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were did the idea of three meals a day come from?

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posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by DocHolidaze

I just tend to eat when the need arises. The idea of the three square meals is most likely left over from the 50s nuclear style family, where the family got together at night and sat down for "family time."

I wouldn't worry too much about kids sticking to a routine either. Half the time the kids just graze on food most of the day, my kids generally don't have an actual sturctured meal some days, I just keep random food in the fridge along with fruit and snacks, and they just pick at it. I found making them have a proper meal, most of it went to waste.

I find lately I have breakfast in the morning, something small but filling, a biggish lunch and don't worry about dinner unless I'm a bit peckish. Then it's just a quick snack before bed. The problem with having big meals at night is the food doesn't go anywhere, and adds to weight gain and messes with sleep patterns.

posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 04:51 AM
reply to post by DocHolidaze

I followed the very same dieting pattern, eating just one meal a day, and I felt great.

However, I fell ill with a cold, and, going with the tried and tested way, I decided to feed a cold, so I reverted back to my old eating habits.

I am nearly over the cold now, so will soon be joining you with just one meal a day.

Allow me to give my reasons for doing this.

I watched a BBC documentary, called Eat, Fast and Live Longer, I've been looking for a link, but the Beebs copyright police have been active again.

It started off by saying that during the great depression, last century, many people were really starving, and there was a horrendous food shortage in the US.

All the experts and scientists predicted a sharp rise in mortality rates, but, to everyones surprise, there was a substantial drop.

People lived longer, by eating less, by a staggering 8 years!

Scientists have now started to look into this data, and have also found that, after a period of no food, your DNA goes into self repair mode.

Our natural eating habits, as hunter gatherers, is to hunt, or gather, then take the food home, and eat at the end of the day. Just one meal a day.

I decided to try it as an experiment, and found it really easy to do.

Many people I spoke to, whilst on my one meal a day, were so "educated" about eating, and eager to put down my diet, that I became amused by the standard reaction, and it is repeated here, on ATS.

"You might be able to do even better if you were to eat all day long."

"Actually, 6 small meals is better than 3 large ones."

"You would be better of dividing that one good meal into 5 different portion and eating every 3 hours.

Thats best for your body. "

I have heard so many doctor do-gooders lambasting the one meal a day habbit, it makes you wonder why they get so agitated about anothers eating regime.

Self appointed eating experts, flouting "knowledge" that has been drip fed to them, in keeping with someone elses agenda.

Look around, everybody is overweight, we are doing it the wrong way!

posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 05:26 AM
It doesn't really matter. 3, 6, 1, they're just arbitrary numbers. The only thing that matters is the caloric and nutritional intake over a lifetime.

The thing is, the human body is an amazing thing, it can adapt to almost any situation if given long enough. For instance, people can live permanently at 5100m above sea level (West, 2004) and engage in laborious manual tasks despite the composition of the air at that altitude. Meal size and frequency are child's play to your body, you could go from eating small snacks continuously to eating one big meal a day or one big meal a week, and after a period of adjustment time where you'd feel awful, you would be back up to operating standard as if you hadn't changed anything.

The idea of 3 meals a day is an arbitrary figure, taken from the idea that we need to eat ~2000 calories a day in order to maintain our basal body composition. We need to eat regularly to give our bodies a time scale on how and when energy and minerals will be input into our body, but the 3 meals a day thing is just convenient because of how our society works.

If you look at polar bears who eat excessively during active periods and don't eat at all during hibernation, you can see a macroscopic analogy to our own eating patterns. If we eat a meal that provides 200 units of energy, we're basically over-eating and fasting on a microscopic scale - i.e. we take in 200 units of energy in a time period where we expend 1 unit of energy, then we wait until we expend another 199 units of energy before we eat again. We could do this in a multitude of different ways and it wouldn't matter too much, it's just that we're now used to this 3 meal a day habit.

As for the people recommending 6 meals a day, that's based on misinformation and psychology. The misinformation comes from the oft repeated statement "it takes energy to digest food, therefore constantly eating uses more energy than eating in 3 big lumps."

This statement is false while containing a bit of truth. It does take energy to digest food, this is known as the thermic energy and is analogous to the activation energy of a reaction/barrel over a hill if you remember high school chemistry. Roughly 10% of the energy you take in is used to digest food, so a meal with 200 calories in has a net caloric benefit to you of 180. The thing is, it's a percentage, not a flat digestion rate. If you take in 2000 calories over 10 meals or 3, or 6 or 4, you will use 200 calories to digest the food. It doesn't matter how many meals you have.

The only benefit of frequent eating in terms of weight loss is the psychological factor - you're less likely to be hungry and eat too much at once, and you're less likely to let yourself get a doughnut as "you've just ate!"

To the guy suggesting one meal a day, again it doesn't really matter, it's down to personal preference as much as anything else. The 1/day idea does have some benefits, notably it saves you time throughout the day i.e. you can work through your lunch hour and go home early, it saves money as making large meals is generally cheaper than multiple small ones (unless you split them up, freeze etc etc, tedious and never tastes the same).

Edit for source:
West 2004 -
edit on 10-12-2012 by Dispo because: (no reason given)

edit on 10-12-2012 by Dispo because: (no reason given)

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