Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Mainstream Debunks The Myth

It' about goddamn time. New York Times nonetheless.

What I find frustrating is that he says "some" studies have found health benefits with smaller meals, when the opposite is true as well. And not to mention, while some studies found an insignificant increase in metabolic rate with a dozen mini-meals per day, the great majority of meal frequency studies actually point in favor of lower meal frequencies as noted in a widely cited review of the topic (but the difference is statistically insignificant). It's puzzling that the high meal frequency myth has managed to survive for so long.

Click here to see my review of the study mentioned in New York Times. You can also click the meal frequency tag if you want to read my other posts related to meal frequency, fasting and metabolism. There's all kinds of goodies here...

And if you love me, make sure you tweet the shit out of this.


Nanok said...

Haha finally!!!
The reality of many gymrats will crumble with this. And many nutrionists will finally be questioned. :D

Wilmar said...

AMEN. Retweeted and Facebook shared.

Anonymous said...


Frank Dobner said...

Hey Martin,

Thanks. As I understand, the body uses about 10% of its energy in digesting and processing food. So if you eat the same total calories per day and spread those calories over smaller meals, does the body have access to burning those calories more readily because there are in the bloodstream (rather than going directly to storage - fat)?

Martin Berkhan said...


Go read my articles on meal frequency. Whatever it is you want to know you'll probably find there.

ECM said...

Huh. the reason I always did 6 (well, usually 5) small meals was that, during dieting, it kept my blood sugar level even so I wouldn't be hungry all the time (and it worked)--I literally had NO idea there was a myth that it helped burn cals, too.

Martin Berkhan said...

Controlling hunger by keeping blood sugar stable is another myth unless you suffer from rebound hypoglycemia. Your blood sugar will be perfectly stable without any food for 48 hrs. Hunger is much more complex than blood sugar.

Anonymous said...

About time O'Connor addressed meal frequency!

Martin -

You might enjoy "Always Follow the Elephants" and (perhaps to a lesser degree) "Never Shower in a Thunderstorm." Debunks a lot of "common knowledge."

Jon Fernandes said...

"And if you love me, make sure you tweet the shit out of this."

How does facebook sound dude? lol

Desirée said...

I love you but don't use twitter, does that make me a bad stalker? At least facebook is available..

Anonymous said...

Finally..but about 15 years late!

Kevin said...

Hi Martin,
I'm fairly new to the IF Community, and only recently found your site. I've gathered some terrific info here and just switched to the 8/16 IF method to see how it works. I've been using two 24 hour fasts/week over the past year with good results, just struggled with the full 24 hour fasts at times due to work schedule and exercise.

Anyway, my main question is what you typically recommend as a daily calorie level with the 8/16 method? Do you vary it from day to day, or stay pretty constant with total calories? Weight is not an issue for me, just want to minimize body fat, while maintaining or increasing strength. My main activities are weight-training, bicycling, and swimming, with a little bit of interval running mixed in. Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Haley said...

facebooked and twittered. :)

Martin Berkhan said...


Calorie intake depends on various factors such as body weight, activitiy level, age, gender etc. It varies depending on the individual. Calorie cycling is recommended: higher on training days (weight training especially) and lower on rest days.

Thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

is there any difference between a 3 meal a day diet where all 3 meals are concentrated on a "feeding window" of 8 hours, and 3 spaced-out meals?

the reason being I am perfectly confortable eating 3 meals, lunch at 12pm, dinner at 8pm and midnight "snack" at 2AM. (i sleep around 2:30 AM, wake up 10:30AM and have no breakfast)
Is this ok Martin? or am I eating sub-optimally?

Martin Berkhan said...

You'll survive.

Joe said...

Martin I enjoy eating with my teeth and not with my tongue at all, is this supra-maximal or not. Tell me how to eat!!!!!

Lulz, this is good, slowly the intermittent fasting approach will be marketed and we'll see how they use it to make money. Vastly distorting the precepts and going straight for the cash cow. Fatty's everywhere will rise and fall on a new "diet", and maybe this one will break the mold for the masses as none of the others have. If not at least the viability of it has been exposed somewhere besides the internet and relatively obscure medical journals.

Good find.

Anonymous said...

Martin's quite pretty, I bet if he comes up with a catchy title for his book he could find a mainstream publisher. ;)

Adam said...

Somewhat related to this article, a big topic of discussion at the office this week was a yahoo news article about the benefits of skipping breakfast before a workout: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100603/ap_on_he_me/eu_med_exercise_while_hungry

Every time an article comes out like this, more people are interested in hearing about "that crazy diet" I'm on.

My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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