Thursday, February 14, 2013

Three Squares or Five Small?

Old school eating was three square meals a day. You might have even heard the adage, "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper" or something like that.  Must have been people attempting to curtail eating later in the day when our metabolism seems to slow dramatically.  Now, most people recommend eating 5 smaller meals per day.  Is there a right way or wrong way?

Dr. Joel Furhman, in his book Eat to Live, advocates the three square meals per day idea.  His thought process is that our bodies need time to digest food and if we're constantly stuffing our faces (my words not his) then our digestive tract is in constant motion.  People often interrupt the body attempting to send signals to let us know we're REALLY hungry because we never allow ourselve to actually get hungry. 

The five small meal crowd believes our bodies need constant a nutrient stream and if we eat more often we probably will eat less.  Makes sense, sort of, right? 

I've done both. I prefer the three squares per day approach however.  First of all when eating 5 small meals I was always eating and never lost a significant amount of fat. When I began the 3 squares approach I began to feel some hunger pangs - especially on days I worked out super hard.  You know what?  Feeling hunger was actually helpful.  Also, I began looking forward to the next meal and my taste buds were in full activation mode. 

Eating late at night was another bad approach for me.  I would eat later for that 5th meal and my body would be in digestion mode late at night.  I should have been sleeping soundly and at perfect rest but often was not.  When I "closed the kitchen" after dinner and stayed out of the almonds, cashews, walnuts, or hummus I rested better and was able to really "break the fast" during my morning meal.

I know there are many different perspectives on this and it's important for people to do what works best for them.  Just trying to give another option.

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