Are “Three Meals a Day” Harming YOUR Health, Belly and Longevity?
Fundamental lifestyle habits that are unquestioned by many and adopted by most powerfully impact our quality of life, health, happiness and rate of aging. Marketers spend millions of dollars to try to make their products the defacto choice using the framework of current lifestyles. So lets look at what some little-known science has to say about liberating yourself from conventional wisdom…..
Of course there are multiple “small hinges that swing big doors”….. core lifestyle factors like lack of movement, lack of sunlight, lack of sleep, lack of micronutrients and excess of empty calories, hormone receptor resistance, hormone imbalances + chronic stress that impact our health and happiness in the 21st century. But today, I wanted to touch on the overlooked yet metabolically powerful topic…..
…..the frequency and circadian timing of meals.
Surprisingly to many, there are potential benefits to intermittent periods with reduced caloric intakes.
In this National Academy of Science review article postulates that three meals plus snacks every day, is abnormal from an evolutionary perspective and is associated with negative metabolic outcomes.
Calorie restriction seems to cause a metabolic shift to fat metabolism and ketone production. There also appears to be stimulation of adaptive cellular stress responses that prevent and repair molecular damage and may support apoptosis. But what if you love to eat?….
My insider tip for those who like me, do NOT want to live a life of daily chronic deprivation…. a high healthy fat diet + limited fasting once or twice a week seems to give you many of the metabolic benefits of chronic calorie restriction.
Hey there are LOTS of studies on this that suggest that intermittent fasting (IF) can improve health indicators and counteract disease processes. Of course do not expect Big Food players like General Mills, Kraft, Nestle, CocaCola, McDonlads or Taco Bell ect… to like this movement.
The reason this is vitally important goes beyond looking and feeling your best. The modern diet with an excess of glucose-boosting carbs and 24/7 access results in the increase in chronic diseases like diabetes and age-related pathologies. In fact science shows there are many benefits
Metabolic benefits of intermittent fasting (IF)…
- fat loss…. I keep my six pack fasting 1 or 2 x week and < 2.5 hour exercise / week
- more natural energy
- more libido (when you wife is a decade younger you worry)
- stronger resistance to stress,
- increased longevity,
- neuroprotection & mental focus
- better insulin sensitivity,
- optimzed hormone production
80/20 Minimum Effective Metabolic Dose: A 16-hour fast seems to be the threshold. In fact some biohacker folks I know easily live a daily sixteen hour IF plan. That means an eight hour eating window, a la Leangains or Brad Pilon´s Eat Stop Eat.
Others do longer, more intermittent fasts – like 24h once or twice a week. My experience is once I got over the mental programming of “3 meals a day or die of hunger” crap it all became a whole lot easier. BUT you must get your food quality “dialed in”. And I’ll come back to that caveat at my tip at the end here
The science data is consistent with these findings (see long list below this post). When humans switch from eating three full meals per day to an Intermittent Energy Restriction diet,…..such as one healthy meal every other day they exhibit robust changes in energy metabolism.
Studies show positive metabolic changes like increased insulin sensitivity, reduced levels of insulin and leptin, mobilization of fatty acids, and elevation of ketone levels. Of course, the growing and very profitable market for diabetes drugs would be reduced so some will not be happy that you know and use these smarter human eating strategies.
My challenge to YOU…. See for yourself: Commit to a 2 week test as you “install” for these smarter eating patterns into your lifestyle. Then let me know the changes you note in how you feel, look and think. Due note that it gets easier and is VERY liberating to not be “chained to the eating clock”.
Dan´s Metabolic Motivation Tip…..IF you are habitually eating a “normal” diet: lots of fast foods, grains, dairy, sugars, fruit juices, alcohol or any other processed foods, it is time to improve… Note as you get away from the crappy foods there is often a “metabolic transition”.
As your body and mind adapt to this more natural way of eating you might feel lethargy and cravings for a few days….. Focus on the future benefits to your health, energy and longevity.
The BIG advantage: Eating the way we humans evolved eating = SATIETY & less hunger. You will notice more natural energy, mental focus, libido and that eating the right amount of food an instinctive not restrictive act.
So amigo, if you feel those transition cravings “buckle up” and push through it with real whole foods: lots of healthy fats, green veggies & moderate proteins + 2 to 3 liters of filtered water + moderate coffee or grean tea. For personalized support and accountability contact us about our health transformation coaching programs.