Small Meals Vs. Intermittent Fasting

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For years now, we’ve been told the best way to lose weight was by eating multiple, small meals a day; usually between 5-6 small meals consisting of between 250-400 calories. The thinking went that the steady supply of calories introduced into the system would assist in maintaining a steady metabolism, blood sugar and assist in weight loss. This has been accepted as conventional wisdom for health-types for a while.

This idea, however, has been challenged recently by the idea of intermittent fasting, or forgoing food for periods of time.

Fasting as an idea has its roots in religious ritual and has many uses for spiritual ends. As a health practice however, there are many ways to go about fasting; in particular, there are many wrong ways to do it, and if you are not careful, certain types of fasts can be dangerous. (It is always important to talk to your doctor before implementing any dietary changes, including fasting, particularly if you have any health problems.) For example, choosing to forgo food for long periods or time (2-3 days or more), can have very negative effects on health.

“research indicates that intermittent fasting may have some profound benefits for weight loss”

Intermittent fasting is different. Intermittent fasting is simply controlling your pattern of eating. There are a couple of different ways one can go about intermittent fasting:

– Eat-Stop-Eat Method:

This involves fasting 24 hours once or twice a week, then eating normally the rest of the week.

– 16/8 Method:

This involves limiting yourself to eating only 8 hours per day, typically two meals. For example, you could skip breakfast, eat lunch at noon and dinner at seven. This is one of the more popular methods.

– 5:2 Method:

This method includes eating normally for five days a week, then on two non-consecutive days, eating only 600-800 calories.

All of these methods are in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom of eating multiple small meals throughout the day, but research indicates that intermittent fasting may have some profound benefits for weight loss, metabolism, heart health, cancer & diabetes prevention, longevity and anti-aging. Studies show that intermittent fasting boosts human growth hormone (helpful for building muscles and reducing fat) and lowers insulin levels.

Like anything, it is best to consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes. But if you have hit a wall with your weight loss even after being on the Phase One Diet for some time, intermittent fasting may be a new tool to try to kickstart your weight loss.

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