Moderation and Frequency of Meals: Podcast Studies

photo from Dreamstine.com

photo from Dreamstime.com

I just started listening to this podcast called Cut the Fat. I have heard two episodes (out of order) so far and wanted to share what I learned. The first podcast I listened to was a review of a book called Unleash the Power of the Female Brain by Dr. Daniel Amen. I put the book on my to-read list, but meanwhile I will share two things that stuck out from the interview with him. The first was a question of the type of food we put in our bodies (it relates to fueling our brain properly). The interviewer asked something like, Is it OK to just have this one treat every now and then, something like a once-a-month burger and fries? Dr. Amen answered something like this: Suppose you had a million dollar race horse; would you EVER feed him junk food or anything at all that wasn’t 100% good for him? No, because you have so much invested in him. The point is, you should have so much invested in your own body and brain to want them to work optimally all of the time, and that means giving it the right fuel. He advocates lots of raw vegetables and low-glycemic index carbs instead of high-glycemic ones.

The other thing that stood out in Dr. Amen’s interview was the concept of “Everything in Moderation.” He is a firm disbeliever in it, and I am starting to see it too. He likens the concept to these funny statements: “Affairs and cheating in moderation”, “Cocaine and heroin in moderation”. Ridiculous, right? Once you start to see that something is bad for you, why would you consume it at all, ever? I hope that I can keep this idea fresh in my mind the next time a tempting treat comes into my view. Then the question of willpower comes into play. You have to want body and brain health badly enough to resist these things. Let’s all try it, starting NOW. You are a million-dollar racehorse.

The second episode that I listened to from this podcast was about the idea of eating more frequently during the day rather than 3 meals a day. I will get right to it: eating more often has no benefit over eating less often. The research mentioned in the podcast showed this. One test gave people 1200 calories to eat per day. Half of the group had to divide their 1200 into 2 meals while the other half divided their 1200 into 7. The participants were hooked up to metabolism monitors. At the end of the study, all participants had the same metabolism levels; one group was not higher than the other. So, you do what fits into your schedule. I will add one more caveat — one that I learned from my homeopath: the more frequently you eat, the harder you are making your digestive system work. You have to give it a break. That is what “break”-fast means: you are fasting at night until you Break your Fast. The stomach (and most other organs) needs that fasting period to rest, just as our brains need the sleep during the night. But if you keep slamming your digestive system with food all the time, it doesn’t have a chance to replenish.

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