibitive and requires a lot of effort. I know I do.
Also, because youre eating six small meals, Id argue that you probably never feel full, and you might be MORE likely to eat extra calories during each snack.
Although grounded in seemingly logical principles, the six meals a day doesnt work for the reason you think it would , and generally only works for people who struggle with portion control .
Thats why we made this:
You Have Digestion Issues
As if digestion issues weren’t cumbersome enough to deal with on their own, adding a wonky eating schedule into the mix can only cause more gastrointestinal distress. “If you already have problems with digestion , intermittent fasting may worsen your symptoms,” Calder says.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
IF can even spur digestive issues due to the prolonged fasting bouts. “Periods of fasting can disrupt the normal activities of the digestive system, causing constipation, indigestion, and bloating,” she says.
Bannan also says that eating large mealswhich is often required for the types of IF that call for a long fastcan cause gastrointestinal stress. “This is particularly concerning for people with IBS, who already have a more sensitive gut,” she explains.
Is Fasting Every Single Day Counterproductive
Is fasting every single day counterproductive? Is it OK to have high fasting glucose while pregnant? And once youve become insulin resistant, will you always be insulin resistant?
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Fasting Within A Certain Window
When most people mention intermittent fasting, this is usually what they mean.
An eating window can range anywhere from one to eight hours, with the most common eating window is eight hours. This means a typical day would consist of 16 hours of fasting and eight hours of eating. This is often referred to as intermittent fasting 16/8. For example, you might only eat between:
Outside of those hours, no calories will be consumed. You can drink water and black coffee, but you wont eat any real food or drink any caloric beverages.
Some people will decrease the eating window even further, such as 20/4 or even as low as 23/1, only eating for one hour a day. Starting with the standard intermittent fasting 16/8 is best for most people.
Youll Likely Feel Hungry
Even an 8- or 12-hour fast might feel like a long time when youre not used to fasting.
You may go to bed hungry several times per week. That may naturally feel unpleasant and unsustainable in the long term .
Plus, at times, it might be necessary to override your natural hunger and fullness cues in order to not break your fast earlier than planned.
This doesnt mean that fasting isnt a schedule you can get used to. Once youve adjusted to intermittent fasting, you might even find it makes you feel less hungry (
Does Intermittent Fasting Work
IN THE DIET WORLD THESE DAYS, intermittent fasting may be a popular trend, but those trying to lose weight or improve their overall health should know that it can be a hard plan to stick to.
The approach alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting during a particular time period. Intermittent fasting isnt about deprivation, but about splitting up your calories differently than the three-square-meals a day plus a snack routine.
The reason intermittent fasting is thought to be effective in weight loss is because it increases your bodys responsiveness to insulin. Insulin, a hormone that is released when you eat food, causes your liver, muscle and fat cells to store glucose. In a fasting state, blood glucose levels drop, which leads to a decrease in insulin production, signaling your body to start burning stored energy . After 12 hours of fasting, your body runs out of stored energy and begins burning stored fat.
Three of the more well-known IF plans are:
- 5:2 diet: Eat normally, but healthfully for five days of the week and consume only 500 to 800 calories on two nonconsecutive days. Women usually aim for closer to 500 and men around 800 calories. Some might opt to split their calories into two or three mini meals.
- Alternate days: Eat normally one day, then fast the next, and repeat for the rest of the week.
- Time restricted fasting: fasting every day for 12 hours or longer.
Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one way to regulate your calorie intake and work toward improving your metabolic health.
Though the eating pattern can certainly be part of a healthy diet, it will likely take some adjusting to in the beginning. Plus, simply put, intermittent fasting is not right for everyone.
Here are a few downsides you could encounter when first trying intermittent fasting.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting And How Is The Diet Different From Starvation
IF is a way of eating that calls for alternating between fasting and eating at specific times, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Its different from other diets in that its not about eating specific foods. IF is not about depriving yourself, either. Rather, its about eating your meals during a certain time frame and fasting for the rest of the day and night.
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthyor Is Intermittent Fasting Bad For You
Intermittent fasting may or may not work for you. Its a healthy lifestyle change that I strongly vouch for because it simplifies my life and frees up more time to focus on what really matters to me.
During the pursuit of our goals, we tend to lose sight of the big picture of life and miss out on memorable moments with the people who matter to us.
Keep experimenting to find what works for you, but always remember to enjoy the journey. Because, you can always lose or gain with respect to your health goals, but you can never get back time.
Mayo Oshin writes at MayoOshin.com, where he shares practical self-improvement ideas and proven science for better health, productivity and creativity. To get practical ideas on how to stop procrastinating and build healthy habits, you can join his free weekly newsletter here.
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Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup
This rich in flavor carrot and lentil soup is extremely nutritious and filling while being low in calories. Best for lunch, this soup will ensure that you reach your body goals without sacrificing the taste.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
- Plain yogurt and naan bread to serve
Nutritional value of 1 serving:
Calories: 238, carbs: 34g, fats: 7g, protein: 11g
Intermittent Fasting Could Contribute To Muscle Mass Loss Or Gain
During my 2nd year of intermittent fasting, I injured my lower back doing back squats and was told to stay off weights indefinitely.
I was already in great shape and figured that everything would stay the same. So, I replaced my weight training with Pilates and stretching exercises.
In addition, I started a body detox program, which involved removing high-carb foods from my diet for a couple of months.
Within a couple of weeks, my muscle mass significantly reduced to the point that my clothes didnt fit as well anymore.
The detox program and intermittent fasting protocol drastically reduced my daily calorie intake, contributing to muscle loss.
Once I recovered, I restarted my weight training program and increased my carb intake, whilst retaining the intermittent fasting protocol.
Within a couple of months, I regained my physical shape and built back up the muscle that I had initially lost.
The key lesson here is that calorie intake matters a lot!
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It May Be Dangerous If You’re Taking Certain Medications
If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, make sure to discuss it with your doctor first, says Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. Some people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to imbalances of sodium, potassium, and other minerals during longer-than-normal periods of fasting.
Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, expresses another concern: “People who need to take their medications with food to avoid nausea or stomach irritation may not do well with fasting.”
Time Restrictedeating And Fasting
However, changing your intermittent fasting schedule doesnt necessarilyhave to mean you start eating all the time. Research on the eating patterns ofAmericans show that they spend nearly 16 hours a day in a fed state by startingto eat right after waking up and snacking before bed.
Time-restricted eating is a form of intermittent fasting that coincides with the human circadian rhythm. There are many ways you can practice this but in general, it means you eat all your calories during the daytime. Instead of eating right after waking up you wait at least a few hours and stop eating at least 4 hours before bed.
Even if you stop following a longer IF schedule like 16/8 or one meal a day, you should still do some form of time-restricted eating and ideally eat your food within 10 hours or less. You definitely dont need to eat over the course of 12 hours.
In conclusion, your body does get used to intermittent fasting and itllbegin to cause less stress. That can be a good thing for longevity but not tothe point of extreme. I would say that 90% of the time you can do yourpreferred method of IF and the remaining 10% you extend your eating window by afew hours by having an extra meal.
If you want to know how to optimize intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, meal timing, and food combining, then check out my Metabolic Autophagy Master Class.
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First What Does If Do
One of the main perks of Intermittent Fasting when it come to weight loss is that it helps to decrease the amount of time in the day that insulin is secreted. Insulin is our storing hormone and it’s EXTREMELY powerful. In fact, when insulin is secreted it shuts off your fat burning process called lipolysis and shifts your body into fat storing instead. By reducing the frequency of your meals with Intermittent Fasting, you’re able to reduce the frequency of insulin secretion and therefore increase the amount of time in the day that your body is in fat burning mode.
Intermittent Fasting also helps to trigger something called the Migrating Motor Complex . The MMC is a natural process in your body where your stomach and small intestine contract in order to get rid of the left behind food and bacteria in your small intestine that causes bloating. If the MMC is not stimulated, it will leave this food and bacteria behind and lead to issues such as bloating. The MMC is only stimulated by NOT eating. And to be specific, not eating for a full 3 hours and 45 minutes. By incorporating a fasting period with Intermittent Fasting, you stimulate this MMC and help prevent bloating and instead promote a healthy GI tract. You can get further details of the MMC with THIS video.
Works Well With A Nutritious Whole Foods Diet
Because intermittent fasting is focused more on when rather than what you eat, its generally easy to implement in conjunction with your current diet.
You wont necessarily need to buy any special foods or diverge much from what you typically eat.
If youre already content with the state of your current diet but looking for other ways to continue boosting your overall health, fasting might be something you want to explore.
For example, intermittent fasting might work particularly well for someone who wants to pair it with a resistance training program and a high protein diet .
Still, this isnt meant to imply that what you eat doesnt matter. Theres no doubt that youll reap the most benefits from intermittent fasting by eating a variety of nutritious foods and limiting ultra-processed foods during your eating window.
Intermittent fasting is often used to manage weight and metabolic health. The eating routine might help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood fat levels. For some people, it also works as part of a healthy long-term diet pattern.
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Is It Bad That I Skip/miss A Day Of Intermittent Fasting
I get asked this often, because people are concerned that they are going to lose their progress/results if they skip a fast or break their fast early. Not following your normal 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol for one day will not hurt your progress or hinder any of the intermittent fasting benefits. Most intermittent fasting protocols such as the alternate day fasting, eat-stop-eat, and 24 hour fast consist of days where you are not fasting.
The nice thing about intermittent fasting is the flexibility!
Like I said before it is a natural way of eating that dates back to our ancestral days. Do you think our ancestors sat around and thought about how many days of the week they have fasted thus far? No. They went with the flow and ate when they could. So that is how our bodies are designed and we thrive off this way of eating.
So in other words, breaking a fast early or skipping a day of fasting will not hinder your results. Simply hop back on schedule the next day.
Figure Out Calorie Needs
There are no inherent dietary restrictions when intermittent fasting, but this does not mean that calories do not count.
People who are working with a doctor or dietitian to manage their weight need to create a calorie deficit, which means consuming fewer calories than they use. People who are looking to gain weight need to consume more calories than they use.
Many tools are available to help a person work out their calorie needs and determine how many calories they should consume each day to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
A person could also consult a healthcare professional or dietitian for guidance on how many calories they need. A professional can help a person determine the best foods for them and find an overall healthy way to lose weight.
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The Morning Hunger Was Real
Iâm not huge on breakfast, but I start desk snacking at 10:30 a.m. every day almost religiously. For the first three days this wasnât a huge issue because I was only fasting for 12 hours. I stopped eating most nights at 9 p.m. and had the green light again at the same time the next morning. But when I upped that no-go window to 16 hours on day four, my rumbling stomach was hard to ignore until noon. Smith had warned me that the hunger often leads to binging, so I was careful not to start shoveling handfuls of chips into my mouth when the clock struck 12. Instead, I ate either an apple or banana with peanut butter to keep my snacks portioned until I ate a bigger meal around 2.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
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