6 big myths and misconceptions in healthy eating
When it comes to healthy eating, there are many myths and misconceptions that just won’t die. Some of them may be silly, while some others may be dangerous, because following them may lead to the results opposite to what you would expect (to the detriment of your health).
The funny thing is that most people who propagate them by trying to “educate” their friends have no idea why they need to follow these “guidelines” – they were just told to, at some point, by another friend, a popular magazine or even doctors, who got stuck in the last century and didn’t care to update their knowledge with the latest research.
Are any of these myths worth believing in? See for yourself!
- Myth # 1: Low-fat food
- Myth # 2: whole grain is healthy
- Myth # 3: Eating after 6pm will make you fat
- Myth # 4: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
- Myth # 5: moderation and “balanced diet”
- Myth # 6: eating small portions and frequent meals
Myth # 1: Low-fat food
For many years, caught in the semantics and mislead by mass media (and even some very authoritative sources), people have been equating dietary fat (the fat you eat) to body fat (the fat you store). The solution, in the age of prevailing heart disease and stroke and total cholesterol hysteria, seemed simple – remove fat from your food and you will be forever lean and healthy.
As it turns out – that’s not quite the case. In fact, the effect is often the opposite – if you get overzealous, you risk developing quite a few health problems.
Low fat foods are risky not only because of the absence of fat, but also because of the presence of other ingredients. When producers start removing fat from food, they inevitably need to add something in its place. Fat – either by itself or as a carrier for flavor molecules – is what gives food the majority of its taste, texture and consistency. So, in low-fat food, you are almost guaranteed to find more gums, emulsifiers, sugar, artificial flavors and other additives to make that food somewhat palatable. Most of the time – these are not the additives you would want.
But first, let’s just talk the ridiculous notion of restricting dietary fat overall.
A typical advice, reflected in most conventional food pyramids still followed by many people, is to eat as little fat as possible, while making up for energy requirements by consuming the majority of calories from carbohydrates. In reality, the best thing you can do is to flip this pyramid on its head when making dietary choices.
After all, fat is essential for life. It takes multiple forms in your body for storage (triglycerides), transportation (lipoproteins), cellular function (phospholipids), hormonal function (cholesterol) and metabolism (free fatty acids).
Without fat your cells would disintegrate (lipid membranes around cells regulate their function, permeability and expression of different receptors on their surface), many fat-soluble vitamins and minerals would not be absorbed, leading to catastrophic health consequences, many of your hormones would not be produced, your nervous system, including your brain, would not function properly – we can go on and on. Simply put, no fat = no life.
Of course, not all fats are created equal. The general public, spoon-fed some questionable data as a part of massive marketing campaigns behind low-fat foods, sort of knows about such differentiation– but the extent of this knowledge is usually limited to segregating saturated (perceived “bad”) and unsaturated (perceived “good”) fats.
Without going into too much detail (the details were covered in one of our previous articles on good and bad fats), remember a few key things about fat:
- Saturated fat (typically fat from animals, although a few plants can also contain quite a bit) is not inherently bad – when it comes from a healthy source (organically grown plants or animals that eat natural diets of organically grown plants and are not given drugs), it is actually quite fantastic. It is less prone to oxidative degradation, easy to source without harsh chemical extraction from seeds and plants and nutrient-dense.
- “Saturated” is a relative notion and if you eat a natural diet that contains sources of fat typically considered saturated (animals-based foods), you would consume a wide range of different fatty acids from that food. Most people think of fat as something very binary, as if it were either saturated or not. The fact is, however, that even pure animal fat (provided, of course, that the animal ate a healthy diet, and was not given some industrial feed, otherwise unnatural for the species – like when cows are fed corn and grains instead of grass) contains almost 50% of mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. That’s, right – about 47% of beef tallow, for instance, is oleic acid (the predominant fatty acid in olive oil), 3% – palmitoleic acid (another mono-unsaturated type), 3% linoleic acid (essential poly-unsaturated fatty acid that human body cannot synthesize on its own and that plays a big role in various important processes) and (once again, if a grazing animal actually grazed on grass) it even contains a notable amount of poly-unsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain function and more. By contrast, industrially fed cows have a large relative percentage of Omega-6 fatty acids (the composition of body fat in animals – and humans – depends largely on what kind of fats they consume with diet, since those same fatty acids then end up in triglycerides and phospholipids in their bodies), which, in high amounts typical for a standard western diet, lead to chronic inflammation and other problems.
- Removing or drastically decreasing fat in your food has two possible outcomes (neither of which spells stellar health) – you either make up for its deficit by consuming another type of energy-dense macronutrients (carbohydrates) or do nothing and, essentially, live in starvation mode. The first scenario is bad on many levels (elevated blood glucose and insulin, risk of diabetes, elevated risk of free-radical damage, obesity, inflammation, yeast overgrowth, etc.), but so is the second (downregulation of hormonal function, fertility issues, thyroid damage, chronic fatigue, muscle wasting, mood disorders, cognitive decline, etc.).
- Unsaturated fats (typically present in plants) – especially poly-unsaturated fats – are prone to oxidation and, thus, inflicting damage and promoting inflammation within the tissues that embed them. That said – a certain balance needs to be maintained, since the ratio between saturated and unsaturated fats (and, further, between mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and even further – between Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats) is necessary to ensure proper functioning of cells, since their lipid membrane structure and function (including expression of various receptors) depends on a combination of rigidity and fluidity, controlled by the types of fatty acids that make it up. Most of the time you will not need to worry about this on a conscious level – if you eat a diverse healthy diet which includes animal products, a wide variety of plants (but not grains) and seafood (especially cold-water fish) – and avoid fast, deep-fried or processed foods – this balance will be maintained.
What is the takeaway? Low-fat does not mean healthy by any means. High-fat may or may not be healthy, depending on what kind of fat is used. More often than not, however, staying away from food that has had fat removed (and/or otherwise tampered with) is not a very good idea. A rule of thumb is – eat whole foods in their natural form where fat has neither been added nor removed. This will ensure you get enough of different variety of fats without shifting your consumption specifically to a particular type. Do your homework, read the labels and don’t fall prey to shady marketing tactics.
Myth # 2: whole grain is healthy
Ah, the whole grain and the seemingly ever-elusive fiber! Every kid knows that whole grain is good for you, improves digestion has lower glycemic index and should always be selected over refined white grain…
How much of this praise does whole grain actually deserve? It turns out – not very much. Here is an important notion to ponder – whole grain is still a grain. We have discussed grains extensively in the past, so we are only going to reiterate the basic points that you need to keep in mind before you make them a staple of your diet.
A primer on a few anti-nutrients
Let’s start from the beginning – in the absence of claws and teeth to fight or legs to run, many plants have evolved their own defense mechanisms against being eaten. The vast majority of these mechanisms work to make them inedible for organisms that might consume them. In some plants – including grains – these mechanisms involve the presence of lectins and phytates. Phytates (or phytic acid) bind to important minerals (in the grain itself and in other food you eat), such as zinc, iron, manganese, calcium, etc. and restrict their absorption, which can potentially make you deficient in them (yes, if you look at a nutrition label, grains are said to contain these minerals – but the presence of phytates makes them largely unavailable).
Phytic acid also inhibits enzymes important for digestion, such as pepsin (needed for the breakdown of proteins), amylase (needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar) and trypsin (needed for protein digestion in the small intestine).
Lectins are a special class of anti-nutrient proteins (contained in high amounts in all grains, as well as legumes, tomatoes, some seeds and nuts etc.) that often trigger agglutination (clumping) of particles, which can affect blood cells and intestinal lining. Although some specific lectins are poisonous (such as ricin, naturally produced in the seeds of castor oil plant, that is so highly toxic that a dose the size of a few grains of table salt can quickly kill an adult human if injected or inhaled – oral ingestion is less dangerous, since digestion mostly deactivates them), not all lectins are dangerous (a few have important roles to play in your body) and different people may react differently to each specific one.
That said – although the majority of lectins you consume with food leave the body with no harm done, some – especially when consumed in excess – can filter into the bloodstream, react with and damage red and white blood cells. Moreover, lectins may have an even more powerful impact on the digestive tract – they often trigger violent inflammation of the sensitive intestinal mucous and a reaction similar to food allergies (lectins also interfere with the repair of already-damaged epithelial cells – which often are a result of diets containing lots of pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated Omega-6 fats that may be further damaged with harsh cooking methods). Some of the signs that you might be affected by lectins may include: bloating, achy joints and muscles, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.
Uncooked or improperly cooked foods – even those that you may think are harmless, such as red kidney beans, for instance – can lead to a lot of complications, including intestinal bleeding and, in worst cases – death. The tricky part is that, although the toxicity of lectins is largely reduced by heat, some cooking methods – when the heat is somewhat high, but not high enough – may actually make lectins even more potent, instead of deactivating them.
Of course, grains are not the only type of plant containing lectins – but guess who takes the second place? The ubiquitous soybean (the potential dangers of which we have discussed in the past) is another grain legume crop with high lectin activity – the soybean agglutinin, or SBA disrupts small intestinal metabolism and damages small intestinal villi (just in case you needed another reason to remove soy from your diet).
And, finally, remember leptin – the satiety hormone? It turns out that lectin may cause leptin resistance (which means your brain does not receive the proper satiation signal from food), which may translate into overeating and obesity.
Whole grains, phytates, lectins , gluten – oh my!
So, you may ask, how does all of that relate to whole grains specifically? Here is how – whole grains have more of everything described above!
What makes whole grain “whole” is the presence of the multi-layered outer skin on the kernel (the “bran”), which is normally removed (along with the germ) when the grain is refined. These outer layers of the grain are full of indigestible fiber and (at least in theory) is richer in minerals and vitamins – so, the justification for eating whole grains was the presence of those theoretical minerals and the fact that all this fiber would slow down carbohydrate breakdown (and, thus, blunt insulin response) and provide “bulk” that would move things along better and improve intestinal emptying.
Problem is – lectins and phytates accumulate primarily in the bran – the same layer that makes the difference between whole and refined grain. So, not only does this added fiber come with all the unwanted ballast in the form of the grain itself, it also has more of the stuff that is just downright unhealthy.
But, of course, with whole grain still being a grain – that’s not all. While there are methods to reduce the impact of lectins and phytates (soaking, sprouting, removing the bran, etc.), there is always an issue of remaining gluten and, in case of non-organic grain, residues of dangerous chemicals being sprayed on them before harvesting (a standard agricultural practice in North America). Whether you eat whole grains or refined grains – these issues are never mitigated.
Most importantly, the prize for all the efforts to bypass these limitations and make the grains more edible is, at the very most, a very mediocre food. That’s right – from the perspective of nutritional value, grains are really not that remarkable. They are a major source of starch and carbs in general, providing a quick and cheap source of energy. They are a tool to fight famine, in the absence of anything else. And – yes, admittedly, they taste good. But they are by no means a staple food – not even close.
So how do you get fiber if you don’t eat whole grains?
Well, you really don’t need too much. It’s not about who stuffs themselves with the most fiber – while it is still important, its role – and, most importantly, the amount you need is often grossly overestimated. Whatever you do need you can easily get through vegetables and fruits – as long as you don’t just juice them, but consume them with flesh – if you eat enough of them (and you should!). There is really no need to substitute with additional psyllium husk.
Bottom line? Whole grains are not really healthier than refined grains and should be avoided.
Myth # 3: Eating after 6pm will make you fat
A tool in the arsenal of traditional dieticians and people following advice from glossy magazines, abstaining from evening meals has been a popular method of weight control for a very long time.
Most of the time, the reason behind this practice has its roots in simple caloric restriction – some people find it easier to exercise self-control if they create artificial time limits and stick to them. Other times – it’s just the belief that if you eat and go to sleep your body will just keep storing all these extra calories as fat (since you are not doing anything to use them).
This, however, may or may not be the case.
First of all, keep in mind that as you go to sleep, your metabolic activity does not just stop. It may be slowing down very slightly because you are not actively moving – but, despite the absence of visible muscle activity, your basal metabolism continues to demand energy throughout the night. Sleep is the time when your body and brain actively recover from the stresses of your normal day, deactivate and remove byproducts of metabolism, rebuild damaged tissues, pump hormones, and rewire neurons – all while your heart and lungs never stop working. All these activities require energy – and this energy has to come from somewhere.
Of course, under most circumstances, you have plenty of body fat stored on you to support this metabolic activity. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything you eat will have no immediate use and, thus, will be stored as extra body fat. Keep in mind that the energy you get with food is not always to fuel strenuous current or future activities – sometimes this fuel replenishes what has already been used up. For instance, after a proper exercise, your metabolism level may be elevated for up to 72 hours (by which time you will, most probably – or hopefully – engage in another exercise session and the cycle would repeat). If you are active (and even if you are not), during the hours you recover and sleep, you need building material for pretty much everything in your body in the form of protein, energy provided by metabolism of fatty acids or carbs and a multitude of micro-nutrients that trigger, catalyze or otherwise regulate different biological processes.
What this means is that food you consume during the late hours of the day can very well serve its primary purpose without being converted into unwanted body fat. If you are smart about what you eat – you can eat it right before going to bed. Of course, if you stuff yourself with cakes and cookies – all bets are off. But if you approach your evening meal similar to any other meal – it really isn’t harmful at all.
But can there be a bit of merit to this myth after all?
Here is where it gets interesting, though. One thing we need to mention is that in certain cases, there may, in fact be some merit to this myth. Confused? Read on!
The truth is, you – just like many other animals and plants – function based on a roughly 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythm. It is your body’s internal clock that controls brain wave activity, cell regeneration, hormone production and more – and, although it is largely endogenously regulated, external factors, such as the amount of daylight, ambient temperatures and food intake can influence it a lot. So there are times of day when certain processes are active and certain others are dialed down – and as the cycle goes through, they switch places, so that your body continues to function in a “yin-yang” sort of fashion.
This internal clock introduces a cyclical nature into many biological processes – sleep is the most obvious example, but there are many other processes that are aligned with the circadian rhythm. What is important to mention within the context is cyclical sensitivity to important hormones, such as insulin.
In humans, insulin release is highest in the early morning, when the body anticipates re-feeding – and its production declines closer to the night (from an evolutionary perspective this makes sense because as you are winding down and getting ready to sleep you don’t need to shuffle that much energy into your muscles – and your body can actually redirect it to other, less apparently visible, but, nevertheless, still energy-hungry processes). What’s even more interesting is that some studies actually confirm that insulin sensitivity by itself (i.e. – regardless of the blood levels of glucose and insulin) fluctuates based on circadian rhythms with higher insulin sensitivity during the day and lower insulin sensitivity during the night.
What this may mean in theory is that if you consume more carbs at night, lower insulin levels and lower insulin sensitivity may result in less of your blood glucose being shuffled to your muscle tissue (which means more of them can then be stored as body fat). Following the same theory, if you, instead, eat more carbs in the morning, higher insulin sensitivity and levels of circulating insulin will help you shuffle the resulting blood glucose into your muscles and liver, as opposed to stuffing your adipose tissue with the converted fat.
There are a few important points to note, however. First, this theory assumes that your meal contains a notable amount of carbs – if your meals contain only a moderate carb load, this may not be as important.
Second, secretion of insulin and insulin sensitivity, while generally being subject to circadian rhythms, also gets modulated by dietary habits. If you eat lower than typical amount of carbs, compared to a person on a standard “western diet” (in which case “typical” really means enormous) – your insulin would increase and insulin secretion would decrease with time, leading to more efficient utilization of blood glucose and reduction in the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Third – remember that your body constantly stores and re-uses energy in the form of fat (and, partially glycogen, if your liver and muscles have storage space available) – it is virtually impossible to eat only “as much as necessary” to support current energy requirements – you just can’t ever be that precise. Inevitably, if you eat a bit more than necessary for those immediate needs, some energy will get stored as body fat and later reused in times when your energy requirements exceed immediate energy supply. If you eat a bit less – your body will probably have to dip into the stored reserves. The point is – there is constant storage and retrieval of energy and the timing of when you schedule your meal intake to replenish reserves that have been used up does not play as big of a role as what that meal involves.
In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – if you notice that, as a result of your late night eating habits, your body fat percentage is going up – perhaps it might be time to shift your meal time somewhat (although it might also be the time to re-examine what exactly you eat – we remain subscribed to the idea that if you eat generally healthy for some time, you can fully depend on your body’s own regulatory mechanisms in telling you when and how much to eat).
Myth # 4: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
This is sort of an extension of Myth # 3 above, predicated on the notion that you should eat more in the morning and less and less by the end of the day.
There are two problems with this approach. Most people do not have proper breakfast. In our day and age – a muffin from a local coffee shop and a large cup of vanilla latte are considered breakfast (although this is more likely be classified as dessert in our books). Tell these people that they should eat a lot during breakfast and reduce their food intake later in the day – and they will eat six muffins instead. The results are dismal – not only don’t they get any meaningful nutrients, but their breakfast is full of refined carbs, which leads to a sugar high, followed by a sugar crash, which triggers hunger only a few hours after breakfast and leads to the increased consumption during subsequent meal intakes (especially, paired with potential disruption in leptin sensitivity due to lectin activity from grain-filled breakfasts, as we mentioned above).
This belief that breakfast is the most important meal is probably fuelled by a misconception that you need to load up on enough energy to take you through the day. But you probably know by now that this is not how it works. Whatever excess energy your body cannot utilize immediately gets stored for future use. When exactly it is stored (morning or evening) doesn’t really matter. As long as your body is efficient in accessing and utilizing these stored fat reserves (in other words, if you are somewhat keto-adapted and have no problem utilizing fat for energy) – it can do it whenever necessary, and not just limited to specific times of day.
This becomes even more relevant if you practice intermittent fasting. For most people – especially those who are just starting out – intermittent fasting is psychologically (and physiologically) easier if at least a part of the fasting window covers the sleeping hours – this is the time when your metabolism naturally slows down and you don’t have to consciously fight hunger. Therefore, the vast majority of people practicing intermittent fasting skip or significantly postpone breakfast and schedule their last meal for the day earlier in the evening – this compresses the re-feeding window to only about 8-10 hours). We are not going to discuss the benefits of intermittent fasting in this article and we are not saying you should absolutely practice it – but, if you do – you will be the first one to realize that loading up on breakfast may not work.
Note that we are deliberately not mentioning specific macronutrient composition of your meals – this really depends on many factors. If, for instance, you are a body-builder training for muscular hypertrophy (once again, we are not commenting on any long-term health consequences of these aggressive athletic goals), skipping meals for 12 hours may not work too well. On the other hand, if you are battling a serious disease, (intermittent) fasting and strict control over such macronutrient composition becomes paramount.
The bottom line is – just as with evening meals that are not inherently more harmful, it’s really not the timing of food, but rather its quality and composition that matters the most – as adjusted for your specific life stage, athletic goals, individual metabolic specifics and overall schedule. But can you say that generally breakfast is more important than lunch or dinner? Probably not!
Myth # 5: moderation and “balanced diet”
You have probably heard this a million times – as long as you eat a “balanced diet” and practice moderation in food – you should be healthy. On some deep level, this sort of makes sense – after all, sticking to only one specific type of food is probably not healthy and you should diversify your diet with various sources of nutrients, right?
The key word here, however, is “nutrients” – and this is what gets ignored a lot.
The problem is that, when it comes to “balanced diets” and moderation, different people have very different definitions for the word “balanced”. Most interpret this to be a green light to eat pretty much everything, as long as it is in moderation.
Moderation, however, is a double-edged sword. It can potentially mean you are restricting yourself too much when eating the stuff you really need and allowing yourself too much in eating the stuff you should avoid like a plaque. It is a pathway to mediocrity – you would be neither here nor there. And, in our world, this is not really acceptable. Instead, we like to advocate a diet where you consume what is good for you ad libitum – and severely restrict what is bad.
We are not advocating orthorexia by any means, where you would just stick to a very strict set of rules and never allow yourself any deviations to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. We recognize the fact that in normal social surroundings you will occasionally make less than stellar dietary choices – all we ask for is that you keep them to absolute minimum and understand the repercussions, rather than try to justify this by a balanced diet where everything is OK in moderation.
Consider two cases in point. First – dietary fiber. Not the kind that you are being pushed to eat in whole grain bread, being told that it’s the best thing since – well – sliced bread (see above), but rather the much healthier fiber that comes from vegetables and, to lesser extent, fruits. This insoluble and soluble fiber not only provides bulk to the foods you eat – it also often serves as a prebiotic source of energy for your gut bacteria. The role of gut bacteria in helping maintain strong immune system, proper metabolism, mood and even enhanced brain function has been well established – so nurturing a healthy intestinal flora by making sure they have enough of proper substrate to thrive on and do not, instead, get pushed out by pathogenic bacteria is very important.
These are just two examples – the real world is full of them. So “everything in moderation” is a pretty bad strategy if you care about your health.
What happens if you adopt the “everything in moderation” standpoint and, instead of eating a lot of vegetables, moderate this amount and make up for their deficit by consuming other stuff, such as simple carbs (bread and the like), refined sugars, deep fried foods, soda drinks, a bit of cookies, chips, muffins – in other words, what happens, if you just follow a somewhat standard western diet, but do so in a way that sort of controls the amount, so that you don’t binge on one specific item?
Well, you would only probably be “moderately” healthy. Sure, the fact that not all of your diet would consist of processed foods and you would get at least some benefit from the moderate amount of vegetables you would eat is better than nothing. Your body would be slightly better equipped to counter the detrimental effect of bad food. But this “reactionary” mode would not be enough for it to thrive. Moreover, some ingredients and anti-nutrients can inflict significant damage even in small amounts – so that the limited amount of healthier ingredients from the other half of your diet will probably not be enough to make up for it.
So – forget the “balanced” approach. There should not be a balance between good and bad food – the good food should undeniably prevail. Having recognized the fact that you probably will, every now and then, consume something that isn’t good for you, don’t obsess over it – just make sure that on a normal day, generally speaking, your diet is stellar and heavily skewed towards the good stuff.
(Don’t know where to start and how to tell healthy food from unhealthy food? Why not look at a wide variety of articles in our “Food” section first?)
Myth # 6: eating small portions and frequent meals
Whether you have been getting this advice from dieticians, bodybuilders or popular magazines – eating smaller and more frequent meals is a dietary control method that is still very commonly used.
The belief probably stems from the same root as calorie-counting misconception as a method to appetite and weight control. Calorie restriction is perceived by many to be the only way to limit the energy you consume vs. the energy you expend. It is widely believed that if you consume only what your body can process immediately you would limit its ability to store extra energy (there won’t be any) as fat.
This myth is also often supported by the bodybuilding community living under the misconception that you should eat 6-8 times per day in smaller meals to maximize muscle growth (because your body can only process a limited amount of protein per each meal intake – and because, as many people believe, as soon as you start feeling hungry, it means your body starts metabolizing your own precious muscle tissue.
Not only this is not true (if you get enough nutrients during the day overall, going without food for a normal interval of several hours is not going to compromise your muscle growth), but you also have to keep in mind that traditional methods of gaining body mass in bodybuilding revolve around “bulking” and “cutting” – the methods that are not the cleanest or healthiest (bulking is so called because you main gain bulk mass, but there is no differentiation between muscle and fat mass at that stage – it’s just gross weight).
The problem with eating many frequent but smaller meals is that your body, basically, never gets a break. Eating meals on a constant basis almost inevitably means constant elevated blood glucose levels, because a vast majority of the meals you consume (unless they are very strictly ketogenic) will trigger some sort of insulin response. Elevated blood glucose and insulin levels may lead to decrease in insulin sensitivity and a pre-diabetic condition – and, ironically, lead to obesity, which is the opposite of what a lot of people seek when trying to eat smaller frequent meals. Burning body fat in the presence of elevated insulin is virtually impossible.
Let’s face it – the idea of eating frequent smaller meals is yet another variation of caloric restriction – just applied specifically to individual meals.
Blind caloric restriction without considering micro- and macro-nutrient composition of the food you consume is too blunt of a method. As we have previously discussed, your body doesn’t just care about energy in its pure form – energy is absolutely necessary for any biological process, but nutritional value of food that supplies that energy is equally, if not more important. You can supply raw energy in the form of pure sugar, for instance – this will give your cells the ability to carry on biological processes they are programmed to carry on, but without the nutrients that further regulate those processes (and are required for their normal execution), everything will just fall apart. So, caloric value of food you eat may not be as important as its nutritional value (meaning – the amount of necessary micro- and macro-nutrients).
In addition, eating many meals during the day is a colossal waste of time. Assuming we are talking real meals (and not some junky snack bars that exacerbate this frequent feeding problem even more), the time spent on preparation, actual eating, and subsequent clean-up will add up to a sizeable chunk of your daily time – time you could have spent on more productive tasks.
Remember, as long as you eat the right stuff, eating to satiety once is actually better than breaking that larger meal down into several smaller portions that are going to leave you unsatisfied, but still trigger insulin response. Of course, there is a limit to how much you can physically stuff yourself with (and it’s never a competition – the key word above was “satiety” not “nausea”) – but food that has the right balance of macronutrients (in our world, this typically means higher fat and lower carb, with sufficient amount of protein) and does not contain junk (which means organic or at least unprocessed or very minimally-processed), when consumed on a regular basis, has the ability to train your body to eat as much as you need as infrequently as you need.
So forget this nonsense and instead of obsessing about how often you eat – obsess, instead, about the quality of the food you eat and its nutritional value!
Of course, those are not the only misconceptions that often distract people from their goals. Unfortunately, when it comes to eating – some of the myths that people were made to believe are fascinating. There is no shortage of unscrupulous marketers who are always eager to sell you some new shiny idea or method. So, over time, the number or these ideas and methods has reached astronomical proportions. Makes you wonder – if any of them actually work – how come new ones keep coming out?
In reality – you only need a handful of simple rules to eat healthy.
And you can find most of them on this website. At the very least – start here.