I’m not sure how to make slime. To be fair I’m not sure who would want to. I mean slime is just, you know, slimy. What’s it’s purpose? As far as I know, slime can’t put the kettle on, has produced nothing in the way of literature, and can’t hold a conversation for shit. Yet, in 2017, Google’s most used search term starting with “how to” was, you’ve guessed it, “how to make slime”. Where current trends are concerned, I’m clearly out of touch.
While I might not be totally hip to how to construct your very own sticky goop, I do my best to keep up with all the popular diet trends. Nutritional fads come and go, some loiter in a quiet corner of the internet, waiting for the right search terms. A prime example of this is the notion that eating little and often is superior for fat loss.
The claims that small meals regularly spaced out through the day will speed up metabolism, control blood sugar, provide you with sustained energy, and basically help you melt body fat seem to have been around forever. Despite their longevity, however, the purported benefits of eating little and often don’t stand the test of time. Let’s take a look at some of the claims.
The first and most popular claim related to eating more meals is that a higher meal frequency will increase your metabolism.
Sounds great. Eat more meals, burn more Calories. It’s practically a dieters dream. I’d eat 25 meals a day if it meant I could fit in more brownie; but alas when put to the test by our scientist friends, the reality doesn’t match the dream.
- Stote et al compared the difference between eating 1 and 3 meals a day on a number of Calories set to maintain weight
- There was no difference heart rate, temperature, or on any blood markers
So far, no different, but that was at maintenance Calories. What about during a diet designed for weight loss?
- Cameron et al compared fat loss from 3 vs 6 meals over an 8 week period of dieting
- There were no differences in the amount of fat lost
So no differences there again, but that’s just a stock standard 3 meals a day. What happens when we compare something a bit more extreme?
In a review of the meal frequency literature, France Bellisle concluded that “nibbling” vs “gorging” showed no difference in energy expenditure. Eating one massive meal, or 8 tiny ones don’t make any difference to your metabolic rate, so we can park the idea of “eat more to eat more” for now.
While speeding up metabolism is the first claim made in favour of eating little an often, controlling hunger is a close second.
Hunger is the enemy of fat loss, and it makes sense to think about it before starting a diet. Just don’t assume eating more meals means less hunger until you’re armed with the facts, and the facts don’t match the hype.
What is true of the scientific literature is that extremes aren’t a good idea where hunger is concerned. If you save all of your Calories for one big meal, then you’ll likely feel more hunger during the day. Compare a more regular meal frequency, however, such as 3 meals compared to 6, and there are no differences between appetite or the release of appetite-related hormones.
Most people are going to eat at least a few times a day, and eating more than this will not help you stave off hunger any better. Anecdotally, my clients who have to cut Calories quite a lot to see significant progress tend to prefer an intermittent fasting approach. Eating 6 teeny tiny 200 Calorie meals sucks compared to a much more filling 400 Calorie meal 3 times a day.
The last and often most sciencey sounding claim made by the more meals are better”crowd, is that eating little and often will help to regulate blood sugar.
This is another claim that seems to make sense, but on closer inspection doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. You see, your body is way smarter than you are, and it doesn’t take controlling your blood sugar too lightly. It has all manner of processes to get rid of sugar in your blood to keep the levels normal or methods of topping it up if in danger of going too low.
Even when people think their blood sugar is low, when tested, it’s actually normal.
- when you take a group of people who believe they suffer from low blood sugar and make them fast for 24 hours
- Their blood sugar stays the same, regardless of what they think is happening
Eating lots of small meals might feel like it’s beneficial for controlling your blood sugar, but it actually makes no difference compared to eating nothing at all.
You don’t need to eat little and often to lose weight. Fat loss happens when you consume fewer calories than you burn, and that’s what you should concentrate on when dieting. Think about what meal frequency suits you the best and then eat as many or as few meals as you like.
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