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Best Eating Pattern

Discussion in 'Diet' started by Collden, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Collden

    Collden Member

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    Oct 6, 2012
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    People what have you found in your experience to be the best circadian eating pattern?
    1. Breakfast, lunch, dinner - about equal in size
    2. Frequent small meals throughout the day
    3. Small breakfast, big lunch, moderate dinner
    4. No breakfast, moderate lunch, big dinner
    5. Only dinner
    6. Only breakfast and lunch
    7. Big breakfast, big lunch, small dinner
    etc, etc.

    I can say I’ve been convinced of the importance of taking most food as early in the day as possible, and thus tried having big breakfast, big lunch and moderate dinner - but eating this way with time it seems my digestive system is slowly getting backed up and bloated and my hunger hormones dysregulated to the point I get hungry but dont feel like eating.

    I’ve tried being more extreme and only eating breakfast and lunch, but appetite is never great at either of these time points and I end up feeling quite hungry in the evening and shaky energy in the morning.

    I’ve also tried skipping breakfast and getting big lunch/dinner, this aligns most with my natural appetite rhythm, but on the other hand I get uncontrollably hungry in the evening and dont like going to bed completely bloated - not to mention the post-meal coma this pattern produces.

    It seems by far the most common eating pattern if you look at european nations with mostly healthy populations, is to have a light breakfast (not skipping), followed by either a moderate lunch and a big dinner, or a big lunch and moderate dinner. I have personally not given this a serious try as I thought having a light carby breakfast would just make me more hungry than either a big breakfast or no breakfast, but perhaps it is otherwise.

    Scientific literature indicates it is best to eat as much as possible as early in the day as possible, but this seems to go against our natural instinctual appetite rhythms, I know hardly anyone who eats very heavy in the morning and light in the evening, most are the total opposite.
     
  2. Arnold Grape

    Arnold Grape Member

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    This is totally relative and will vary from person to person -- some people here even do intermittent fasting. Personally I try for at least three larger meals, with 2-3 snacks between. Mostly I go by how hungry I happen to be.
     
  3. OP
    Collden

    Collden Member

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    Sure, just curious to hear peoples personal experiences experimenting with different eating patterns. Of course the ideal would be to intuitively follow your natural hunger cues, but this can be difficult to do when you are constrained by the stresses of modern life.

    For me the essential thing actually seems to be to find a way of eating that allows me to connect to natural hunger cues, as I mostly eat by routine rather than because I'm truly hungry and craving food. If I eat big throughout the day I have mostly stable mood and energy but my digestion and appetite suffers, but if I try to cut back my mood and energy suffers. I have not found a way to balance it yet.
     
  4. Prosper

    Prosper Member

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    The only consatnt is that I eat whenever I feel like it. The rest vary from day to day. Some days I eat constantly and a lot, other days I eat less and infrequently. It all depends on the whims of the metabolism, which in turn depend on what i've been eating, what I've been doing, how I've been feeling etc. Overall, I tend to eat more calories in the evening than in the morning.
     
  5. ilikecats

    ilikecats Member

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    All day erryday
     
  6. cyclops

    cyclops Member

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    Try to eat when you're hungry until you're satisfied.
     
  7. squanch

    squanch Member

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    Breakfast, lunch, dinner about equal in size, with 2 smaller fruit snacks in between.

    I think I would probably do best on 5-6 equally sized meals spread throughout the day, kind of like your typical bodybuilder diet but with lots of potatoes, cheese and fruit.
    It's just not doable working full time for me though, I can't just take out my bowl of food and start eating every 3 hours. So I think that's definitely something to take into consideration for most people too.
     
  8. Evandrojr

    Evandrojr Member

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    I know most people in this forum will frown upon this, but I personally skip breakfast, do just small snacks around lunch time and a massive dinner. I feel by far the best this way and truly believe that's how we evolved to eat. Of course this is not something that you can jump right into. I was a mess when I started Peating about 3 years ago and could never have done this. But as my health improved (specially my liver health) and I was gradually able to store more glycogen, I was able to push the first meal later and later in the day to the point where I didn't feel hungry AND didn't feel the effects of cortisol or adrenaline. If I do feel those effects coming I'll just have a fruit. The I have a 3k-4K dinner and I absolutely love to feast like that. My digestion also took some time to pick up, but now I can eat the 4K meal and go to sleep 2 hours later no problem.
     
  9. cyclops

    cyclops Member

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    I actually enjoy this way of eating best too. The "warrior diet" thing makes sense to me in some ways. I like to stay light and hungry-ish during the day, with lots of energy. Eating always makes me tired after. Plus you dont have to think much about food and can get stuff done. Then at night, when you are in a relaxed mood, you eat.
     
  10. Kunder

    Kunder Member

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    Personally, if i was to go by hunger alone, i would not get anywhere close to the caloric minimum for my height and weight. So i do have to force myself to eat more often than not. The worst are the workout days (2 in a week) when i know i have to shove food in me to at least pretend im gaining muscle.

    The only time im realy hungry is on some evenings, when the most satiating thing is high fat cheese with some leaves or a cucumber. Even though my diet is very much carb+protein oriented. But for hunger, nothing beats fat.
     
  11. OP
    Collden

    Collden Member

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    Curious, I just finished reading The Warrior Diet today. It actually greatly emphasizes the importance of optimizing thyroid function, and the author himself at 65 yrs old has all the external signs of great thyroid health, so it has alleviated my concerns that this style of eating is inherently bad for thyroid health.

    Actually he argues that a feeding pattern based on cyclical underfeeding and overfeeding can stimulate thyroid function, that underfeeding followed by a big meal has much greater stimulating effect in general than small frequent meals. I can believe this since eating a big meal is so much more enjoyable and satisfying when you have fasted for some time and are truly hungry and have sensitized your taste buds - it likely causes greater dopamine release in this context, which as we know has a stimulating effect on the whole endocrine axis. I'm thinking that eating in such a way that food always remains a pleasure might be of key importance to health in general, not only in your choice of foods but also in how you eat.
     
  12. Astra10

    Astra10 Member

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    Not a comment recommending anything, but the discussion makes me think of this series of photographs and reminds me I'd like to buy this book.

    Look at all the soda and juice in many of the photos. :)

    What The World Eats (Shocking Photos)
     
  13. wesheilman

    wesheilman Member

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    It likely varies from person to person, as someone said. I do best with consistent meals at regular intervals throughout the day.

    I eat five times per day, at intervals of about three hours, and I keep consistent macronutrient ratios for all my meals. The first meal is generally within thirty minutes of waking, and the last thirty minutes before bed.

    Macronutrient ratios run about 50/25/25% calories from carb/protein/fat (though higher fat ratio the more protein comes from dairy), and I go for about 600 cal/meal. I try to eat nutritious foods with each meal, (regular liver, oysters, eggs, milk, OJ, etc.), and emphasize sugar over starch.

    This has not solved all of my problems, but it has solved many; better energy, more consistent, better recovery from stress, etc. I do not generally get hungry, unless something keeps me from the meals; but I do feel a drop in energy around the 3-4 hour mark if I don't eat.

    I spent time monitoring my temp/pulse every 15 minutes after eating nutritious meals, to see how long the metabolism stayed up. It generally began to decline at about 2.5 hours, and at 3 hours hit low enough that I wanted to eat again. This was a couple years ago; haven't re-checked, but have stayed with that pattern.
     
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