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    Sonnenblume's Avatar
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    Precision Nutrition - meal frequency- your opinion?

    I know many individuals in the fitness community that follow the "Presicion Nutrition" concept. This seems, from what I understand, emphaysize whole foods and limited carbs (which is good) but also stresses to eat every 2-3 hours. The argument is that is should boost your metabolism. For the followers it seems to work as many of them are super lean. This is exactly the contrary what Primal Blueprint preaches (which I generally agree with). I wish to learn about your opinion of it, if/why the idea of frequent meals boosting the metabolism is flawed and why it works for some people. I clearly couldn`t imagine to eat that often for it interfers with life, I am just curious why this concept is so popular and leads to results...
    Thank you!

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    I am just curious why this concept is so popular and leads to results...
    What sort of results? Gut exhaustion? Terrible blood sugar control? There are all sorts of ideas out there that are popular - fat is bad, veg oil is good, soy milk is healthy, veganism isn't a cult etc etc.

    I find the easiest way to think about this sort of complificationerizing is to take a Paleo stance - what are we adapted for? In my mind, most likely is periods of little or no food followed by large meals. I believe 'eat when hungry enough to eat a meal' works nicely for a lot of folks. If not, don't eat at all.

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    The thing about "it gets results" is - you don't actually have any idea if THAT is the reason they "are getting results" or if it's something else they are doing. Since a lot of people do the exact opposite thing (eat only once or twice per day) and also "get results", you have to wonder don't you.

    The idea behind frequent eating, as I understand it, is: your guts, when busy digesting stuff, burn a lot of calories. So, putting small quantities of stuff in it constantly forces your gut to work a ton. The idea behind infrequent eating is that you blood sugar will be low for most of the day / night, allowing you to burn fat more easily, and giving your gut a rest is generally a healthy idea. I have to say, I was fat when eating frequently and I'm less fat while eating less frequently, plus I'm less hungry and more in control.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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    I personally wouldn`t be happy as well with eating 5 times + a day. I think you are never really satisfied but not really hungry also...However, I am still amazed that a lot of super-lean folks swear that it does help best....

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    im 7.8% body fat. i eat primal every three hours. whats the problem? oh and 1 year ago i was 37% body fat! by the way!

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    A long time ago I read “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” by Tom Venuto and he emphasized the eating every 2-3 hours.

    He posed this analogy which I’m recounting from memory so bear with me: Imagine your metabolism as a blind man (or woman…) who does not know when he will be fed. If you DON’T eat constantly, the blind man freaks out and hangs on to everything for fear that it will starve (starvation mode…) but if you DO feed it frequently he will come to learn that this is the usual feeding schedule and will NOT hang on to fat stores/etc because it trusts that you are going to be eating in predictable intervals not exceeding 4 hours.

    Back when I read that it made perfect sense (it does have a nice tone to it, don’t you think?) but I also knew nothing about how the body worked internally and I don’t think Venuto did either as I don’t recall ever reading about what happens when you actually ingest the food. He was going off the old “furnace” theory that the more frequently you eat the more your body metabolism speeds up, etc.

    I gave his method a shot but it was too annoying, besides his nutritional advice wasn’t the best, whole grains, etc. I think he’s revised it since but I think still holds on to the eating every few hours deal.

    Then on the other hand you have IF proponents which are growing by the day. Most notably in my opinion is Martin of Leangains who looks great yet fasts 16 hours daily. Also Johnny of Lean Saloon who also fasts 16-20hrs daily and looks very good. Obviously fasting for them is not leading to fat storage because starvation mode doesn’t come into play until many days after not ingesting food, and even so, many water-fasters that do it for weeks on end still lose weight despite starvation mode kicking in. Not saying it’s healthy or ideal, but the assumption that going without food for 4 hours results in chronic weight gain is dumb… to the informed, but easily sold to the misinformed.

    Further, some people that “prescribe” eating every 2-3 hours have different goals in mind. Medhi of Stronglifts for instance recommends it, but his program is all about adding weight to every workout. I’d go so far as to say that an integral part of doing his program IS to put on weight as muscle so that you can tackle the ever increasing load.

    I think if you’re looking to gain weight there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating so frequently if it’s something that doesn’t drive you nuts. I’d absolutely abandon my 2 meals a day deal (which by the way I thoroughly enjoy) if my aim was to put on weight (muscle mostly of course) I wouldn’t eat all the time but I’d probably make a conscious effort to at least eat three times a day and probably would snack on primal stuff and gauge my progress, tone it down if I was gaining too much fat, etc.

    So, phew, in conclusion: To lose body fat it is not at all necessary to eat so frequently, it can in fact backfire by keeping your insulin levels frequently high.

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    you used several differnt people and examples in your statement. that would go to say, everybodys body is different. i lost weight by eating three or four times per day. i started shredding fat when i moved to eating every three hours. its moderation. i eat at 3am, 6am, 8am, 10am, LUNCH, 3pm, 5pm and at bedtime. all day i consume a total of 1800 calories, 57 grams of fat, 78 grams of carbs and 141 grams of protein. im not gaining a pound. recently i screwed up and added some sprouted grains into my day and i gained 2lbs. i have no idea if it was muscle or fat but it was 2lbs so i stopped and im back on primal and im back down 2lbs EVEN! by the digit! i am 100% primal!
    Last edited by jaysond; 05-24-2011 at 11:26 AM.

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    Martin Berkhan has an excellent article on meal frequency. It's really more of an index linking to various other articles he's written examining studies on meal frequency. Basically, most people find their overall satiety to be greater on fewer meals, and blood sugar is also significantly better on fewer, infrequent meals.

    The whole idea of eating frequently to boost metabolism comes from the thermic effect of food (TEF); basically, digestion takes energy. So the idea is to keep your body constantly digesting food to reap an increase in metabolism. The fallacy of the thinking is that TEF is directly proportional to the amount of food eaten. So, spreading the same calories over 6 meals produces the same (long-term) TEF as 2-3 meals, with the disadvantage that you feel hungrier and your blood sugar spends a longer amount of time in a post-prandial (non-fasting) state.

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    DFH
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    I think people should not worry about it so much and do what works best for them.

    You can find people that will argue all day that IF fixes everything, then google those things and find others saying that calorie restriction, regardless of meal frequency, has the same benefits.

    Grazing smaller amounts during the day works for me, but I don't claim that everyone should do it. I keep total food intake low and I'm not hungry in the evenings so I skip dinner and just snack a bit.

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    Thank you everyone, that was insightful! I am still figuring out what works best for me...

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