Haven't we all been taught that good little girls and boys eat their three meals/day?
...why everything your parents taught you (on this subject) is wrong:
Excerpts from Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen's Habits of Health:
The Myth of Three Squares
A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD demonstrated that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of important, even remarkable, ways.
The researchers divided their subjects into two groups. Both ate the exact same food with the exact same number of calories. But one group ate their food divided into the usual three meals a day. The other ate more often, consuming lots of little meals.
Surprisingly, the group that ate the small meals throughout the day lost more weight. They lost weight because their blood sugar didn't continually spike and then dip down to an even lower level, the way it does after a big meal. Their glycemic levels (amount of sugar in their blood) remained steady...and their cravings for sweet foods went down.
That's not all! They also found that, that same group who ate more frequently reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and the blood insulin by almost 28%. That's key - because, in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation, and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you're much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat. Your body begins to work differently, and you're no longer the fat factory you once were.
Small amounts of nourishment throughout the day are better than the same amount of food concentrated in three big hits. If we feed the body at regular intervals, we send a signal to the body that it doesn't have to store calories. Conversely, when we skip meals we send just the opposite signal for the body to store calories, creating a negative effect on the metabolism.
Eating regularly satisfies our ancient programming, prevents activating the alarms of starvation, and turns off fat storage. It's our modern-day version of hunting and gathering! And by adding low-glycemic foods to those meals, making them more like our ancient diet, we do even more to control blood sugar and turn off the insulin pump that leads to dreaded fat storage - fat that's crippling our health and leading directly to disease.
The Science of Six Fuelings
The benefits of eating a small amount of food more often are staggering:
1) help you lose weight
2) control hunger
3) reduce blood insulin (a factor in fat storage and inflammation)
4) lower total cholesterol levels
5) reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol
6) reduce levels of apolipoprotein b (the "very bad" stuff)
7) depress glucose levels
8) increase bile acid secretion
9) suppress free fatty acids levels
10) reduce serum uric acid levels, a common risk factor for coronary heart disease
11) increase uric acid excretion
12) reduce adipose tissue enzyme levels
13) reduce fluctuations in satiety (fullness)
We have gotten our kids on a program of eating 6 small, balanced meals each day. It has helped out tremendously! I have found that they are less whiny (seriously, if that alone isn't worth it, I don't know what is), have better concentration, fewer behavior issues and less cranky throughout the day. They've even shed some unwanted pounds. We aren't perfect at it, but the effort is being made and we are happy with the results we're seeing!
Hooray for the power of 6! Now go eat!
PS - This lovely lady's senior session will be on the photo blog tomorrow!