I'm so pleased to have Mathews McGarry back on the blog today! This time he's here to talk about eating - specifically when and what is best - and presents a number of studies from the past five years. A number of these things I was already a firm believer in, and a couple I'm just being introduced to, and I think it's quite a useful article, especially if that little black dress is starting to whisper to you from the closet. Christmas isn't far off, and if you want to squeeze back in, now is the time to start!
In the early 21st century, some of the burning issues are obesity and obesity related ailments. Because of this, and because of the aesthetic norms marketed today, one of the main problems of modern man is related to losing weight. For this reason alone, many experts dedicate their entire lives to exploring this complex problem. In turn, this leads to many new breakthroughs, but also many myths and urban legends being born. Most of these myths are related to the issue of how meal frequency affects the success of your diet.
A number of meals a day
Most people believe that the issue of how many meals a day you have has some influence on the rate at which you lose weight. Unfortunately the number of meals you take a day does not matter. An experiment was conducted where three persons were observed for days. The first one had 6, the second 3, and the last one 2 meals a day. What mattered in the end were two things, the number of calories they had consumed during the day and the very nature of those calories. Sure, daily fluctuations were quite different, but in the end differences were quite insignificant, almost indistinguishable. A research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2010 pretty much confirms their findings.
Moreover, some researches like one study from 2014 claim that, in the long term, eating less times a day is actually better for you. These researchers claimed that constantly taking snacks stresses your body, leading to the phenomenon known as the fatty liver. This is why they recommended a large resting periods between meals. Additionally, occasional fasting was listed as yet another great idea.
Fasting and its effects
Another myth that most people are facing in this field is that fasting can slow down your metabolism. First of all, there is some truth to this but this truth is often and easily misinterpreted. Now, in order to slow down the rate of your metabolism you would need to fast for over three days. Even though some people resort to this, it is pretty uncommon. Furthermore, fasting for one day at a time is even known to increase the number of burned calories in resting mode. Taken into consideration that it is only one day of fasting, it does not even have to affect you negatively in any way.
The timing of your meals
This is probably by far the most common nutrition myth there is. Most people will preach that you shouldn’t eat after 8pm or 9pm in order to lose weight. However, there isn’t a single valid study out there to support this claim. The truth is that calories simply cannot tell what time it is. If you manage to restrict yourself to the same amount of calories every time, there will be no problem whatsoever. Just remember to stop when you are full, and to mind what you are eating instead of when. Feel free to adjust your daily meals to your own schedules since contrary to popular belief, this has no negative side effects.
The type of nutrients matter
What matters most is the type of nutrients you are consuming. A common misleading rumor spread by numerous quasi-nutritionists is that a well-balanced diet is one that excludes many nutrients like carbo hydrates of fats. This is not only inefficient but also potentially harmful for your health in general. The only properly balanced diet is a holistic one. Never avoid natural fats (only trans-fats should be avoided) or carbohydrates (just try to cut down on them a bit). The best way to ensure your diet is an adequate one is to start preparing your own meals. Go to a few cooking lesions or get a cookbook to help you out. Next, get professional kitchenware since you cannot get anything done without the proper tools. This way you will ensure that all the food you consume is quality made and of reliable material.
What to avoid
A least here common knowledge is true for once. The thing you should avoid the most is fast food, sweets, as well as various juices and sodas. You can seldom find a natural ingredient in these products, and even if some of it did originate from nature, by the time it reaches you it has most probably already been processed many times over. This is why home cooked meals and beverages have no alternative. In the end, before you decide to subjugate your lifestyle to some radical changes, make sure to find out whether the thing you heard is a myth or a fact. When your health and your figure are in danger, you should take no risks.
About the Author
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.