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Are 3 meals a day unhealthy?


Have you ever seen the TV show “Naked and Afraid”? A man and a woman go (naked) into the wild with no food or tools and have to survive for 3 weeks. If they make the full 3 weeks it they usually come back emaciated.

Guess what? That’s the norm for mammals, humans included. When you live in natural state, you don’t get 3 meals a day. Maybe 3 meals a month is more like it, and then if you’re lucky.

Those are the conditions for which mammalian bodies were designed. To live without food for long periods and then maybe once in a while gorge on something if you are lucky enough to find it.

In other words, the human body was designed for sporadic eating and drinking. It’s very good at that. It’s terrible at getting fed regularly because it just was never designed for that. If you are eating 3 meals a day, doing a lot of snacking to boot, then things get really ugly. As we are seeing now with the global epidemic of obesity.

The current fashionable remedies for obesity are diet and exercise. But the diet part still assumes you eat 3 meals a day. I think the problem is less the amount of calories you take in, and more so how regularly you do it. In other words I think that regularity rather than just calorie count is the real culprit.

Not that calories aren’t a problem either. There’s a mountain of evidence now that shows conclusively that calorific reduction extends lifespan and leads to better health outcomes. This can even be seen at the molecular level where we now know that the more calories you take in, the shorter are your telomeres (OK look here) which are a powerful indicator of remaining longevity.

But the 3 meals a day problem is a difficult one to get rid of. Moms everywhere insist that you have breakfast because their reptilian brains know as only a mom can know that in the coming days you are certain to experience a famine and won’t survive it. If you have breakfast that insulates you from this extremely common occurrence.

If your mom has the slightest inkling that these repeated breakfasts will make you obese or overweight, no matter, damn the torpedoes. There’s several million years of evolution backing her up and she’s not about to dump this certainty now in favor of some new-fangled theory that says you shouldn’t eat 3 – or more – meals   day.

I’m a runner and I usually run every day. I rarely have breakfast and I will never run a long run, like a half-marathon, after having breakfast. That’s because it saps my energy. I would like to think I'm abnormal, but, sad to say, I definitely am not.

We also have another snippet of knowledge doing the rounds. That is, that when you eat food regularly, especially if it’s rich or sugary food, it makes you want to eat more. The idea that much of modern eating is a symptom of addictive behavior is now well-established. Eating 3 meals a day aids and abets global food addictions; basically giving alcohol to an alcoholic.

But we have a modern food industry and modern supply chains that are themselves addicted to the business of supplying 3 or more meals a day to people. In fact, these industries see it as their bounden duty to keep us eating essentially continuously.

That’s why we now have things like protein bars and frappuccino that are meant to allow us to graze continuously no matter what activity we happen to be engaged in at that particular time. It certainly isn’t in the interest of food vendors, supermarkets, restaurants, fast food joints and the like to tell you that eating their food several times a day is actually regularly poisoning yourself. No-one wants you to realize that regular food is a toxin that your body wasn’t designed to tolerate. And so is going to lead to disease and a shorter life.

Food in limited quantities is food. In quantities of 3 meals a day or more it’s essentially a toxin. The body treats it as such. That’s why it revolts against the excess by going into obesity, shutting down essential organs and processes and giving you diabetes. That’s why diabetes type 2 is still increasing rapidly in every country of the world.

What our bodies worldwide are telling us is not that we are just eating too many calories, but that we are eating way too many meals and that is overloading all of our mammalian physiological processes.

The world is very slowly waking up to this gargantuan problem. People are starting to realize that fasting is useful, although it’s still not the complete answer. You might have heard of the 5/2 diet; that’s where you eat normally for 5 days and have minimal calories for the remaining 2 days a week.

It’s a step in the right direction but here’s my tip. If you want to do it properly and enjoy fantastic health and a great figure, you should go on a 2/5 diet (invented by yours truly) that is 5 days a week with minimum calories (300-500 calories a day depending on your size and age) and for 2 days a week you can eat “normally”, that is, be a glutton.

The side benefit is that you will assuredly become a millionaire. Something to console you for an annoying gain in health and fitness and the loss of all that deliciously toxic “food”.

It could be worse. Like going on “Naked and Afraid”.

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