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Eating Small Meals vs Large

We all know that eating several small meals with healthy snacks is far better for your system than eating two or three gigantic meals and starving in between. How extreme can you go with this system? What if you ate every hour on the hour?

First, the basic theory. Let's say you take the case of eating just two meals a day. You eat a giant lunch, then a giant dinner. The rest of the time your body starves.

The problem here is that your body needs vitamins and minerals all day long in order to operate. Your body does not "keep" many vitamins. I.e. if you ate 100% of your Vitamin C at noon, your body would use what it needed right then and then pass the rest out of your body. Then if your body needed Vitamin C at 6pm, or 8pm, or midnight, or 9am, it wouldn't have any. You want your body to have a steady supply of the nutrients it needs while it is actively creating and using cells.

The next problem is that your body is very sensitive to famine triggers. That is, if your body feels hungry a lot, it figures there must be a famine going on. It conserves fat to help you survive this famine. This makes it much harder for you to lose weight!

Also, as you go about your daily activities, there are going to be long stretches where you are trying to be active but do not have the water and nutrients to support your body's needs. This will mean you do not function as effectively. Even your thinking will be affected! It will take you longer to make decisions and finish tasks.

So most people moved from the 2 or 3 meal a day plan to a more spread out system - with smaller meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus small healthy snacks in between. That way you do not get the sugar-high followed by the low-sugar-plummet. Your metabolism stays at a much more even keel, which is good for body health. You aren't getting those sugar lows, meaning you don't get hit with cravings for food. Your appetite is much more manageable. Your body gets in the nutrients it needs on a regular basis, meaning your body stays healthy. Your body knows clearly this is not a famine, and releases the weight.

So if you take that one step further, what if you ate every hour on the hour, just a small snack? How could this help your healthy lifestyle?

The problem you start to hit here is one of time. A healthy meal needs to be complete - to have proteins, vegetables, fiber, etc. This takes time to prepare. You need to take the time out to sit down and eat it. If you spent 15 minutes out of every hour fixing and eating a meal, you wouldn't have much time left over for anything else! If you were just eating carrot sticks, that wouldn't be good for you :)

I suppose let's take a theoretical case where you made an omelet with sausage and veggies for breakfast - and cut it into quarters. Every hour you popped that into the microwave and ate a quarter. If you really wanted to spend the time doing that, then sure, that would be fine. Would it really help THAT much over eating it all at 8am and then snacking on something minor at 10am before lunch at 12 noon? I don't think so. Your body can take 2 hours to digest food. So the fact that you have omelet in there at 8am and then snack in there at 10am is really no different than having omelet 1 at 8am and omelet 2 at 9am.

And remember, the key here is that it should be *easy* to eat healthy. Putting yourself on an hour timer seems not-easy to me!

But again, if this is something that works well for you, and you like a routine of eating something each hour, and you have that time to spend walking to the fridge every hour, then certainly go for it :)

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