Eat Six Times a Day? The Dangers of Frequent Eating.

Via on Feb 24, 2012

I'll Take That courtesy of Methyl Lives

Do you wake up and prepare six small healthy meals and pack them individually in Tupperware or plastic baggies?

I don’t! Neither did our ancestors and, contrary to what you may have been told, neither did the hunter gatherers. For them, it was feast or famine. Our very presence as a species is due to the fact that humans were able to endure long periods of time without food.

Now, grazing and eating frequent small meals are being touted as health-beneficial practices. But with food on every corner, have we lost our ability to tolerate missing a meal? In this newsletter I will share the risks and potential dangers of eating six meals a day and the amazing benefits of eating three.

Please read on as I ruffle some feathers in the Grazing Camp!

What Kind of Fuel is your Body Burning?

When we talk about “burning fat,” what we are actually referring to is the process of using fat as our fuel, our source of energy. It’s a chemical process, not just a metaphor for losing weight. But fat is only one kind of fuel that can be utilized by our bodies, and carbohydrates —or sugars— are another. When your body has both available, it will burn the sugars first and the fat second.

Fat Burning Benefits

As it turns out, burning fat has a plethora of benefits beyond weight management.

Fat is the most precious source of fuel for the body. It is the body’s calm, non-emergency fuel. It burns slowly and steadily, providing energy for many hours straight. By contrast, sugar burns quickly. Sugar and carbohydrate fuels provide quick bursts of energy that often crash.

Burning fat detoxifies us and neutralizes excess acids that build up from stress. The problem is that many of us have lost the ability to burn fat effectively and are chronically storing fat and gaining weight.

Six Meals a Day for Weight Loss and Consistent Energy?

When the body is fed every 2-3 hours, it will burn fuel from those meals rather than its fat stores. So instead of burning stored fat between meals the way we were designed, the body enjoys having meals delivered every 2-3 hours. If the meals are small, frequent and healthy, the body won’t store any fat from those meals and, in theory, have energy all day and never gain weight.

Here’s the rub: when being fed every 2-3 hours the body will not be encouraged to burn any of its stored fat for energy, either. Why should it bother digging out the fat stores for energy when it is being spoon-fed all day long?

When you eat three meals a day and have ample time between meals, the body is forced to burn that stored fat. Once the fat is restored as an active fuel supply you will see better energy, more stable moods, greater mental clarity, better sleep, less cravings and of course, natural and permanent weight management.

A Study

I did a study based on my book The 3-Season Diet in 2000. We had the group eat three meals a day with no snacks and measured weight loss and a host of psychological factors. Within two weeks their moods, cravings, sleep, exhaustion after work and fatigue were all significantly improved.  And they lost an average of 1.2 pounds per week for the 2 month study.

How to Burn Fat All Day Long

Eating breakfast, lunch and supper with no snacks in between will provide a natural fast in between meals that will encourage fat metabolism.

When I was growing up, all the kids on my block had an early supper around 5:30 p.m. After supper, we played for a while and then came inside and went to bed. There were no bed time snacks – the kitchen closed at 6 p.m. sharp.  We would wake up and have breakfast around 7 a.m. and then walk 10 miles to school in the snow. Just kidding! But that was 13 hours straight with no food. We slept through the night fasting and broke the fast with break-fast. That means that every night, we reset fat metabolism. This allowed us to maintain normal blood sugar, stable moods and overall greater health than what is created by the cultural habits I see today.

What About “Healthy” Snacks?

Healthy Snack courtesy of KightpIf you have a healthy snack, like a carrot, in between breakfast and lunch you will burn the carrot but you will not burn any stored fat between those two meals. If you don’t snack between lunch and supper, your body will be forced to burn stored fat to get you to supper without a blood sugar crash.

From supper to breakfast is a critical time to burn fat, lose weight, detox and reboot a stable nervous system to handle the stress of the next day.

Many folks have a major blood sugar crash between 3 and 6 p.m. They crave chocolate, a nap, chips or coffee. This blood sugar crash can be balanced with a shift in how we eat.

Take time to have a large relaxing breakfast—make that meal big enough to get you to lunch without the need of a snack. Then make lunch the main meal of the day and see how much food you need to get to supper without a snack. Make supper count and see if you can eat nothing after supper until bedtime. Then, wake up and break the fast with breakfast.

The Risk and Danger of Frequent Meals

Experts touting six meals a day, or what some call the “3 hour diet,” say eating every three hours will rev up your metabolism, control blood sugar, decrease hunger and create weight loss. Fortunately or unfortunately, experts are having a hard time finding any studies to support these claims.

The Theory Behind 6 Meals a Day

  • One of the main themes in support of eating six meals a day posits that it will keep the body’s metabolism up, thus increasing thermogenesis (fat burning),resulting in weight loss. There are many studies disputing this notion. 1n 1997, the British Journal of medicine did a thorough review of all such related studies and found no evidence that eating 6 meals a day increases metabolism, thermogenesis, orweight loss (1).
  • One of the other arguments behind the 6 meal a day plan is that if you eat 6 small healthy meals a day, the appetite and hunger at each meal will be less. This may help some dieters control hunger and calorie intake. However, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) advises that the more frequently one eats when just slightly hungry, the higher the risk for over-eating, suggesting that this as an unreliable strategy.
  • Finally, perhaps the Holy Grail of the 6-meals-a-day supporters is its effect on balancing blood sugar. If you open a medical text book and look up “hypoglycemia,” a condition that involves the blood sugar regularly crashing, you will see a recommendation to eat small meals throughout the day as a dietary medicine. It also suggests that once the blood sugar is brought back into balance, one would return to eating 3 regular meals.

America has been diagnosed with hypoglycemia and prescribed “6 meals a day” as a medicine. The problem is, we are not being told how to get off the medicine and return to the healthier three meals a day.  Folks who have blood sugar issues tend to eat poor quality meals and snacks full of simple carbs, sugars, stimulants, processed fats and comfort foods.

True, eating frequent small meals a day will curb the highs and lows of the blood sugar and help them feel more stable, in the short term. I have many patients who report initially feeling great on the 6-meal a day plan. They started losing some weight, their anxiety levels, energy and cravings were improving. Then, within 6-9 months the results often slowed down. They soon started feeling hungry all the time, the weight came back on, and the anxiety and mood sensitivity were all of a sudden worse.

Food Dependency

When you eat every 2-3 hours, your body becomes dependent on a constant supply of food. The body will lose its built-in ability to tolerate missing a meal, and the blood sugar will crash and often crash hard.

In 2002, the New York Academy of Sciences published a report stating that all-day grazing can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  The risk increases when insulin spikes after eating foods that have high glycemic values.  If you eat only three meals a day, (even high-glycemic ones), your insulin levels have time to even out, says Victor Zammit, head of cell biochemistry at Hannah Research Institute in Ayr, Scotland.  Conversely, if you eat high glycemic foods between meals, your insulin levels stay dangerously high.

Transitioning from Many Small Meals to Three

Most cultures around the world still practice 2-3 meals a day without snacking. For most westerners who have become accustomed to snacking, having three meals a day will be a transition. Our western diet is loaded with short chain carbs, sugars and fast burning processed foods. Give yourself some time to make this transition. You can even start with four meals to make it easier.

Remember: we are making you into a good fat burner once again. This will balance your blood sugar and stave off a host of degenerative and inflammatory diseases.

 
Here are a couple of tips to make the transition easier:

- Drink lots of water between each meal.

- When you eat: relax, dine and enjoy the meal before you.

- Start with four meals a day and work down to three.

- Make each meal count and try to make lunch the main meal.

- Avoid late night meals.

- Eat whole foods rather than processed foods.

 

Enjoy,

Dr. John

 

References:

1. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.

 

~

Editor: Andrea B.

 

About Dr. John Douillard

John Douillard, DC, has published over 500 health videos and articles that are available on his website. He has written six books, produced numerous health DVDs and CDs, and has formulated his own line of organic health care products. He is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets NBA team. He has been featured on the Dr. Oz Show, in Woman's World Magazine and in Yoga Journal. He currently directs the LifeSpa Ayurvedic Center in Boulder, CO, where he lives with his wife and six children. Join Dr. John for the (Free!) 3 Season Diet Challenge for 12 months of seasonal guidance.

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46 Responses to “Eat Six Times a Day? The Dangers of Frequent Eating.”

  1. This sentence really struck me: "If the meals are small, frequent and healthy, the body won’t store any fat from those meals and, in theory, have energy all day and never gain weight." I'm a skinny "vata" dude, and ayurveda (and others) prescribe eating more, and more often. I practice never "feeling hungry" and usually pig out on everything vegetarian and wholesome in sight. Should I be waiting longer in between meals?
    (I'm also meditating a lot to eliminate nervous impulses and involuntary movement.)

    • yogiclarebear says:

      It doesn't sound as if you need to burn fat or lose weight. I am in the same category as you, and I am eating 6x a day to maintain health, balance, weight, metabolism. I don't think every model applies to every body. Nervous impulses and anxiety…it sounds like adding hunger and fasting would increase those issues!

  2. swjeke says:

    This is interesting and makes a lot of sense to me. I have hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and cervical dystonia. Although I wonder if my fibro diagnosis is correct I think my symptoms may have more to do with my hypothyroidism and possibly sex hormone imbalance. I also have symptoms of adrenal fatigue and in my research on that subject read that 6 meals a day are best and going without food stresses the adrenals. So now I'm kinda confused.

    • Ash says:

      If you go exteneded periods of time without food it increases your cortisol levels and stresses your adrenals. This is not a good plan for you if it does not make you feelgood. You should listen to your body and do what makes you feel good, dont listen to someone else only you can fingure out what is best for you.

      • 2 Meal Mike says:

        "If you go exteneded periods of time without food it increases your cortisol levels"

        Cortisol is a natural hormonal that follows a circadian cycle peaking in the AM to raise blood sugar so you wake up and have energy to go do something. Skipping a meal or going without food for a short time (intermittent fasting) does not affect "overall" cortisol levels as seen in Ramadan studies over and over. What does change is the circadian cycle of it. If you do "long term" fasting (days/weeks) or long-term calorie restriction, that is a different stress and can elevate cortisol overall.

        Most issues today come about as cortisol from chronic elevation due to low blood sugar or perceived stress during the day (which puts an increase on glucose as fuel and elevates protein breakdown).

        If you are elevating stress inbetween meals, then you are either:
        a) experiencing too much chronic stress in your life that needs to be addressed
        b) eating the wrong foods at meals which are causing blood sugar crashes
        c) inadequately helping restore liver glycogen stores to help handle blood sugar regulation

        What you eat each meal has a large impact on how your body reacts, that and your lifestyle as well. Knowing what meals are right for you is a key to making it work, otherwise you just use snacks as a bandaid for blood sugar balance without fixing the main problem in the first place.

        How you choose to eat is always your choice, but understand what is going on that makes it work.

    • Michele says:

      Have you had a fasting glucose and Hemoglobin A1c test done?

  3. Denise says:

    I have always eaten several small meals a day. I have never been able to eat a meal big enough to keep me satisfied to only eat 3 times a day. I have never been overweight and am in excelant health at 40. I think how one eats depends on the person itself there is no right or wrong for everyone.

  4. Nadine McNeil Nadine says:

    As a child, I was overweight. Gradually, I lost the weight and have managed to maintain it, primarily through a balanced mind, body and spirit. I’ve never been one to ‘diet.’ The only diet I ever actively did was Fit For Life when I just moved to Canada and more than a diet, that was a lifestyle change which more or less has served the basis of how I eat and when I eat. One of the principles I learned while in India is that as a yogi one is almost always a ‘little bit’ hungry. Again, balance and moderation are the names of the game here. And then of course there are those ‘childhood rules’ engrained — especially around food — that are our greatest challenges. Having spent most of my adult life living and working in poverty stricken countries, I have a REALLY hard time throwing out food when more than half of the world struggles for it on a daily basis. So I recognise that all of these bits and pieces combined have ultimately contributed to my having a heightened awareness around my food intake. When hungry, I often ask myself, what do I ‘feel’ like eating? Hardly if ever do I eat just for the sake of it.

    Having chosen to eliminate ‘stimulants and numbing devices for the next 40 days initially,’ I’m fascinated by the even more increased awareness this brings to how and what we consume. Irrespective of whatever method we choose based on what we feel works best for us, perhaps the most ingredient element I’ve found is our consumption of water. Oftentimes when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty.

    Thankfully, I’m a disciplined 3x a day kinda gal. Snacking is something I try to avoid because when I do, it then becomes virtually impossible for me to monitor my food intake — which also explains why I loathe buffets and invariably end up under-eating when confronted with a smogasbord of food.

    Excellent, comprehensive piece — THANK YOU!

  5. Edit says:

    This is what I always felt naturally in my body. I can't eat 6 meals a day, for my body it is bing eating. But I was confused, because they everywhere recommend eat small portions meal every tree hours. I tried it, but it not working. Thank you for useful article.

  6. Amanda says:

    Count me in as another 3x a day eater. This article makes complete sense to me, this is how my body responds best and how I have the easiest time controlling my weight. Some really do best with the 5-6 mini meals but that certainly isnot the only way. I see nothing wrong with waiting for my body to signal me that it needs food before I eat….besides, food tastes better that way.

  7. guest says:

    I can see so much wrong with this article. But I have a question to your study: those people lost weight (and felt better) what happened to the control group? How did those people before? WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CONTROLS? this study sounds pretty flawed.
    as for the eating and burning fat: have you included the total intake? a lot of people use 6 meals as an excuse to binge in terms of calories.
    I agree with other comments, some people deal better with 3 meals, others need 6.

  8. Grasshop says:

    This article is brilliant! My kids have been fed very healthy food, with many high-quality snacks throughout the day, and yet they have huge mood swings and attention problems. I’ve been wondering whether we’re aggravating the mood swings with all the snacks — but we continued giving the kids snacks because the snacks help in the short term. From this article I see that we need to wean them from the constant snacks. I hope the result will be an improvement, even though I suppose the transition will be very difficult.

    • Ash says:

      It is better for active children to have snacks in between their meals. if your kids are having mood swings try looking at what you are feeding them. If you are feeding them carb snacks and sugar or fruit juice then they are going to be on a blood sugar roller coaster. Feed them healthy snacks of veggies and nuts or cheese or some other protein and fat and fiver combination. Often times kids with attention problems are becuase they arent getting a steday suppply of protein, I know this because I was one of those kids. Unless you have a strick schedule for your meals it isnt good to lat a child get too hungry in between meals. and they arent going more than 4-6 hours between meals.

  9. Mike says:

    Look fattys…one thing to remember…STOP EATING SUGAR…eat organic veggies nuts meat eggs and cheese..plus some fruit if you desire and u will lose weight. No bread pasta or candy. 1 time a day or 10 it doesn't matter. And cut back on caffeine.

    • L??? says:

      I agree somewhat with what you say, but I'm not into how you said it.
      Bread, pasta and candy can be integrated into a healthy diet, in my opinion, as long as portions are under control and most of the diet otherwise is healthy.

  10. Cortney says:

    Thank you for this article! It seems like every where you turn, someone is promoting eating smaller, more frequent meals to burn fat. I have never done it. We really shoulder be eating better, REAL food less often!

  11. Ashley says:

    I disagree with this article to an extent. I think it depends on the lifestyle of the individual, and their own personal body type. There are some days that I only eat two meals with a snack in between. Some days I eat three normal means. Some days I eat three lighter meals with snacks in between. It all dpepends on my daily schedule and how much fuel I need for my day. Sometimes if I were to go from lunch to dinner without eating it would require me to eat way too much at lunch time leaving me feeling too full and foggy for the rest of my day. Although it is good to give your digestive system a break in between meals, it is also not healthy to go more then 6 hours without eating. So if you have a long day and a busy schedule it is probably best to have some light healthy snacks of whole foods inbetween your meals.

  12. Tarita says:

    I eat until I am full and satisfied at every chance possible. Sometimes, due to work and other commitments, that means 2 meals a day, and sometimes that means 6. I never deprive or restrict myself, but try to choose (at least) a moderate amount of whole and nutritious foods. I also enjoy every bite I eat, even if it is whole-fat ice cream, which I eat daily. Currently I exercise regularly but even when I didn't, my weight would regulate itself if I listened to my body. (After periods of relative over-indulgences such as holidays, I would go through a time of decreased appetite for many days, and wouldn't force extra meals on myself, but again, just eat when hungry; during high-activity periods such as a hiking vacation, I was hungry all the time and would eat constantly.)

    Start by eating decents foods. Then listen to what your body wants.

  13. Robert says:

    Wow. Tough crowd. I'm with you on this one, Dr. John. I generally eat three times a day, watch carbohydrate intake (but eat as many healthy fats as I need to feel satisfied) and find that my body (and regular yoga practice) takes care of the rest.

  14. [...] 5, sometimes 6 hours, depending. I’m not altogether adverse to snacks, but I also recently read an article that further educated me about the subject (or at least one side of the argument). I’m not sure [...]

  15. [...] Eat Six Times a Day? The Dangers of Frequent Eating. [...]

  16. Sarah says:

    I don’t know…when raising me, my mother was very strict about no snacks, as she had been overweight. We ate whole foods and wholesome meals along the lines of what is suggested in the article. I had migraines, stomach hyperacidity, depression, terrible mood swings, PCOS upon reaching menstruation, and became dizzy, irritable nauseous and weak every day, and fainted regularly. I was considered sickly. When I reached my twenties I began eating small snacks and my life improved immeasurably. Nowadays i enjoy great health and strong immunity. I have “retested” my theory and practice over the years several times, and to this day, if I go longer without eating, I don’t feel well–and eating more at one sitting to try to somehow shore myself up feels awful too, no matter the ratio of nutrients, even Paleo style lowcarb grain free high protein eating. I have experimented with many different approaches, I am not convinced this author’s proposal is universally appropriate. I also don’t think there’s enough hard science behind this or any other of the current eating dogmas to override an individual’s personal experience.

  17. [...] after years of doing so! Why? Because I thought it would be better for my metabolism, as per this article’s recommendation, but boy, was I [...]

  18. ???? says:

    tough crowd? Is this geared towards the general population? because as a bodybuilder putting in three hours a day at the gym 6 days a week i eat in excess of 10 meals a day around 5000 calories total. My body fat stays in the single digits, and I dont do cardio.

  19. Guest says:

    This article is like every other article on how people "should eat:" Unsubstantiated, and not taking into account individual situations, age, fitness levels, fitness goals, maintenance, body types, and so forth. Completely useless. The only way to find out how much you should eat is to use common sense, exercise moderately, and find the exact formula that works for you. Disregarding the six meal plan with slippery slope "science" is the same as people who say three meals a day is antiquated and inadequate: silly.

  20. Ryan says:

    If you eat three times a day then you will load your caloric intake for the day into three huge meals. The average recommended intake is 2,000-2,500 calories for the average person, which would mean eating an average of 667-833 calories per meal. The takes what it needs for energy (burned calories) and the rest gets digested and stored which usually means more fat. If you follow the six meals a day plan then you only have to eat half of those calories I have just written per meal. Your body will still take what it needs, but leave much less calories to store into the fat cells. This will also boost your metabolism and as long as you are not eating Mcdonald's 6 times a day you will be fine. As far as the no food overnight idea is involved, I dont think you exactly understand what weight you are losing when you starve your body. The very first place the body will go to in order to get energy is the muscle, so sure you will lose weight, but it wont be the fat that you are losing it will be the muscle that you are losing. Now with that said if you are to have late night meals and are trying to lose weight it should consist of mostly protein and very few, if any carbohydrates. People if you are trying to lose weight 6 meals a day is the smart way to go, limit the carbs in the diet and up the protein, as the protein will not be stored as fat. Eat chicken, fish, steak, etc with limited carbs all of which should be consumed earlier in the day and you will lose weight!!! guarenteed

  21. Holy crap! $3 million?!?! This woman just FARTS money, doesn’t she? Where can I get her flatulence pills?Report this comment as spam or abuse

  22. [...] a day, the body and mind will have a steady flow of fuel and never crash. In a recent article, “Dangers of Frequent Eating,” I discussed my issues with this dietary theory and presented the research debunking this grazing [...]

  23. lily says:

    ___I agree Sarah. I have PCOS as well and it is so important to eat more often throughout the day. If I went more than 3-4 hours without eating, I wouldn't be able to function. Healthy Snacks such as fresh low gycemic veggies, lean animal protein, egg whites, nuts, and no fruit snacks have benefited me the most. I don't think this really helps one to balance blood sugar and everyone is so different. We each have our own genetic gene mutations which affects our bodies differently. For my case and I know for several others, snacks are so important!

  24. [...] cancer risk is coming down to that response of eating excess calories, at least partially, but enough so that I am impelled to let you know what is being presented at [...]

  25. some one with real training says:

    Im sorry but that was the worse load of bull crap i have ever ever read in my life. The fact your claiming to be a doctor is shocking. That information is completely wrong!

    Your full argument is based on the fact that 6 meals a day isnt sustainable. That it has a life span of 6-9 months. Well yeah thats just human nature its called motivation and it takes alot to sustain anything.

    You failed to mention how sustainable a 3 meal a day plan is ? I bet you its less than 6-9 months because we live in the new age of food and food and temptations are everywhere.

    Your logic or so called logic of the body becoming complacent when having regular food is ridiculous. So are you expecting that people hit there basal metabolic rate in 3 big carby meals a day?

    So your saying i need to eat an average of 800-900 calories per meal to meet my metabolisms basic needs.

    So you must also be suggesting that i accumulate that mass figure of 800-900 calories per 3 meals day based on carbs? You must be because

    There is no way i could 800-900 calories per meal based on

    Clean fats and protein.

    Im sorry but your theory yes theory not fact is completed floored!

    Not only is it not healthy for you to be only eating 3 times a day ,

    There is a thousand other mitigations why that is wrong.

    Lets take just one small example out of the many: stress levels

    When you skip meals your energy does actually crash (saying that it

    Doesnt is wrong ? Your telling me your sugar levels can last between breakfast and lunch … please!! )

    Your body produces cortisol which is a stress fat storing chemicial

    And that alone takes your body out of its natural metabolism and stores food from any meals there after.

    Lets also explore another big obvious factor that who in the working population is going not be hungary between main meals

    Their body requirements are that of more than 3 meals a day –

    Again this rubs off against your basal metabolic rate. So what

    Happens when u dont hit this number ( which somebody eating 3 x

    A day wont!) Would you guess … thattss right you store fat!!!!

    Not to mention your body then breaks down muscle for extra

    Energy aswell.

    How do you also propose somebody who exercises in the

    Afternoon supplies there body with fuel? does that all come from

    That huge 800 -900 calorie lunch you just had. Well it cant be

    Because your blood is now pooling in your stomach trying to deal

    With a mammoth meal leaving your energy a little bit umm

    How do way say low!

    You talk of studies about how eating 6 x a day cant be backed up.

    I didnt see once in your article how you backed your theory up?

    Very vivid description physical adaptations that happen from eating 3 x a day. Your only arguable point was that ” if you spoon

    Your body 6 times a day what do you think happens” is that how

    You are backing your theory up

    Do i need to elaborate!! Some one made a valid point above this article which was “this is unsubstantial” you will actually find not only is it unsubstantial its wrong!!

  26. Who has the time?! says:

    In real life, who really has the time to eat 6 times a day?! If you work in an office, you get one lunch break.. you can't decide to eat a little then and then another small meal later!

  27. Sc Native says:

    This article does not take into consideration that a growing number of metabolic disorders/errors of metabolism are compromising our ability to get energy from burning fat or accessing glycogen stores – or from building the neurotransmitters needed to signal those actions. Hence the efforts at addressing energy and metabolic issues with nutrition and nutriceuticals.

  28. This is a great information. I was searching such as this blog. Grazing and eating frequent small meals are being touted as health beneficial practices. But with food on every corner, have I lost my ability to tolerate missing a meal? In this newsletter I will share the risks and potential dangers of eating six meals a day and the amazing benefits of eating three.

  29. channing says:

    I dont agree with this. I used to follow this advice and felt so great at first, but only ended up gaining up to 25lbs. Once I switched to 6 meals a day I have consistently lost fat, not lean muscle mass. Also, If youre going to consume meals 6x a time you must be committed to a regular exercise regimen. Exercise burns fat, plain and simple. Our bodies were designed to fast between meals. Absolutely 100% agree with you on that- however, they were designed that way for when we were in starvation mode and couldnt find food, thus storing fat. I think the biggest thing though when looking at either patterns of consumption, is what works for your body doesnt necessarily work for others.

  30. A Samant says:

    Hello, thank you enormously for this article. One thing I have noticed is the enormous mind body disconnect when it comes to eating. The hunger impulse, in my observation, is always from the brain and almost never from the stomach. It is always “you should eat something” (or else you will die”. When I ate less my body was never unhappy, but my mind always was. I found your article very interesting . I have come down to a meal a day and I have never felt better. My mind is silenced and my body has the last word. I have enough energy to last me the entire day and almost no hunger pangs or cravings. I have more energy levels than before. And most importantly, the irritable bowel syndrome which used to be the bane of my existence is gone. I was happy to read the reason why eating less is okay. Now my mind that worried is at rest and I feel peace all around. It is each to their own. For some people it is grazing, for me it is eating less with long periods of fasting thr you very much for this article. Regards.

  31. A Samant says:

    Hello, thank you enormously for this article. One thing I have noticed is the enormous mind body disconnect when it comes to eating and hunger signals. The hunger impulse, in my observation, is always from the brain and almost never from the stomach. It is always “you should eat something” (or else you will die, you moron). When I ate less my body was never unhappy, but my mind always was. I found your article very interesting . I have come down to a meal a day and I have never felt better. My mind is silenced and my body has had the last word. I have enough energy to last me the entire day and almost no hunger pangs or cravings. I have more energy levels than before. And most importantly, the irritable bowel syndrome which used to be the bane of my existence is gone. I was happy to read the reason why eating less is okay from your article. Now my mind that worried earlier, is at rest and I feel peace all around. It is each to their own. For some people it is grazing, for me it is eating less with long periods of fasting. Thank you very much for this article. Regards.

  32. LJ in DE says:

    I think Dr. John’s advice is spot on! Those of us with compulsive overeating and food addiction issues especially should not be eating frequent small meals throughout the day as this perpetuates our obsession with food. We need to focus on other things besides what we’re going to eat all day long. All that shopping, preparation, trips to the kitchen and fridge , etc. are feeding into our addiction. We need food for nourishment, and there is no reason why it is necessary to eat more than 3 times a day. We need to give our bodies a rest and allow our natural body signals to tell us us when we are actually hungry. So unless perhaps we are professional athletes, growing adolescents, or have very specific medical issues that require multiple feedings, it is counterintuitive to eat more than 3 times a day for weight loss and healthy metabolic functioning.

  33. not hungry says:

    I have the opposite problem. I am usually never hungry and eat on the average 1 meal a day. Most of the time I eat because I tell my body that I have to eat something. I usually feel ok, kinda foggy, but those are days after eating too many carbs. I began working with a nutritionist and she wants me to eat every 4 hours. I cannot eat anything before noon or I get physically ill and I usually don't like to eat after 8pm.. I am a food addict and being around the food, having to figure out what I am going to eat and how to prepare it, etc. is giving me anxiety because I am thinking about food too much. She also figured out I need 25 grams of protein per meal. How the heck am I supposed to eat all that? I can only force so much food into me without feeling ill.

  34. Diana says:

    How does this article relate to athletes and highly active people, would the same sugar imbalances apply?

  35. I'm with you, Anna. I think everyone's body is different and you need to work with that. It may involve some experimentation. Eating healthy with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies is key. Say no to processed.

  36. Mike says:

    The article does say that eating small meals will maintain weight just not help you lose it…

  37. Guest says:

    "Why are we so obsessed with what our ancestors did? Could it be possible…that our bodies have evolved?"

    Obviously not, considering the prevalence of obesity and type II diabetes – our bodies have not evolved to our sedentary lifestyles, mass amounts of food and the option to eat anytime of day or night.

    PS: it takes thousands and thousands of years to evolve, not just a couple hundred or so…

  38. Tina says:

    PS: it takes thousands and thousands of years to evolve, not just a couple hundred or so…

    Haven't humans been on the Earth for thousands of years? I would think we have evolved …..

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