Episode 42. Meal Timing and Frequency, Macros, and Metabolism

Feb 6, 2017 | 1 comment

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Show Notes

We began by discussing snack foods (and the insane amount of marketing surround them), which lead to us discussing meal frequency, hunger, metabolism, and what kinds of strategies lead to an optimized metabolism. Snacking as such is dangerous, but what about other strategies to deal with hunger and cravings? How does one negotiate these things?

Snacking & Metabolism

  • Buyer beware: A lot of snack foods designed to “crush cravings” (and so on and so forth) are not going to help you lose weight.
  • Generally speaking, if you’re not feeling “tolerable hunger” you’re not losing weight.
  • Snacking just feeds your snacking habit. Even hormonally, it trains your stomach to be hungry “all the time” since it doesn’t “know” when to expect a snack. A stomach can’t “know,” obviously, but hormones like ghrelin have rhythms based largely on how you eat.
  • In Scott’s words, you feeding a craving just… feeds a craving.
  • A big part of this is learning to get in touch with your own body: am I legitimately hungry, or just craving a cookie, or some combination thereof?

Meal Frequency & Metabolism

  • Right now Kevin eats only one meal a day. Scott definitely doesn’t think this is the optimal way to achieve and maintain a lean physique and an optimized metabolism, but Kevin says that personally has not experienced draw backs.
  • Kevin mentioned that one of the benefits is that he’s less hungry when it’s not time to eat, but for Scotts, that’s almost a drawback: “tolerable hunger” is super important, and is a sign of an optimized metabolism; you don’t want to depress that.
  • Mike thinks hunger is more a balance. This is why he calls it the “sweet spot” of hunger. Sure, you can take things too far, but reducing what Scott would call “intolerable” hunger is a reasonable thing to do, provided you don’t take things too far, and you can still assess your own hunger to some degree. All of this is also related to how we define hunger versus appetite, “mental” vs. “physical” cravings, and so on, and the overlap between and intersection between these things.
  • Scott points out that more often than not if you look at high-end bodybuilders you’ll find them eating five or six meals a dya, not three. That’s worth mentioning.
  • Mike agrees that, yes, it is basically indisputable that frequent smaller meals at the same times each day “works.” If you want  a sure thing, it’s there. But he admits that he’s looked in the research, and he hasn’t found overwhelming evidence that it’s physiologically advantageous.  [I didn’t mention it in the podcast, but I like Alan Aragon’s Research Review is in this regard. It’s certainly not comprehensive — that’d be impossible — but it is balanced and fair. — M]  
  • Scott believes this is one of those things where the research is just behind the folks in the trenches.

Low Carb vs. “High Fat”

  • Scott also wanted to point out that when Kevin eats a high fat diet, it’s not really the same as what is often sold as a “low carb” diet. Scott has written about Kevin’s diet before. It’s not “chicken breast” and broccoli.
  • Scott and Kevin “agree to to disagree” though about the high fat diet itself. Scott thinks it’s more dangerous metabolically than a high carb diet.