Loss: Is Meal Frequency Important?”
Rehabilitation: Practical Tips”
Onset Muscle Soreness: How to Deal with the Soreness”
– NUTRITIONAL THEORY: MEAL FREQUENCY & FAT LOSS
the past decade, a general belief has been swept the fitness
industry. More nutritionists, personal trainers, magazine
articles, etc. have recommended that we "eat more frequent,
yet smaller meals to help us lose weight". In theory,
this creates a greater metabolic expenditure of digestion,
because we have to expend energy in order to break down
food and then absorb it into the blood stream.
several small meals may be physiologically advantageous,
there is little scientific support for this theory. In fact,
one study showed no difference in energy expenditure between
subjects given either 2 or 6 meals per day (Hum. Nutr. Clin.
Nutr. 36C: 25-39, 1982). So perhaps it is time to reconsider
this “nutritional commandment”.
A review of “meal frequency studies” found that although some short-term
studies suggest that the thermic effect of feeding is higher
when an isoenergetic test load is divided into multiple
small meals, other studies refute this, and most are neutral.
The authors conclude that any effects of meal pattern on
the regulation of body weight are likely to be mediated
through effects on the food intake side of the energy balance
equation. (Bellisle, F. et al. Meal frequency and energy
balance. British Journal of Nutrition 77: s57-s70, 1997.)
is a link to MEDLINE and the search criteria of “Meal frequency
and energy expenditure”.
this link is to related articles.
Some of the research found here indicated that limiting
subjects to 2 meals per day might decrease vitamin absorption
and impair protein metabolism. Remember that the focus of
this article is meal frequency and metabolic rate!
an increase in meal frequency result in more favorable body
composition changes? Is meal frequency less of a factor
in weight loss than dieticians make it out to be? If a person
consumes the same amount of calories over a day, should
it not require the same metabolic effort by the body to
break this food down, regardless of the number of meals
consumed? Just as people are realizing that a high-carbohydrate
diet may not work best for everyone, people should understand
that a higher meal frequency might not be the key to weight
loss in everyone.
hordes of nutritional information, numerous weight-loss
products on the market, and a variety of exercise techniques,
over 55% of Americans are overweight (figures unknown for
Canada) and some areas are showing huge increases in obesity
a change in meal frequency really having the positive impact
that it is claimed? It is likely not, and the roots of the
obesity epidemic lie much deeper, most importantly being
the sedentary North American lifestyle. So when you combine
an inactive lifestyle with a “green light” to eat more frequently,
you can see the potential for weight problems.
weight is difficult, not only for the individual attempting
this feat, but also for the people that are providing them
with their fitness and nutritional guidance. Weight loss
is frustrating because oftentimes the body is stubborn and
has a great metabolic resistance against change, especially
against severe weight loss.
biggest problem with weight loss is the issue of sacrifice.
You can’t lose the weight you desire without some level
of sacrifice, whether it is your weekend beers, your late-night
snacks, or your sedentary lifestyle. Something has to change
and people don’t want to hear that.
key to a successful weight loss program is individuality,
planning around weaknesses, sacrifices, and developing the
correct goal setting and reward structure. The social impact
of eating can have as great an impact on weight control
than meal structure and timing.
issue of nutritional discipline needs to be addressed. Does
the average population, those people that these meal recommendations
are geared to, fully understand the concept of eating more
frequent, yet smaller meals? In a society overwhelmed by
“extra-big sized value menus”, is there any opportunity
for the average North American to stick to this recommendation
on a consistent basis? It is quite possible that the belief
of more frequent meals has simply led to an increase in
caloric intake, and thus the population has just made themselves
fatter by eating more often, and eating more in total.
those that attempt to eat small meals often complain of
being hungry within 1 hour of eating because their meals
do not provide satiety (a feeling of fullness). For example,
the uneducated eater may grab rice cakes as a mini-meal,
but this high-glycemic carbohydrate source has proven to
hold off hunger for only 30 minutes and this may contribute
the other hand, going back to the traditional way of eating,
a hearty meal, they leave the dinner table full, and this
is likely a more satisfying manner in which to eat. It doesn’t
matter if you are eating 12 meals a day or 2, if you are
eating the incorrect foods your ability to lose weight will
be greatly impaired.
meal frequency is less of a factor in weight loss than believed
and there are many other important factors. An increased
meal frequency may even sabotage most diet plans. It may
be easier to plan and consume 3 larger meals with a balanced
nutrient profile (proper amount of carbohydrate, fat, and
protein) than it is to obtain 6 balanced mini-meals. A larger
meal properly proportioned in carbohydrates, fat, and protein
should not lead to energy slumps later in the day...that’s
just more propaganda that has not been challenged.
Pilon who is finishing his nutrition degree from Guelph
University had some helpful comments.
must know when you are hungry, and you must recognize when
you are full. By following these guidelines, if you were
to eat 6 small meals or 3 larger meals you should still
get to the exact same end total at the end of the day.”
sees the problem as completely separate from how many meals
you eat in a day. Some people may not be able to properly
control their caloric intake on these plans. Perhaps asking
people to be disciplined 6 times in a day is more difficult
and self-destructing then asking them to be disciplined
3 times per day.
has another good point on overeating, “People don't eat
for hunger/satiety any more. People eat for taste, or to
pass time (like at their desk), or other weird reasons (ever
want to see a friend so you suggest coffee- you end up eating
just as a way to meet with people). Also, because of fast
food, we are given portion sizes, and we don’t want to “waste”
any food we get, so we try and eat that portion.
example, while physiologically you only need the caloric
equivalent of an 8-inch ham sub, the market offers only
smaller and larger sizes. Since a 6-inch sub won’t do the
job, you get a foot-long sub and eat the whole thing because,
hey, you don’t want to waste the money or the food! Brad
believes it the mentality with which we approach eating
may be more important in weight control than physiological
or biochemical significance of meal spacing.
regular meals, in combination with the correct resistance
training and aerobic exercise program, can be an effective
weight loss regimen. You should not feel forced to consume
6 meals a day. In comparison, eating 6 meals a day may lead
to improper nutrition, and may foil even the strictest adherence
to a great workout program. Regardless, neither meal plan
is perfect. Your success is more dependent on food composition,
activity level, and portion control! Future articles will
deal with more specific nutritional tips for weight loss
and weight gain programs.
more and more experience in training and nutrition it becomes
clearer that there are no perfect programs or nutritional
plans. Not only do you have to match the program correctly
to one’s physiology and anatomical make-up, but also to
their social and psychological traits as well.
will not succeed on a program that is greater in sacrifices
then it is in rewards. This article really goes against
the grain and you likely won’t see this recommendation anywhere
else. The point is to get people to think for themselves
and determine what meal plan will best suit them in their
weight loss goals.
- DEALING WITH INJURIES IN A COMMON SENSE APPROACH
and foremost, it is crucial to consult a health care professional
to accurately diagnose your injury.
a warm-up part of your workout. Put the ego aside and properly
prepare the area for work. Perform this routine and follow
with light stretching prior to attacking the muscle group.
In the warm-up and during the warm-up set that you should
perform for each exercise, you will be able to identify
any biomechanical concerns.
something does not feel right in warm-up, you should know
not to go forward with heavier training. Don't worry about
prematurely ending a workout. After all, you can miss a
couple of days now, or you can train haphazardly and miss
a couple of months in the future.
if it hurts, don't do it. Real words of wisdom, huh? While
this seems obvious, time and again people are trying to
train through pain, or "slightly" around it. If it hurts
in training or the next day, don't train with that exercise
again until you have rehabbed the joint or muscle! If you
are sore or inflamed the next day, go through the proper
procedure of applying ice or a cold pack for 15 minute intervals
to help reduce the swelling and irritation.
attention to your injuries outside of the gym. Don't aggravate
injuries by moving carelessly at work and adjust your sleeping
patterns to accommodate for any injuries.
- DEALING WITH MUSCLE SORENESS IN A COMMON SENSE APPROACH
is the best way to recover after a soreness-induced workout?
Remember that muscle soreness in this sense is meant only
as a reflection of muscle damage and not a reflection of
a muscle strain or connective tissue tear. For example,
heavy eccentric exercise, such as negative biceps curls,
cause intense muscle soreness and loss of force production.
excessive and sometimes unbearable soreness is likely due
to tissue damage and inflammation caused by a novel training
stimulus. Muscle soreness is almost 100% prevalent in trainees
that are beginning a program or whenever a trainee adds
a new component to their training regime.
fact, Dr. Martin Gibala from McMaster University found that
even well trained subjects have greater muscle damage following
eccentric contractions in comparison to concentric contractions
at the same load (Gibala, M.J. et al. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol.
78: 656-661, 2000). However, this damage was less than that
found in untrained individuals after a similar training
program, so the researchers concluded, “training attenuates
the severity of muscle damage”. Furthermore, the damage
was repaired within 5 days of inactivity in these men.
researchers have studied the ability of different recovery
techniques to return force to normal and found that both
light exercise performed by the damaged muscle group (i.e.
light biceps curls) and complete muscle immobilization helped
recover force production at a greater rate. In addition,
the greatest reductions in muscle soreness occurred with
light exercise, but soreness was greatest in the immobilized
arm (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 32: 1587-1592, 2000.).
while muscle-specific light intensity exercise appears to
be the best recovery mode, the mechanisms behind this are
not clear. Therefore, if you are an experienced weight-trainer,
you will require 5 days between training sessions for the
same body part (if your program contains a focus on eccentric
contractions) but you may be able to speed this recovery
by incorporating light training for the damaged body part.