Yesterday I had someone ask or question me about eating every 2-3 hours to keep your body in fat burning mode and out of starvation mode.
This person said, “Your body will NOT go into ‘starvation mode’ if you don’t feed it every 2-3 hours.” They went on to say, “If you want to burn fat… you must deplete your glucose and glycogen stores… then your body will turn to fat for fuel.” This person also mentioned intermittent fasting, which is a current fad (method) being used to expedite fat burning.
Please note that my response is not anecdotal, but evidence-based. This said, we’ve helped thousands of people lose weight (burn off unwanted fat) eating three meals a day, and snacking in-between meals with the goal of not allowing more than 3 hours and 1 second to go by without eating.
In response to the statement they made that the body does NOT go into starvation mode if you don’t feed it every 2-3 hours… I personally don’t use the term “starvation mode” but instead, “FAT STORAGE MODE” and “FAT BURNING MODE”. It would also help this person understand that we have a proven system (methodology) and there’s three main reasons why we encourage people to feed the body every 2-3 hours.
First, we’ve learned that when people go grocery shopping on an empty stomach they are more likely to buy food that they wouldn’t normally purchase. We have also learned over the years that when you allow over three hours to go by without eating, you are more likely to over indulge compared to if you had eaten every 2-3 hours. This is what we refer to has reducing the negative impact of BIOLOGICAL HUNGER.
Second, each time you eat and/or exercise you burn calories. Knowing this and being fully aware of the negatives to BIOLOGICAL HUNGER, it’s proven to be advantageous to eat in a timely manner.
Third, our methodology is also based on getting a variety of calories throughout the day. Snacking helps make this possible and it also encourages people to snack on fruit (when possible) and other treats, which psychologically contributes to not feeling like you’re on a conventional diet (deprivation, restriction).
In keeping it real, you don’t have to eat every 2-3 hours. However, our methodology is a proven one and because we have snacking in place, it makes it diabetic friendly, heart healthy and adaptable to all taste as well as those who like food.
Lastly, this person mentioned Dr. Jason Fung who is big on intermittent fasting. Because he is a doctor does not mean his methodology is evidence based. Yes, there’s research to back up his theory and method, but the same can be said about Dr. Atkins, South Beach and so many other conventional diets.
At the end of the day, find something that you can live with. If you can’t live with it, it is a FAD and in time you’ll be back to the drawing board.
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Robert Ferguson is the CEO of Diet Free Life, nutritionist, fitness expert, comedian, author and one of America’s leading voices on wellness and weight loss. He also serves on the Presidential Task Force On Obesity for the National Medical Association.