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Is Eating One Meal a Day Healthier?

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posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:17 PM
I have run across a few people that insist that eating one meal a day is healthier and better for you than eating the commonly recommended three meals a day. I have often heard of people saying that you should eat five or six small meals a day. My mother actually suggests eating three meals and "grazing" in between them.

Their reasoning behind the one meal a day is that eating one meal (of reasonable portion) actually sends the body into "fast" mode and as a result we burn fat instead of the calories we consume. Some people that do this report that they lose weight until they reach a healthy weight and then their weight levels off and remains at that level until their eating habits change. They also notice increased energy levels which you would think would be opposite if only eating one meal per day. When you really think about it, I think we are definitely over-fed. Obesity levels are going up and so are portions. A medium soda today was literally a large about 10 years ago. And when you buy a package of something, if you notice the serving size it is never a single serving size...but I can guarantee many people eat/drink it in one sitting. I doubt our ancestors ate as much as we eat and that brings me back to my original question: Is eating one meal a day healthier? Is it the way we are supposed to be eating?

Now, I am not a nutritionist so this could be discounted in the first post...but I was just wondering what you guys thought. I'd like to hear everyone "weigh" in!

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:23 PM

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:23 PM
reply to post by Abrihetx

I have since at least my teenage years eaten only once or twice a day. When i do eat i eat until i feel completely satisfied and rarely what is supposed to be "healthy" diet. Never had any weight issues even though i am not active at all.

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:28 PM
reply to post by Abrihetx

Depends If i only ate 1 meal a day i would be less than 100 hundred pounds and i'm 5'10 1/2 inches tall

I weigh around 130-140 lbs cause i am active all the time and a bit on the light side!!!

My metabolism is really high

I need more food Or i'd become a skeleton!

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:33 PM
My understanding is that one meal a day forces your body to store calories from that meal because biologically you body doesn't know when it will be getting it's next meal. Which to me makes sense, as we were recently (geologically speaking) hunter/gatherers who would graze as we could.
My mother (a registered nurse with a huge interest in nutrition) suggests many small meals throughout the day.
Eating first thing in the morning supposedly ups your metabolism for the rest of the day. Biologically eating throughout the day tells your body there is an abundance of food and it doesn't need to store as many reserves.

edit on 20-6-2011 by randomtangentsrme because: bad grammer

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:34 PM
No it's not healthier. Some people need to graze all day or their blood sugar will drop. If I don't eat at least every 4 hours, I feel sick. I had a doctors note at one place I worked at, to allow me to eat before the first coffee break, because I was losing weight too fast. That job was very physical, I needed more fuel, I didn't have any fat to burn off.

Plus, some overweight people that I've known have tried this, and they ended up gaining even more weight. One friend was down to a couple of carrots a day, and was getting sick and heavier. She started losing the weight when she started to eat properly.

The body goes into a mode where it stores the food, instead of steadily burning off the food.

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:36 PM
My personal experience is that what you eat is much more important than when you eat, i.e., veggies, fiber, unprocessed natural foods. That said, a small meal or snack every few hours seems to work for me, and I avoid eating anything too heavy in the evening. My energy level is high, and people always think I'm a decade younger than I really am.

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:38 PM
I think if we were born this way (or started eating this way when we were old enough for solid foods) it could work. Speaking for myself, my body and metabolism is so conditioned to eating small amounts of food frequently throughout the day. I have a high metabolism, but I also have Crohn's disease. I have tried all sorts of different eating patterns to break away from that. I'd much rather eat only once or twice a day as eating isn't too enjoyable for me. But I start to get the shakes and I get weak if I go longer than 4-5 hours without food.
But for "normal" people with normal stomachs, I think this is something that could work well if they took the time to transition their bodies over to it.
I'm sure you could train your body and metabolism to store energy to last throughout the day if you only ate in the mornings. This would be an interesting thing to study over a long period of time!

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:40 PM
I did kickboxing from age 11-16 and because of that,i struggled to put on weight,i did adult training so it was intense..
But from 16-19 i at 5 meals a day,full ones because i did work AND college 5 days a week,so i needed the strength,but on just a general living?now i eat just 1 meal a day.

And yet by having 5 meals a day..i never gained more than a stone aha!and it was junk food

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:42 PM
It all depends on your body type and metabolism. For some eating once a day will cause them to be very skinny.
I have a high metabolism and eat 4-6 times a day, also do weight training and im very muscular for my age (18).

You can eat as much as you want as long as you train in balance to your metabolism and body type. (excluding extremely low metabolism, where there is no choice but to eat very small and train big)

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:47 PM
reply to post by Abrihetx

add the fact that we dont take the same care as we had previously in terms of the nutrition in the food. what we are more concerned with seems to be availability and aesthetics. on top of that simply drinking carbonated drinks while eating blocks a good portion of the nutrition you wouldve gotten from that food. those drinks arent bad themselves per se, but does interfere with the chemical processes in your gut. i used to eat like the rest of america and can attest that there are many odd effects that came out of moving to one (HEALTHY) meal a day augmented with nutritional supplements and just as the op said the fat just melted offuntill i was at a healthy weight.

thats when the interesting thing happens though, my mind no longer seems "fogged" as i had gotten accustomed to over the years. my energy increased, my "bad knees" that i had blamed on heredity corrected themselves and i have had more "real" energy (as opposed to the energy drink energy) ive noticed i heal quicker when i get injured and havnt been sick in a year and a half. this is coming from someone with chronic brochitis, and has changed my life in its entirety.

trust me, there is something to it. i can only give anecdotal evidence, but i assure you that if you just try this be smart about it you will have more than enough of your own anecdotal evidence to go by. i dont post much, but this is close to my heart. my sister is on month two of the same nutritionalchanges and already has regained control of her blood pressure, depression and general fatigue. i live by this rule, and yes, still have more than one meal a day on occasion, just have stopped drinking soda with those meals and stay away from "the cheap stuff" any chance i get.

truth is that it seems like paying the extra pocket change it costs for organics is balanced by the fact that my medical costs have almost been phased out (still have to go to the dentist and get my checkup of course) but is that any surprise? if you think its econimical to buy cheap food day after day and to "shovel it in" just ask yourself if you feel healthy. ask yourself how you got fat, how you developed diabetes.. ask yourself if convenience and availability is worth adapting your body to unhealthy feeding practices.

we all know humans adapt amazingly well and quickly, but what have we been adapting to lately?

best wishes-- GenerationX

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:48 PM
I used to weigh a bit over 300lbs and now I'm down to 180 and have maintained that weight since around 2002.. I eat 3 meals per day and have healthy snacks in between.. it's very important to keep your metabolism going because otherwise your body will go into starvation mode, your energy level decreases and your body becomes more prone to store calories rather than burn them.

Another very critical thing is carb intake, the types of carbs and when you eat them.. Too many carbs can be very bad for you because it can cause insulin resistance which in turn causes obesity, heart disease and diabetes .. Sugar is a bad bad beast.. when your sugar levels are high, your body is more prone to store fat and burn the sugar..

There are so many variables but my general practice is that I avoid carbs in the evening because when I'm going to sleep I don't want my body burning carbs, I want it burning fat .. when I'm going to sleep I won't be using stored energy and that's what carbs are best for .. I also limit my carb intake to around 100 - 150 calories max per day.. I wish people realized just how negative sugars are for you.. and it's in pretty much everything we consume.

Anyway.. coming back off my tangent.. I would say it's a better bet for a healthy metabolism to stick to the three meal a day rule, or even 4-5 smaller meals.. stick to a sensible calorie limit, and try to understand the difference between the types of calories, especially how they interact.. ( the example of carbs causing your body to store more fat ) .. that knowledge along with limiting sugars to sensible levels have kept me fit.

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:53 PM

Originally posted by TheUniverse
reply to post by Abrihetx

I need more food Or i'd become a skeleton!

i used to think the same way. question is... have you ever tried it? have you ever eaten 1-2 good sized meals a day (of actual nutrition) and lost that much weight? have you actually seen this happen or is it what you parents, friends (etc) say would happen? trust me, its a lot more complex than black/white.

one more question, this one theoretical..if you have adapted to low nutrition food do you think your body will need more of that food to keep its health up?

quality, not quatity

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:58 PM
reply to post by Abrihetx

I think eating once a day can be healthy if you are using supplements in your diet also. For example: I eat two normal meals a day...breakfast and dinner...but I drink 20 oz. of whey protein 3 times a day and load up on amino acids, with a bit of creatine in the mix for muscle recovery.

That being meal a day would kill me literally I it was said above: "depending on your metabolism" dead on. For someone like me that would be bad ju-ju...but for someone else it may be healthy provide their vitamin and nutrient requirements are being met (hence a supplement of some sort).

You have to know what your body's requirements are and how to make sure they are met before you adjust your diet too much...either to lose weight, or gain weight (as in my case muscle mass), but doing either without knowing how or what is healthy is very dangerous.

Spend a couple weeks charting you "normal diet" and caloric intake, make sure to note vitamins and mineral, also your hydration (how much water are you drinking), and then sit down and figure out what is healthy, and where you would like to make changes (either to gain or loss)...take some time though...this is important and it takes a long time and a lot of dedication to become and stay healthy.

Good luck...and eat wisely.
edit on 20-6-2011 by jerryznv because: ...

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 05:20 AM
Like most things, it depends entirely on the individual imo.

One cannot apply rules or opinions to a whole race, let alone males females of different ages and lifestyles.

For me, I usually have 1 meal a day, dinner. Sometimes I'll snack or have luch if it's offered but 1 meal suits me fine.

I'm not overweight and quite slim in fact, few health issues and a STONG immune system to boot. I put my immune system down to eating a varying quality of food. A little of what you fancy does you good, and having something that isn't 100% healthy in your body makes the body work hard to deal with it.

Those that eat the best they can might have weak immune systems due to the fact that it is rarely used and just ticking over in the background.

The fattest people I know eat 3 meals a day and one of them is diabetic beacause of their intake. Sadly, the advice they get is to be more careful about what they eat, not how much of it.

More than 1 meal a day is fine for some but not for me. It would be a waste. I also eat large portions because of my animal instinct that says I never know where the next meal is coming from.

I will survive.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 10:26 AM
Eating one meal a day, is a form of intermittent fasting, and has been shown to be a health producing regime, as well as a weight loss method. It has also shown to have postive effect on blood sugar, and increase immune systems. Some semi-popular diets work on this idea. The Warrior Diet of Ori Hofmekler was one of the first, and there is is more focused on bodybuilding, and their current page has scientific reports on this. And the Fast 5 diet has a strong following. I find the idea very logical. I haven't been doing it, but I do want to, as I am rather fat, and do want to get into bodybuilding.
edit on 21-6-2011 by tom502 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 01:30 PM
Thanks for the comments, guys...and the links Tom502. I honestly believe that there is some merit to this diet, but, it has to be done a certain way and each person's body will react differently to it. If a healthy person chooses one quality meal per day and supplements his/her diet with adequate vitamins, etc then they could have good results. However, if your only mean of the day is a Big Mac, large fries and a soda, then maybe not. I am interested in trying this out, but I am waiting until I gain a better understanding of my body and how it will handle only one meal. Thanks!

posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 11:50 AM

Originally posted by randomtangentsrme
My understanding is that one meal a day forces your body to store calories from that meal because biologically you body doesn't know when it will be getting it's next meal.

Well, the body doesn't really function that way. "One meal per day" doesn't really tell us much. How many calories are being consumed? What is the macronutrient profile? Is it eaten before or after physical activity?

One meal per day will almost undoubtedly be a calorie restricted diet, depending on the source. If it's carbohydrate heavy, it will absolutely cause a caloric defecit. If it's fat heavy, it may come come close to BMR. I

If the one meal doesn't meat energy requirements, the metabolic rate will begin to drop and less energy will be expended. However, it's likely (depending on caloric quantity and quality) that a person will lose weight, not store it. Question is: Is the weight being lost muscle or fat? That will depend heavily on the what kind of foods are being consumed, not how much, and physical activity.

Which to me makes sense, as we were recently (geologically speaking) hunter/gatherers who would graze as we could.

Biologically eating throughout the day tells your body there is an abundance of food and it doesn't need to store as many reserves.

...but if you eat one meal a day you're essentially fasting everyday for 23 hours, which actually puts the body into ketosis where body fat is flowing freely in and out of the fat cells and is being burned, thereby creating ketone bodies.

posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 11:56 AM
Tom502 is spot on.

One meal per day, although not really sustainable unless the diet is extremely high in fat, is a form of intermittent fasting.

I think intermittently eating one meal per day is extremely healthy. Studies have shown recently that intermittent fasting, and it's safe to assume intermittent one meal days, are equivalent to eating a low calorie diet regards to longevity and insulin sensitivity.

I think grazing is a load B.S. unless you're trying to bulk up or you have hypoglycemia.

posted on Jun, 23 2011 @ 12:01 PM
Eating one meal a day would probably more likely put your body into starvation mode and start eating muscle rather than fat.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories a day even if you just lie in bed all day with your eyes open, you should aim for the recommended amount of daily cals as a minimum and when your metabolism is balanced only then will you start burning fat.

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