Forced feeding, fixed calories, false indications
Recent studies on the impact of meal frequency on middle aged men and women raise serious questions to their relevant real life conditions. The studies were conducted by Dr. Mark Mattson, a pioneer researcher in the area of human feeding, is known for his ground breaking studies on intermittent fasting. Dr. Mark Mattson and myself have been corresponding regarding the benefits of the one main meal per day approach, and about a year ago he shared with me over the phone some information regarding the studies of which results we’ve published recently. To avoid falsely driven conclusions, let’s examine the facts behind these studies and clarify some key points:
- The subjects in the group of one meal per day were force fed to consume all their daily calories in one meal. This calorie intake was far higher than what they would have naturally consumed, according to their own reports.
- The subjects in the study had no ability to choose or prioritize food. Unlike WD followers who prioritize their foods, the subjects of these studies were forced to eat whatever was there (to comply with the studies' terms).
- Apparently, fasting morning glucose was higher in the group of one meal/day, but here is the catch: if blood glucose and insulin response had been checked in the afternoon, the results could have been quite different. Evidently, subjects on one meal/day have a different daily metabolic cycle than people on three meals per day. If the researchers had checked blood glucose of subjects on three meals/day in the afternoon, they would most likely find elevated glucose and a slower insulin response – compared to the subjects on one meal/day – during the afternoon (after sufficient post meal fasting time), their blood glucose would most likely be lower with a faster insulin response.
- Most importantly, there was no guidance as to how to separate between a.m. food and p.m. food, and no guidance whatsoever about food combinations, etc. Unlike the WD followers who carefully separate between a.m. foods and p.m. foods and use proper food combinations with clear principles (low glycemic, low on the food chain, etc.), the subjects in this study were fed like lab animals with no serious regard to nothing but overall calorie intake.
Let me put it this way – if the name of the game is "fixed calories only" regardless to their source, then you rather divide your food intake to small servings to avoid shocking your body with empty calories. But if the name of the game is "eating healthy" and prioritizing accordingly your food choices then you better separate between a.m. foods and p.m. foods to nourish your body in sync with your innate circadian clock and your overall metabolic system, such as with The Warrior Diet. As I wrote previously, it will take researchers another 15 years to dissect, isolate and combine all the multiple nutritional elements of the human diet if they will ever understand what we have been experiencing in real life when following The Warrior Diet.
I believe that Dr. Mattson knows the limitations of these studies and how misleading the conclusions may seem to be. In an article in the medical journal Lancet 2005, Dr. Mattson indicated that humans indeed are inherently programmed (all through the evolutionary process) to better survive on one main meal per day. With references to The Warrior Diet, Dr. Mattson presented the adverse consequences of overfeeding via frequent feeding.
Other scientists worldwide have also been realizing that the human body is not programmed for frequent feeding. The facts speak for themselves – in spite of dieting more than ever, people today are getting fatter and sicker than ever. Obesity has reached an epidemic proportion of 30%, diabetes 12%, pre-diabetes 25%, blood sugar disorders, roughly 50%, Syndrome X 20%, male impotence about 15%, estrogen disorders are virtually 100%, and prostate disorders will eventually occur to virtually 100% of males. And all these maladies occur when the vast majority of people have been eating 3 – 4 meals per day. How much more do we need to suffer before realizing that something is very wrong with our diet routines and particularly with the frequency upon which we have been shoving food into our bodies?
Previous studies on intermittent fasting in lab animals revealed the amazing benefits of lower meal frequency on increasing life span, improving blood glucose, enhancing neuro protective capacity and improving body composition. More studies need to be done on human feeding but with more care towards real life conditions – how, for instance, the reduction of meal frequency affects calorie intake and food choices – naturally (rather than artificially by force feeding the subjects).
Finally, what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat are all important factors that are inseparably bound together to form your diet. Isolating one element over the others is a futile experiment that will always fail to indicate how things really work in real life. Things simply don't work in isolation. For instance, lowering calorie intake to merely 1000 calories per day will theoretically lead to weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity – but if the 1000 calories will come from pure sugar, the results will most likely be the opposite – weight gain and insulin resistance.
Here is another example: combine some of the healthiest foods together – nuts, raisins, and whole grains – and you may gain undesirable weight just because the food combination was wrong and nuts do not combine well with raisins or grains. In conclusion, you can experience undesirable weight gain in spite of reducing calorie intake, or in spite of eating healthy foods – if you ignore other factors that influence your diet.
The Defense Nutrition Diets take into account all the factors that constitute the human diet, and the evidence to its awesome benefits on people's lives are already here and now. We're currently stuck in the dark ages of dieting. We live today in an era that may be considered in the future as a turning point in history, in which humans have become an overweight/obese species with diminished capacity to survive and multiple. A real change is needed now, a renaissance in our routines. Being "normal" today means being overweight and unhealthy. Ask yourself whether you still wish to follow the same old normal routines.
Ori Hofmekler is a best-selling author and nutrition expert. His best seller "Warrior Diet" book was first published in 2002, followed by a new revised edition published by North Atlantic Books in 2007. He is also an innovator in the nutritional supplements arena, creating Warrior Whey protein powder (www.warriorwhey.com) and Whey Chocolate protein snacks (www.wheychocolate.com) made with Defense Nutrition's proprietary Grass-Fed Cows' Whey.
His upcoming book Unlocking Your Muscle Gene / Trigger the Biological Mechanism that Transforms Your Body and Extends Your Life, will be published this fall by North Atlantic Books.