Blog Archives

Little and Often

grazing-dietThis is a great question we received on Saturday……does eating little and often encourage fat loss or benefit your health?

Let’s cut to the chase: No!

This dietary “gem” relates to conventional dietary wisdom favoured by health and fitness establishments who suggest this eating little and often will help you keep your metabolism up and stoked and thus increase your fat burning possibilities.

Running alongside this dietary myth is the idea that if you eat less than once every three hours, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolic rate slows down causing you to store more fat.  Kind of like a hibernating bear…..

Let’s review the science: our metabolic rate is determined by the energy required to keep our cells alive and functioning in good order.  This is our basal metabolic rate and remains at a constant level.  It will increase if we gain weight as we have more cells requiring energy but if our weight is constant then we will still burn this amount of calories throughout the day through existence and routine alone: not eating or eating does not affect that; it is simply the amount of calories that we require in homeostasis.

And not eating: does it slow down out metabolic rate?  The science says a definite “no” – for example, in a study putting people under starvation conditions for three days they saw no drop in metabolism and in fact saw a slight increase in metabolic rate after 36 hours of fasting (starvation)  and slightly higher again after 72 hours….

In another study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, men and women who fasted every other day for a period of 22 days, experienced no decrease in their metabolic rate.

This confirms that our metabolic rate does not decrease at all when we don’t eat for three days and confirms that eating little and often to keep your metabolism up is not necessary as it doesn’t drop in the first place!

But you are right: so far we have only demonstrated that not eating does not slow our metabolism…what is the affect increased eating has on weight-loss: does it increase our metabolic rate and does it reduce muscle loss?

In a study using participants at a healthy body weight (BMI between 18 and 25), individuals were compared eating three meals a day with those eating one meal a day at the same calorie levels (although not focusing on calorie restriction) but instead at maintenance levels not intended to cause weight-loss (but to study the effects of decreased meal frequency) actually found that eating one meal a day decreased body fat levels by 1-2kg over the 8 week experimentation period.  There was no change in body fat for the three meal a day group.  The fact people lost body-fat from eating the same number of calories in a single sitting rather than across three meals shows that eating more frequently has no advantage.

In anther study using 16 obese individuals divided into two groups and comparing 6 meals a day against three meals a day with the same calorie consumption for 8 weeks found there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups and no signs of increased metabolism from the higher frequency meal group.  There was no difference in lean muscle preservation either, the muscle loss was exactly the same too: the hunger levels; and satiaty were similar showing that eating more often does nothing to improve the sensation of fullness.

Comments we have received on this subject illustrate the pitfalls of eating in this way: one client in particular confirmed what common sense would dictate: small meals are never enough and the opportunity to overeat is therefore ever present.  Another client remarked that this advice came from body builders – now wait a moment, surely a body builder’s objective is to bulk up and what’s your objective with fat loss……counter intuitive when you start thinking about it?  With no practical advantage to fat loss and a practice more akin to cattle, we urge you to quit grazing, go back to basics, heed the advice above (and Prince Charles)  and eat when hungry and stop when you are full.

Once again:  The little and often myth is busted!

Dukan v Paleo

Dukan-paleo

Yukan...though we'll give it a miss, thanks!

We get a lot of questions asking how our way of eating differs from say the Dukan Diet or the Atkins Diet.  Well the latter two are indeed quite similar in their make up and include similar foods although at different stages.  However many of the foods and even non foods (as may better describe them) included are in fact detrimental to both health and well being. In addition both these diets are specifically geared towards weight loss results and fall short on considering long term sustainability as they are both temporary programs with one focus, losing weight.  In particular the Dukan diet severely reduces fat intake and relies upon calorie restriction and exercise to provide results. The Atkins diet fares little better as it encourages you to purchase their own brand processed foods. We will look at the Atkins diet a little closer in this series, however for now we’re going to focus on the Dukan Diet

This diet is high-protein, low fat, low carbohydrate dieting with four separate stages:

Stage 1 The first phase is protein only for up to 10 days to get into ketosis, then you alternate pure protein one day, protein and vegetables the next day until you lose the weight you want to lose, then you gradually reintroduce other food.

Stage 2 Alternate days of protein only and protein plus vegetables.

Stage 3 Gradually re-introduce “forbidden foods” – apparently this generally includes one fruit and two slices of whole grain bread per day, one serving of carbs per week (e.g. pasta), and two cheat meals (they call it “celebration meals”) per week.

Stage 4 Eat anything you like here, or that is providing you do the following: Consume 3 Tbsp of oat bran per day, one day per week eat only protein, walk 20 minutes a day and avoid all elevators/escalators.

Well doesn’t much like fun to me, boring, restrictive and has little to do with long term health or even keeping the pounds off afterwards. While this diet has some elements that are beneficial to both weight loss and health, its focus is almost entirely on providing weight loss results at the expense of long term health and long term results. This is because many of the foods advocated such as bread, pasta and the like should be avoided as they are detrimental to long term health and disrupt the bodies biochemistry leading to weight gain.

Walk 20 minutes a day and avoid all elevators and stairs? Of course the only reason for this is to make the diet work and get results faster, which is totally the wrong approach. Firstly remember exercise is a fitness tool and although it has several benefits including social interaction and may also be used by professional athletes to make the grade, it has no place in weight loss for the man or woman in the street. If you are several pounds (or even stones) overweight, just moving around is all the exercise you need worry about. Think diet as your weight loss tool.  Eating the right foods is all you need to do to achieve almost effortless weight loss. Remember exercise less, eat more (of the right foods) rather than eat less exercise more.

A major concern of the Dukan diet is it encourages it’s followers to avoid fat, in particular animal fats. To actively promote the consumption of low fat products is not only ridiculous, but also extremely dangerous and counter productive when focusing on weight loss. Fat, particularly natural dietary animal fats are an essential requirement for our health, well-being and even happiness. They should make up proportionally the biggest percentage of our diet followed by protein and lastly carbohydrate making up by far the smallest portion.

Of even greater concern is the inclusion of significant quantities of oat bran. Bran once thought to reduce colon cancer and even heart disease has now been shown to have no benefit. It was also thought to improve irritable bowel syndrome but again has now been shown to have no benefit, in contrast it is now thought to actually exacerbate the problem. Bran is used in the Dukan diet because of it’s high fibre content which slows digestion and gives the sensation of feeling fuller. But why would you want to do this? Why would you want your body to think it has had more nutrients than it has? The answer of course has to be because the foods you are eating cause you to gain weight. There is never any justification for this course of action, simply eat nutrient dense real foods in the quantities you desire and your body will naturally take care of the rest, it’s that easy! Bran has also been shown to deplete the body of calcium, zinc, iron, sterols, fats and fatty acids. In addition bran is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, eczema, IBS, learning disabilities, menstrual dysfunction, osteoporosis, rickets and slow childhood growth.

So lets assume that even after considering all the above you persevere with the Dukan diet and lose several pounds or even stones and realise your weight loss goal. Now what? This diet then goes on to encourage you to re-introduce the very foods that made you fat to start with. Of course you probably won’t realise this at the time or see the connection and and may well blame yourself for gaining weight (again), hey you must have eaten too much and exercised too little…wrong! You just got taken in again, as many do. Welcome to yo-yo dieting, a sure fire route to becoming obese or even morbidly obese.

As for Dukan v Paleo. Well for effortless weight loss, sustained results, optimal health and happiness, it has to be Paleo Works every time! Paleo-works-how-to-diet

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 770 other followers

%d bloggers like this: