What should I eat, how often and when?

{untangling the metabolic web}

Amplified meal frequency is advice somewhat aggressively dispensed by individuals in the fitness industry. I carefully state fitness industry and not nutrition and dietetics industry for a clear and demonstrative purpose.

Someone in the fitness industry is a person who has earned credentials with all due honors and recognition for their achievements in fitness or exercise science. While a corner of fitness is occupied by nutrition, specific scientific understanding of nutrition and dietetics is not  function of these programs. Personal Trainers should not be giving nutritional advice if they have not earned appropriate degrees and certifications to do so. All the same, a nutritionist should not be giving exercise and fitness advice if they have not earned credentials in personal training or exercise science, right? For the purposes of full disclosure: I have earned in excess of 12 credits in University level nutrition and dietetics; I have earned credentials as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist (NASM), a certificate in Vitamins, Minerals and Nutraceuticals (Huntingdon College of Health Sciences), and I am earning both a certificate in Eating Disorders and Psychology of Eating as well as a Doctor of Science in Holistic Nutrition. Backing my exercise credentials are a minor in Health Sciences and Motor Skills Development, Core Conditioning Specialist Certification (NESTA) and a Personal Training Certification.

* * * * * * *

While *some* individuals, as a feature of their unique body processing, can benefit from a High Protein, 6-meal-a-day prescription diet, this is not ideal for everyone and does not provide any advantages in weight loss. Those who benefitted most in targeted studies were individuals who were identified as obese (having a BMI greater than 29%) and who were at increased risk of a metabolic syndromes (i.e., diabetes). When the offending diet was dramatically altered to eliminate processed carbohydrates and include greater amounts of protein, individuals lost weight, most significantly visceral fat (the fat around and above the abdomen that increases risk of cardiovascular damage and metabolic syndromes).

A study performed with elite Kenyan runners discovers not-so-surprising evidence that their diet is largely comprised by vegetable sources – high on the carbohydrate end – a less animal protein. [1] Taking cultural proclivities into consideration alongside Kenyans’ running intensity, this is neither dietary law nor a generalized recommendation for all runners or elite athletes. I’d like to address this further in a new blog section on Eating Anthropology, coming soon.

More info on the way

[1] Anderson, Eating practices of the best endurance athletes in the world. http://www.active.com/running/articles/eating-practices-of-the-best-endurance-athletes-in-the-world


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