Intermittent Fasting: Why Eating Every 2 Hours is Bad: Thomas DeLauer
Why You Shouldn’t Graze All Day
I used to work with a guy who was obsessed with building muscle. He lifted weights a lot, and he got pretty big, but the body part that got the most working out was his jaw. See, my friend bought into the well-established—but newly debunked—theory that to build and maintain lean muscle mass, you had to be constantly eating, so as to “feed your muscles.” And you’ve probably been told, like he was, that “grazing” during the day is key to keeping your metabolism high and your body burning calories.
My friend was so obsessed with feeding his muscles that he used to come to work every day with a whole roasted chicken under his arm. He’d stick it in the office fridge, and all day long, he’d walk back and forth from his office to the kitchenette to tear off a hunk of fowl. He’d even show up in meetings with a thighbone in his paw. I was afraid we’d come to the office one morning and find a horde of cats howling outside like 13-year-old girls at a One Direction concert.
Problem is, all that eating made him a pretty large guy, and not just in the muscle department. (Also, gnawing on a chicken bone in the middle of a staff meeting is just not a great career builder, unless you’re in Henry VIII ’s inner circle.) And more and more research has been showing that the theory of eating six times a day—three meals and three snacks—to burn fat and build muscle just doesn’t hold water. In fact, your metabolism will run hotter and your muscle-making factories will work overtime when you eat less frequently.
Eating less frequently helps you keep off weight.
A 2010 study in theBritish Journal of Nutritionfound that participants who ate three meals and three snacks per day had no greater weight loss than those who ate just three meals per day, calories being equal. “Grazing” did nothing for weight loss.
Adapted fromThe 8-Hour Diet,by David Zinczenko, former Editor in Chief of Men's Health with Peter Moore. Copyright © 2013 by Rodale Inc. Published by Rodale Inc. To purchase, click here.
Eating less frequently boosts your stay-young, lean-muscle hormones.
Scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah asked participants to fast for 24 hours and then compared their blood samples to those taken after a day of normal eating. They discovered that the male participants’ levels of human growth hormone (HGH)—which protects lean muscle and regulates metabolism—were 20 times higher on the days when they fasted.
Eating less frequently maintains muscle function.
A 2012 research review in theJournal of Sports Sciencefound that athletes who maintain their total energy and macronutrient intake, training load, body composition, and sleep length and quality are unlikely to suffer any substantial decrease in performance during fasting for Ramadan, the Muslim religious observance. And a 2011 study in the journalObesity Reviewsfound that while intermittent fasting had the same effect on weight loss and fat loss as simply cutting calories, intermittent fasting seemed to be more effective for retaining lean muscle mass.
This is actually great news, because being able to eat whatever you want, in whatever quantity you want—and not having to make sure you’ve always got the right food on hand to “stoke your metabolism”—takes a lot of pressure off.
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