Re: Serving sizes and eating more in one sitting..how important?
Yes it is better to eat 5-6 meals a day every 2-4 hours, however it is also important to know what times of the day to eat certain nutrients depending on your goals.
The problems with eating one meal significantly larger than others (in carbohydrates incl. sugars from fruit) differs in relation to your health goals.
Weight loss goal: If you are "on a diet" and consume a limited amount of food, then consume a large percentage of that amount in one sitting, it could be detrimental to your goal.
Your body is use to processing food at a rate relative to the energy needed in a particular period of time - i.e if you eat smaller meals more frequently your metabolic rate or metabolism increases. Hence, you actually have to eat more (frequently) to increase metabolism and help lose weight.
If you then eat a big meal, your metabolism is still working faster and your energy requirements haven't changed. Since you have been using energy from previous meals (depleting energy from food and hopefully taking some from fat stores) before you eat again, this time your body realises that your intake is more than it has been using and will store the excess energy eventually as fat (caused by a spike in insulin from the high level of sugar in your blood) since it doesn't know when it will get another chance. Thus, it is reductive when trying to burn fat if your body wants to store it again and you give it a chance. Also it is better to eat most of your carbs between morning and afternoon as you give ample time to reduce the energy gained from sugars, it is also benefitial to keep your protein intake satisfactory so as not to burn muscle as energy. The best food for weight loss are fibrous vegetables as it takes more energy for your body to digest them than they actually contain, yet still provide you with nutrients and a feeling of satiety. Fruit is not necessarily as efficient as maintaining a stable blood sugar level whilst being consumed in high amounts as most vegetables because of fructose (sugar).
Bodybuilder Goal: The nutrient intake requirement of someone who is bodybuilding (not in the cutting phase) is greater than that of someone (of the same weight) wanting to lose fat.
Since your body is trying to grow muscle and expend a lot of energy all in the same day it is vital that nutrient levels are sufficient throughout the day, and not just for a few hours. Hence, eating one big meal would again be reductive if trying to build muscle; to exercise intensely but not achieve muscle recovery or growth because your body is out of energy by the end of the day. The essential nutrient in building muscle is protein and should be kept at optimum levels throughout the day (check your state/local health advice about the safe amount of protein intake as opinions vary). However it is important your body also has enough energy to exercise and maintain an increase in metabolic activity due to muscle growth and recovery throughout the entire course of the day. There is a lot of bodybuilding advice on the web but the most realistic may be received from a physiotherapist or associate, not necessarily another bodybuilder.
No matter what your goal the most important factor that people can overlook is the intake of water throughout the day. The benefits of water and keeping hydrated outweigh any other factor in staying healthy on an overall basis (reduces risk of disease e.g colon cancer, perform better during workouts, increases brain function if dehydrated, no sugar or harmful additives) 70%-80% of muscle is water and 60%-70% of your body is water. It is essential to maintaining healthy body function and can not be supplemented by anything that is man made. It is easy to tell how much water you need to drink, if your urine is not clear, you are dehydrated and need to increase you intake levels, this should become habit every time you urinate. However do not go overboard and try to drink 10 litres or more in an hour or two u nless under extreme physical conditions and there are no sports drinks available. Believe it or not, too much water can eventually upset your homeostasis and kill you but this occurence is very rare <edited>
If you make only one change this year, drink a glass or two or three of water as soon as you wake up, it will give you a head start on the day ahead and you will feel better than you would if you didn't do it. Try it and see for yourself!
Last edited by mod-anon; 01-08-2010 at 10:16 AM.
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