Sunday, June 17, 2012

Eating small meals

Our body needs food to survive. So when we become hungry we eat food. Usually we eat three times a day. For good health it’s not right. Eating small meals is more effective and healthier than eating three times a day.  For example, think of your body as a wood-burning stove: you have to stoke the fire early in the morning to warm up the house and continually feed the fire throughout the day to keep it warm. When nighttime arrives and everyone is set to go to sleep, you let the fire naturally burn down until morning,

then you start the whole process over again. Your metabolism works the same way. Start the day strong with a good breakfast, then periodically stoke your metabolic furnace during the day to keep it burning fat. Toward darkness, your body naturally slows down, and so should your intake until morning.

In the 1970s, researchers at the University of Toronto studied the effects of meal frequency on blood sugar and insulin secretion. They found that by eating many small frequent meals throughout the day, subjects were able to maintain stable blood sugar and insulin levels when compared to subjects who ate larger, less frequent meals. Referred to as “grazing” or “nibbling,” the practice of eating many small meals a day was also shown to decrease levels of bad cholesterol. Later studies actually found grazing to help in the reduction of body fat. Eating boosts the body’s metabolism temporarily, which is called the thermal effect of food. The more meals a day, the more our metabolism surges.

With an increase in meal frequency also come an increase in the control of the content and quantity of the food we eat. Today, unfortunately, most people starve themselves for periods of the day in which they often go five to twelve hours without eating anything. When they finally decide to eat, they have
little control over what or how much they should eat—thus, their eating is driven mostly by hunger
rather than foresight. Hunger is a very primitive drive that results from a physiological need to eat.

When we eat frequent, smaller meals, we can decide what and how much to eat. This way, we are eating small meals because we know it’s a good idea to eat now, not because we desperately must eat something immediately. Another reason that frequent, smaller meals are ideal is that we modern-day humans are physiologically identical to our caveman ancestors. As hunters and gatherers, they sometimes went for days without eating. Our species evolved the ability to shift into calorie saving mode under such conditions, which allowed us to slow down our metabolisms and preserve our body’s energy stores.

This meant limiting the amount of our own body-fat stores that would be burned for energy, and also the additional food calories that be burned for energy, and also the additional food calories that came our way would be stored as body fat. By eating frequently, we tell our bodies that we are living amid plenty and that we are in no danger of starving. This means that our body sidesteps the starvation /preservation cycle and our metabolisms are running “fast”; the wood-burning stove has enough wood coming in to keep the fire stoked and burning hot!

Eating small meals is very essential to keep our body fit and healthy.

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