Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Does New Study Settle the 3 Square vs. 6 Small vs. the 8 Hour Diet Debate?

So this month yet another study in a never-ending line of studies looking to compare the impact of meal frequency on fullness and biochemistry came out. This one suggested that small frequent helped decrease energy intake in normal weight men.

Honestly I pretty much disregard all of these studies.

Not because I'm doubting or questioning their results, just that I don't think their results really matter.

What I mean is that all of these studies fail to address the practical aspects of living with their recommendations, and as a clinician, that's really all that matters to me.

I've seen people controlling calories, loving life and preserving health with 6 small meals daily. I've seen people do the same on 2, 3, 4, and in some cases even 1 meal a day.

Regardless of the research that comes out, what matters more than what a physiology paper says is how you personally feel.

In my office we do tend to start people on small and frequent meals and snacks. But if that doesn't suit or help the individual we'll shift to 3 square meals. We've also recommended the intermittent fasting style that's suddenly finding some traction on the diet book shelves.

You need to find a life that you enjoy, and just because a new study or diet book suggests there's a "better", or "right", way, if you don't happen to enjoy it, it just isn't going to work.