MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING AND MEAL FREQUENCY
As the quest for weight loss increases, intermittent fasting equally becomes more popular. Still, not everything said about intermittent and meal frequency is true.
Intermittent fasting is the eating pattern characterized by alternating periods of fasting and eating. It has become more popular than ever, mainly because studies suggest that it can significantly help lower weight. Nonetheless, there are many misconceived ideas and myths about meal frequency and this eating pattern. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about intermittent fasting and meal frequency.
i. You will become fat if you often skip breakfast
We grew up when it was widely believed that breakfast was the day’s most important meal. As such, many people have championed taking breakfast as theday starts. Still, it is widely believed that missing breakfast ultimately adds to weight gain. The proponents of this idea suggest that whenever you miss breakfast, you are more likely to have unhealthy cravings and overindulge in unhealthy food choices. While this may be partially true, it is not the case for everyone. Some people have taken breakfast daily and still managed to significantly lose weight. Besides, studies also show that taking breakfast helps students focus more. Consequently, there is no evidence that skipping or taking breakfast has a bearing on your weight gain or loss. Many factors are individuals also vary in many aspects.
ii. The brain needs a steady supply of glucose
Many people believe that the brain constantly needs a glucose supply. This follows that wide belief this organ can use only glucose to function. While this may be true, there is a disparity to it. You need not take carbs and glucose every other hour because the body can produce enough glucose for the body through gluconeogenesis. What’s more, the system knows exactly how much glucose the body needs and provides just that.
iii. Eating frequently increases metabolism
Another misconception about eating patterns is that increasing one’s eating frequency leads to increased metabolism. This is not true because what matters at the end of the day is how many calories you have taken in and not how many times you have eaten. As such, whether you take 6- 250 calorie meals or 3-500 calories meals, the total calories burned are the same. The body generally expends 10% of total calories in digesting food; hence the frequency does not matter, but the total calorie count does.
iv. Eating more frequently promotes weight loss
Many people also believe that by increasing their frequency of eating, they can make weight loss more effective and achievable. While this may sound more like it, it is not true. We have seen in the preceding paragraph that eating frequency does not affect total calories burned, but the total calories taken does. The same is true for weight loss, which is directly proportional to total calories burned and not total meals taken.
v. Increasing your eating frequency reduces hunger
Many blogs that advise on weight loss suggest eating more frequently as one of the antiques to promoting weight loss. They argue that doing so reduces hunger and overindulgence. However, this is not totally true, and the evidence varies from one person to the other. One study looked at individuals who took six or three meals of proteins per day and investigated their starvation rate. It was clear that people who took three meals had their hunger rate reduced more than the fellows who took six meals. Still, remember that the evidence varies depending on individual needs. If eating frequently or snacking from time to time helps you fight hunger, that’s good for you. It’s all about understanding your body and needs.
vi. Intermittent fasting puts your body in a starvation mode
Opponents of intermittent fasting claim that this eating pattern subjects the body to starvation mode, which is why they strongly advise against it. Yet, every other weight loss approach leads to decreased metabolic rate. Besides, no scientific evidence proves that intermittent fasting suppresses the number of total calories you burn more than other weight loss methods. It’s all the same.
vii. Eating frequently is good for your health
It is widely purported that eating incessantly is a good practice that adds on to your health. Well, there is mixed evidence to this, and you might be thrilled to know what researchers have to say about it. While frequent eating may help control hunger and cravings, some studies have found that it may also increase the liver fat content. On the contrary, intermittent fasting promotes autophagy, the automatic process by which cells repair themselves and eliminate worn-out ones. As such, intermittent fasting is not entirely bad and might even be healthier.
viii. Your body can only use a certain amount of proteins for muscle gain per meal
Some people believe that no matter how much protein you eat, the body can only utilize 30 g for muscle growth. As such, they propose eating protein-rich foods in close doses every 2-3 hours. However, this whole idea is not entirely supported by science. In fact, studies show that taking proteins in such close doses has nothing to do with muscle gain and strength. On the contrary, it is the total amount of proteins you take that matters and not the frequency in which you take them.
ix. Intermittent fasting is bad for your health
Opponents of intermittent fasting have widely claimed that the practice is not good for health and that it puts your body in starvation mode, reducing the total calories your body burns. However, this is not entirely true because several studies have shown many health benefits of intermittent fasting. First, it can help promote cognitive ability because it stimulates the production of brain-friendly chemicals. Secondly, it has been proven that it promotes animal lifespan and may have the same impacts on man. Thirdly, intermittent fasting helps increase insulin sensitivity and promote immunity. As such, intermittent fasting is not wholly bad, and you only need to find what works best for you.
Intermittent fasting is more popular today, especially because many people want to lose weight with this technique. As such, many misconceived ideas and myths are increasingly purported as this eating pattern becomes more popular. This article has explored the most common myths about intermittent fasting and eating frequency, and the truth behind them.