Welcome to Part 2 of this 2 part article. If you have not read Part 1, be sure to read up on it here. In the last article we’ve discussed the different popular styles of eating, what they consists of, the scientific studies done on different types of eating frequencies, and the varying results from such studies.
It seems with so much contradicting data, we are right back to where we started when we try to narrow down an optimal eating style, nowhere.
But all hope is not lost.
Believe it or not, there is a right eating style for everyone out there. That’s right, it is a personalized way of eating and it does not have to involve a nutritionist or a personal eating coach.
There are plenty of ways to find out if a certain eating style is right for you. And we will be going over some of those in this post.
In addition, we’ll look at some of the impacts of the eating style that you pick. The first and foremost that come to mind when it comes to meal frequency is most likely your health. Well, there’s much more at stake here than just your health.
I’m by no means suggesting that these other factors are more important than your health, but they are worthy of your consideration when choosing the your own eating style. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Finding the Right Way of Eating for You
With all the information presented in Part 1, you may think that it’s too much to digest (pun intended). But it’s not necessary to try to make sense of every diet that exists out there. The most important thing here is to find the best eating style for your own specific needs.
Don’t worry, these is not one of those methods that are easier said than done. It’s actually very intuitive when figuring out the
way of eating that works for you. There are several approaches you can take and key points to keep in mind with each.
Trial And Error
The simplest way to find out what diet works for you is try different ones. Of course, the obvious drawbacks include:
- The many different eating styles in existence
- How to compare the different styles
- The time required to see results from each
- We didn’t even get into food groups yet!
This method can work if you really are interested in trying different meal frequencies and how it affects you. But it can definitely take time and money, given that you’re serious about your health and want to have measurable biomarkers. These are obtained via different mediums such as urine, blood, saliva, etc. Then you also have tests for your work capacity, such as VO2max, metabolic, etc. And none of these are NOT cheap.
But if you’re going by how you feel, and that’s all you really want, an eating style that makes you feel the best all day, everyday, then this option could be your simplest solution. However, if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty and geek out on how meal frequency affects your health, then I hope you have money to blow using this method.
Research and Imitate
A less expensive method than the previous is do our own research on the major eating styles that we’re interested in. We’ll be spending much less time in the trial and error phase. We’ll also be spending less $$$ if biomarker testing and the like are on the agenda. But in exchange for that, more time will be committed to doing research on different eating styles.
The amount of research we do will depend on how many different styles we want to know about, how in-depth we want to get with each, and what it takes to get us to try them out. From our research we will see results and information from others that had been down this road. Although you can imitate what they had done, it’s better to analyze what your specific needs are relative to that and apply the appropriate principles.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically you own.” – Bruce Lee
For example, we’re interested in intermittent fasting and saw a lot of complaints about being hungry later in the day. If we’re usually get hungry easily in the night, then it may be in our best interest to schedule our eating window later in the day.
Or if we see recommendations given for the Warrior Diet that suggest eating all your food in a single sitting rather than spanning it over the 4-hour period because you stay full longer.
If we feel that fullness feeling is important to us in keeping our eating style, then by all means give that suggestion a go. But if we don’t like the feeling of being overly full, we’d spread out out meals over the eating period.
So by simply doing your research ahead of time and narrowing down the style(s) of your interest, you’ll save quite a bit of time and money by focusing your efforts on selected methods and modes of going about each.
Genetic Testing and Optimization
The third way of finding the best eating style for our individual needs is through genetic testing. There are services available that can tell us about how well you digest certain types of foods, types of cravings we may have, and more.
Although data such as these does not directly tell us the best meal frequency for us, we can follow or form an eating style using the information as a base.
So if we’re interested in the Warrior Diet and our genetic report tells us we have strong cravings for oatmeal and potatoes; it may be advantageous for us to schedule the eating window in the morning in order to avoid “cheating” on this plan.
Maybe we like to take on the 6 meal per day plan and are prone to high blood glucose levels and diabetes according to our genetic test results. In this case, we’d reconsider the 6 meal per day plan since your blood sugar will be elevated most of the day through that plan.
For genetic testing, I’ve personally used the 23andme genetic testing service. I have not received my test results back yet since I only submitted my sample a couple weeks ago as of publishing this article. However, I will be doing a review on this service very soon and let you guys know how it is.
Impacts of Eating Styles, More Than Just Your Health
If we decide to take on a different eating style, we’ll most likely get asked about it by our family and close friends. We may be eating at times that they aren’t and not sharing meals with them that we used to. That’s right, our social life may be just as impacted as our health will be.
Unless we’re switching TO the 3 meal per day plan from something else, the social side of this is something that most if not all of us will face. “Why aren’t you eating with us?”, “I don’ think it’s good for you,” “You eating at all these weird times,” etc.
If we seriously care about how our individual health is impacted by our eating styles, then these comments should be a breeze to answer.
I personally reply with the following: “I’m trying something new to see how it impacts my health.” My dad is a very traditional and feels that dinner is the meal that the family must eat together. So I understand when it may be difficult for some to understand this concept of trying different meal plans.
My aim of this article is not to break cultural norms or cause friction in the household. So please use your discretion when changing your eating styles may have negative impacts. If such is the case, you may want to weigh out the value of each.
Maybe eating with your family is very important to you. Or maybe your health is just fine right now but you’re just curious what other eating styles are like. Would sacrificing family time at lunch or dinner be worth just trying something out? Each of us should ask ourselves similar questions when faced with similar situations.
Putting It All Together
So throughout this 2 Part series, we’ve covered the “science” behind the different meal frequencies, why each and every one of us should care, how to go about deciding the BEST meal plan for ourselves, and changing meal plans impacts us in more ways than one.
This topic is obviously very broad and could make this into a much longer series. But my aim here is to share with you the basics you need to do this on your own. It’s much better to start simple, learn fast, try it out yourself, and then get fancy with it if you so wish.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, meal frequencies are just one out of many different aspects of our diet that affects our health.
But don’t worry folks, there will be future articles featuring different nutritional topics about how they impact not just our health in general, but athletic performance, physique, and how different parts of our bodies such as organs, bones, brain, central nervous system, etc. are impacted with nutrition. So definitely stay tuned and be a part of that!
May you all stay healthy,
12 thoughts on “How Often Should You Eat? (Part 2)”
I am living a low carb, high fat lifestyle and I simply eat when I’m hungry, which is usually around lunch time. I eat 2 meals a day usually brunch and dinner. But I also do intermittent fasting a couple times a week where I only eat during a 6 hour window. I have currently lost 18 pounds and I don’t have any food cravings.
That’s great! It seems you’re happy with this diet. I actually eat low carb, high fat myself.
Thanks for sharing!
Love this informative article. You know what you are talking about. I have never really thought of eating styles before, but will now. Right now I eat breakfast and lunch with just a few hours in between… Not good. And then I wait for many hours for dinner in the evening. And often a small meal very late. Not smart at all.
I need to find a better schedule because I don’t think it works for me.
Thanks for the kinds words. I’m glad you found the article informative. As mentioned towards the end of the article, meal frequency has a much bigger impact than just our health. You seem to be an athlete yourself and I think you’d be interested in some future articles that will be coming up.
It all takes experimenting and seeing what’s right for you. Sometimes our obligations and other lifestyle choices dictate our eating schedules and it can have detrimental effects. But I believe we can all do our best to make it work for our own needs. I hope you find the style that you’ll be happy with.
Great article! Was an interesting read, I don’t really struggle with my weight but when I find that I have put on a few pounds I like to cut back on food. I think your article is the best advice for someone looking to change their diet because everyone is different.
I find that the best way for me is to not eat during the day so I can snack at night.as the night is when I want to snack
Thanks for the information
Thanks for visiting! I’m glad you don’t have weight problems. It’s good you have found what works for you.
Great information, I love how you took into consideration that everyone is different and that they just need to find out what works for them. You described the process I went through when I decided to start eating healthier perfectly! “start simple, learn fast, try it out yourself, and then get fancy with it” I never thought about genetic testing and optimization though I found that super interesting! thanks for that lol I will share share this article with a couple friends, thanks great article!
Thanks for the kind words. It sounds you are on the right track to finding your personal optimal diet, if you haven’t already!
And thank you for sharing this article!
Thanks for sharing this interesting point of view. IÂ´m sure it helps a lot of people to see this topic differently.
I personally eat somewhere in between Clean Eating and Paleo and basically eat whatever I want, whenever I want and how much I want 🙂 I found that listening to my inner voice is the best thing to do in life, also when it comes to eating. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for comment! Yes, listening to your body is the most important thing. There really isn’t a set template for everyone that works. We each need to find out for ourselves. Our bodies change as we age and some have found their eating patterns change in response to that too. So it’s really about individuality and knowing what works for you.
I am amazed that there is genetic testing to tell you the best way to eat! Where do you get this done? I would be interested to find out. I seem to digest my meals quickly so I think a meal plan of eating more frequently would work best for me. Over-eating can also make me nauseous at times. Great information in this article!
I’ll be doing a product review on a genetic testing kit I used pretty soon. Be sure to check that out!