Eating Between Meals & Meal Frequency

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Eating Between Meals & Meal Frequency

Postby Acura » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:37 pm

Jeff,
If I'm not mistaken McDougall program says to eat as much as you want , whenever you want till you are reasonably full. This means one may be grazing all day or eating frequently. Here is an article which suggests it is harmful to eat frequently. Your thoughts?

http://www.ucheepines.org/index.php?p=c ... ween_meals

Article suggests it takes 4-5 hrs for meal to completely digest and if snacked frequently, it prolongs the digestion.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:49 pm

Chimichanga wrote:If I'm not mistaken McDougall program says to eat as much as you want , whenever you want till you are reasonably full.


First, you are mistaken as this is a misunderstanding of the recommendations of the program.

Second, the link you posted is to an old article that quotes 2 studies from the 1930's.

Not quite up-to-date or relevant. :)

I have posted much newer data on this in the discussions on the topic in this forum.

There is really little to any well done credible science that supports the difference between 3-5 meals, or 1-2, or consuming regular small snacks all day, or eating most meals early, or some later day, or some mid day, etc etc etc and any real health outcome over time.

So, in the end, because there is really little evidence anywhere that any of these minor details will matter, what does matter is to do which ever one helps you with the best compliance & adherence over time. :)

However, for those interested in the discussion....

In this very recent study (1), more frequent meals was associated with better long term weight loss maintenance. And, this is from one of the longest ongoing databases of long-term successful weight loss and maintenance.

The study concluded, "Eating frequency, particularly in regard to a pattern of three meals and two snacks per day, may be important in weight loss maintenance."

In the second one below (2), reduced meal frequency had a negative effect on blood sugars and, most surprising, this was done in healthy, non-overweight subjects while keeping caloric intake the same between groups.

Of course, the reason for this may be simply that if the same amount of food is being consumed much less often, the meals are going to be of a much greater size and volume to accommodate the same amount of calories. This can impact gastric volume and emptying, which in-turn can influence blood glucose and insulin levels. Now, to be fair, in this study, they used one meal a day, so this potential impact would have been greatly accentuated and may not be reflective of a more rational reduced meal frequency.

So, the real benefit to reduced meal frequency may be just the overall reduction in calories and not just the reduction in the frequency of the meals.

I see this so often in patients.

They follow one diet for a while and lose some weight and then plateau and get frustrated. So, as a result, they start following a new diet that has a different set of rules, often related to meal frequency (or some other related or similar rules) and they suddenly start doing better and so think it is due to the change in meal frequency (or other rules). However, the real change that happened, which they often do not see, is that by following these new rules, they reduced their overall caloric intake.

I have seen this happen time and time again in both those who move to more frequent meals (ie, from 2-3 meals/day to 4-6 meals/day) and in those who move to less frequent meals (from 4-6 meals/day to 2-3 meals/day). Now, the real irony in all of this is that those who go to a more frequent meal pattern are thoroughly convinced that more frequent meals is the key issue and those going to a less frequent meal pattern are thoroughly convinced that less frequent meals is the key issue. :)

However, some people just can't maintain a meal plan with fewer meals and some just can't maintain a meal plan with more frequent meals. I am one of the latter, and so, I keep a more limited meal plan but would not insist on that for someone who felt more comfortable with more frequent meals as long as the overall dietary and nutritional pattern is the same.

To continue, there was a second paper published on these same subjects (which was a double cross over design, so a very well done study) and the found significant increases in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and in blood pressure, compared to when they ate more frequent meals. These findings were published in the April 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, remember, this was from one very large meal per day with the exact same calories as the more frequent meals.

This older study (3) found that "Although there was no difference in change of body weight by food restriction between the two groups, the decrease in lean body mass (LBM) was significantly greater in the 2M [meals per day] group than in the 6M [meals per day] group.

A very recent study showed (4) this exact same effect in mice

And from the recent position part of the International Society of Sports Nutrition position (5)

"Admittedly, research to date examining the physiological effects of meal frequency in humans is somewhat limited. More specifically, data that has specifically examined the impact of meal frequency on body composition, training adaptations, and performance in physically active individuals and athletes is scant. Until more research is available in the physically active and athletic populations, definitive conclusions cannot be made. However, within the confines of the current scientific literature, we assert that:

1. Increasing meal frequency does not appear to favorably change body composition in sedentary populations.

2. If protein levels are adequate, increasing meal frequency during periods of hypoenergetic dieting may preserve lean body mass in athletic populations.

3. Increased meal frequency appears to have a positive effect on various blood markers of health, particularly LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and insulin.

4. Increased meal frequency does not appear to significantly enhance diet induced thermogenesis, total energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate.

5. Increasing meal frequency appears to help decrease hunger and improve appetite control.

The following literature review has been prepared by the authors in support of the aforementioned position statement."


So, as I said above, in the end, find the pattern that helps you in maintaining long-term adherence and compliance and stick to it.

In Health
Jeff

(1) Eating Frequency Is Higher in Weight Loss Maintainers and Normal-Weight Individuals than in Overweight Individuals. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Volume 111, Issue 11 , Pages 1730-1734, November 2011.

2) Impact of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction on glucose regulation in healthy, normal-weight middle-aged men and women. Metabolism. 2007 Dec;56(12):1729-34.

3) Effects of meal frequency on body composition during weight control in boxers. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1996 Oct;6(5):265-72.

(4) Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Mar;18(3):456-62. Epub 2009 Oct 1.
Mild calorie restriction induces fat accumulation in female C57BL/6J mice.

(5) International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 Mar 16;8:4.
PMID: 21410984
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby Acura » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:04 pm

JeffN wrote:I see this so often in patients.

They follow one diet for a while and lose some weight and then plateau and get frustrated. So, as a result, they start following a new diet that has a different set of rules, often related to meal frequency (or some other related or similar rules) and they suddenly start doing better and so think it is due to the change in meal frequency (or other rules). However, the real change that happened, which they often do not see, is that by following these new rules, they reduced their overall caloric intake.



There is a lot of truth in above. You take up new things in life with vigor and it could be vigor/attention to details, meticulousness that may be responsible for the outcome than the new program itself. I buy this. Here is personal anecdote, whatever it is worth.

At 5'10" I had been eating low fat whole foods diet weighing 165 lbs went up to 173 lbs. For most people, at this height weighing 170 lbs is nothing but outstanding. Month and half ago I started practicing true hunger and 3 meals and I'm down 10 lbs. If you are 30-80 lbs overweight, losing 10 lbs is no big deal, at my weight, it is a big deal. I believe I still have not settled at my leanest weight, I'm still losing and will let you know how I do in few months and this is after adding an ounce of nuts and seeds !!

Yes the key is can I do this and maintain effortlessly an year , 5 yrs 10 yrs from now. Only time will tell. If I can then I'm going to be beliver in this regardless of how outdated it is.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:11 pm

Chimichanga wrote: There is a lot of truth in above. You take up new things in life with vigor and it could be vigor/attention to details, meticulousness that may be responsible for the outcome than the new program itself. I buy this. .


Correct and thanks.

Chimichanga wrote: Here is personal anecdote, whatever it is worth. At 5'10" I had been eating low fat whole foods diet weighing 165 lbs went up to 173 lbs. For most people, at this height weighing 170 lbs is nothing but outstanding. Month and half ago I started practicing true hunger and 3 meals and I'm down 10 lbs. If you are 30-80 lbs overweight, losing 10 lbs is no big deal, at my weight, it is a big deal. I believe I still have not settled at my leanest weight, I'm still losing and will let you know how I do in few months and this is after adding an ounce of nuts and seeds !!


Keep us posted.

But again, understand, it is physiologically impossible for you to start losing weight unless you created a calorie deficit and are maintaining it. So, in the end, whatever you did, (in this case, defining 3 meals and not overeating), it helped you cut calories. Period. :)

And, the most powerful intervention known to science today, with 75 years of history, is calorie restriction with optimal/adequate nutrition. So, whatever you did to cut calories, while eating a very nutritious diet, will be very beneficial regardless of any of these finer nuances such as how many meals and how often you ate. If you follow the CR science closely, you will see that some of these other minutia people are debating, are really secondary at best, if at all, to the main issue of CR-O/AN.

This is an important issue to understand.

There is also another important issue...

....you are now at 6 weeks. If you want to make it to 90 and above, you have a very long way to go. As such, we can learn a lot from those who have been down these paths for 10 or more years, with success, as I posted above.

Questions...

1) did you change what you eat, or just how much and how often

2) isn't a set definition of meals a contradiction to the concept of true hunger?

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby Acura » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:29 pm

JeffN wrote: Questions...
1) did you change what you eat, or just how much and how often

Yes I did change what I eat although not a whole lot. Yes I cut out on snacks which had been mainly fruits, vegetable soup with corns and potatoes. Instead of focusing more on grains and potatoes and corn... my focus is on green vegetables, beans, lentils. I have not completely eliminated grains such as brown rice, oats and whole wheat flour tortillas but reduced them ( I can not live without them!) I agree starches give you the sense of fullness but it seems I have found a happy media where you can practice this and not feel hungry all the time.

JeffN wrote:2) isn't a set definition of meals a contradiction to the concept of true hunger?


Correct, that was what I wrote without thinking too much. Sometimes I skip a meal or breakfast if I feel full. 3 or 2 meals is not must. If you want 3 meals then you have to keep adjusting your intake at every meal so you are really hungry by the next meal.

Yes of course, it had to be that I'm eating less calories otherwise it would be vudoo magic but more important question is how? why? Why couldn't I eat less calories even when I had been eating way way better than SAD? why was I 10 lbs(so far, I don't know where I will settle) heavier eating the gold standard diet? I agree there is a "newly Wed" factor to some extent as you explained above.

If after a year or 2 if I go back to 165 or 170 lbs. I will mention that as well.

P.s. I'm not truly following the true hunger. I followed it for first few weeks. Now I always have in back of mind that I need not feel stuffed up, so I'm not truly waiting till I feel truly hungry but I'm aware that it is really easy to over eat!! yes including low fat plant based food.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:45 pm

Chimichanga wrote:Yes I did change what I eat although not a whole lot. Yes I cut out on snacks..


Regardless of what they were, that would easily lower your caloric intake.

Chimichanga wrote:Instead of focusing more on grains and potatoes and corn... my focus is on green vegetables, beans, lentils.


This would automatically lower the calorie density of your intake which would allow you to consume more volume/weight or the same volume/weight for less calories.

Simple enough.

Chimichanga wrote:Yes of course, it had to be that I'm eating less calories otherwise it would be vudoo magic but more important question is how? why? Why couldn't I eat less calories even when I had been eating way way better than SAD?


You set new rules for yourself and you are following them for 6 weeks. Congratulations. Time will tell how well you do with your new rules.

However, as I said above..

"Some people just can't maintain a meal plan with fewer meals and some just can't maintain a meal plan with more frequent meals. I am one of the latter, and so, I keep a more limited meal plan but would not insist on that for someone who felt more comfortable with more frequent meals as long as the overall dietary and nutritional pattern is the same."

What difference does it matter which way they do it if in the end, it works and, as the CR science has proven, what matters most is not which way that they do it, but that they do it. :)

You will eventually find your place and what works best for you.

That is my wish for you.

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:12 pm

Chimichanga wrote: eating the gold standard diet?


Everyone "thinks" they are eating the gold standard but in reality, there is no one such thing. More importantly, most of the patients who come to me (and I get them from all the doctors in "our" world) upon closer analysis, are not following the guidelines of even the doctor they say they are following and/or adjusting the program (as recommended) to fit their specific needs and situation.

It's sad but it happens very often not only here, but in so many other places as well. We have all seen the posts here. Someone shows up after disappearing for a while and saying how the program failed them and so they went back to another diet or on medication. However, they never talk the time to really investigate what they were doing and if it was really what they should have been doing. But, the conclusion is, the program failed them.

It just happened last week. A patient came to me who had some concerns and questions and said they were on Dr Essy's program and even told me they were his patient and following his program 100%. After speaking with them for a while, it was quite evident that they were doing about 60-75% of it at best. (Sometimes I have seen people who have told me this and if they were at 25%, they were lucky). And, the other things they were doing, which they must have read somewhere else, would not have been recommended by any of the doctors in "our" world and which Dr Essy specifically discusses both in his training session and in his material. But, if you asked them, they were doing the Plant Perfect Essy Diet 100%. :)

Then they go seek help elsewhere and because of the honeymoon phase of the new program, (as I discussed above) they do it 100% for awhile and then say the other program didn't work. :)

Chimichanga wrote: P.S. I'm not truly following the true hunger. I followed it for first few weeks. Now I always have in back of mind that I need not feel stuffed up, so I'm not truly waiting till I feel truly hungry but I'm aware that it is really easy to over eat!! yes including low fat plant based food.


Feeling "stuffed up" is not part of the "Gold Standard" you mention above. So, you can't be doing both, following the Gold Standard and feeling stuffed up. Yes, people can overeat, even on healthy food.

:)

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:10 am

You may find my last comments here interesting

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6780&p=47993&hilit=Jeff+alcohol#p47993

:)

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby Acura » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:46 am

JeffN wrote:
Chimichanga wrote: eating the gold standard diet?


Everyone "thinks" they are eating the gold standard but in reality, there is no one such thing. Jeff


I agree. There are all kinds of people doing all kinds of different things and thinking they are doing everything right. Improper application of method doesn't mean the method is wrong or it is inept.

I'm pretty confident as to what I had been doing. I would call it 5% cheat and the reason I put 5% in cheat category is because I know I'm not perfect, that 5% is still there, it hasn't changed. I know it because 99% of the time I ate home made freshly cooked food so we know what exactly goes in there. I even avoided whole wheat breads, any dressings including low fat etc etc.

We have to accept this, many times in life it so happens that the concept, idea is very tiny, looks quite simple afterwords but can have the huge impact. I have learnt this lesson myself.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:52 am

Chimichanga wrote: I'm pretty confident as to what I had been doing.


And, based on your own comments above, it is very clear that you have now changed what you are doing to nclude eating less often, eliminated snacks, eliminated certain foods, lowered the calorie density and as result of all this, are eating less calories and that in those who have weight to lose, that losing weight, in and of itself, has health benefits.

There is no other physiological way to lose weight.

Chimichanga wrote: We have to accept this, many times in life it so happens that the concept, idea is very tiny, looks quite simple afterwords but can have the huge impact. I have learnt this lesson myself.


I am not sure what you are referring to here.

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby Acura » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:04 am

JeffN wrote:
I am not sure what you are referring to here.

In Health
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What I'm saying is, concept of true hunger, nutrient density, anabolic/catabolic state of digestion is unique. You can't just do the CR I'm able to do now, otherwise I would have done it earlier. Yes you cut down on calories but how and why is still a big question to me? Again I have not lived with this for long, there is still that possibility that I will go back to where I began and if that happens then I know there is nothing unique but that "newness" charm.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:51 am

Chimichanga wrote:What I'm saying is, concept of true hunger, nutrient density, anabolic/catabolic state of digestion is unique.


Not true.

The concept of true hunger goes back to the 1800's and Dr. Herbert Shelton and the original Natural Hygiene movement and its predecessors (Dr Edward Hooker Dewey, Dr Hereward Carrington, and Dr Oswald and Dr Tilden, etc).

http://chestofbooks.com/health/natural- ... ungry.html

http://chestofbooks.com/health/natural- ... art-3.html

I first learned of it in 1973.

Same with the stages of digestion, which was also made famous by the Diamonds in the 80's, to which they gave credit to Dr Shelton and also scientist Are Waerland who preceded Shelton.

The anabolic and catabolic stages are also part of basic physiology.

And, as CR has shown for the last 75 years, as long as the subject is following CR and maintaining a similar overall dietary and nutritional pattern, while maintaining a calorie restricted intake, the amount of meals, the timing of meals, etc is irrelevant. They have done studies on meal timing & meal frequency showing they are not the main issue, CR is, regardless of the pattern. And, as I posted earlier, if not done correctly, there can be some adverse effects of reduced meal frequency.

Remember, we had the leading CR researcher who came to the Advanced Study Weekend and presented his data 2 years ago. He disagrees with you. :)

Also, nutrient density and nutrient density scoring systems, go back to the 70's if not earlier.

- USDA/CNPP. The Healthy Eating Index. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. USDA. Internet:www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/HEI/HEI.html (accessed 5 June 2005).

- Lackey CJ, Kolasa KM. Healthy eating: defining the nutrient quality of foods. Nutr Today 2004;39:26–9.

- Haines PS, Siega-Riz AM, Popkin BM. The Diet Quality Index revised a measurement instrument for populations. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99:697–704.

- Kant AK. Indexes of overall diet quality: a review. J Am Diet Assoc 1996;96:785–91.

- . Kennedy ET, Ohls J, Carlson S, Fleming K. The Healthy Eating Index: design and applications. J Am Diet Assoc 1995;95:1103–8.

- Wyse BW, Hansen RG. Nutrient analysis of exchange lists for meal planning. II. Nutrient density food profiles. J Am Diet Assoc 1979;75:242–9.[Medline]

- Hansen RG, Wyse BW, Sorenson AW. Nutrition quality index of food. Westport, CT: AVI Publishing Co, 1979.

- Guthrie H. Concept of a nutritious food. J Am Diet Assoc 1977;71:14–19.[Medline]

- Sorenson AW, Wyse BW, Wittwater AJ, Hansen RG. An index of nutritional quality for a balanced diet. New help for an old problem. J Am Diet Assoc 1976;68:236–42.[Medline]

-Wyse BW, Sorenson AW, Wittwater AJ, Hansen RG. Nutritional quality index identifies consumer nutrient needs. Food Technol 1976;30:22–40.

- Lachance PA. Critique of an index of food quality (IFQ). J Nutr Educ 1975;7:136(letter).

- Sorenson AW, Hansen RG. An index of food quality. J Nutr Educ 1975;7:53–7.

- Hansen RG. An index of food quality. Nutr Rev 1973;31:1–7.[Medline]

Chimichanga wrote:You can't just do the CR I'm able to do now, otherwise I would have done it earlier.


You mean "you." :)

Not only do I do it, but I have worked with literally over 20K patients and many of them have done it quite simply without having to follow any fancy theories.

Yesterday, I got an email from one who I first met 1.5 years ago and just hit the 175 lb mark without following any of the above things you mention.

There are over 5,000 members of the CR society, who do it and most of all them shun such theories, yet they do it. Many of them are followed like lab rats by the researchers.

There are over 20 published studies on the 7000 members of the NWCR, who are the most studied subjects who have been successful at both l/t weight loss and maintenance and most all of them have done it without any such theories. Many of them have maintained over 100 lb weight loss and done so for over 10 years.

Chimichanga wrote:Again I have not lived with this for long, there is still that possibility that I will go back to where I began and if that happens then I know there is nothing unique but that "newness" charm.


Woa! There is something unique. And that is the fact that you cut out snacking, eat less often, eliminated certain foods, are eating a lower calorie dense diet and consuming fewer calories. :)

In the 1980's Fit For Life was one of the most successful diet books and one of the most successful of all time. The authors taught and promoted a theory called Food Combining and many people followed it religiously and did very well. The authors eventually admitted publicly that there was no science behind the theory and all it really did was give people a system to get them to eat better, to eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, to eat less and cut out junk food. Even Dr Shelton, one of the older promoters of the theory, to whom Fit for Life gave credit, admitted in the book Food Combining, that he know of absolutely no physiological reason for his rules. They were just a system to get people on the typical diet to eat better. To this day, in spite of the public admission, people still swear by these theories and follow them, believing they are main reason for their improved health.

Que Sera, Sera! :)

However, when you really understand the "why" in regard to why so many people were drawn to a theory like food combining (and insist on sticking to in spite of now knowing its a fraud), then you will have come to understand so much of what goes on in the world of nutrition and diet.

As I said earlier....

"Some people just can't maintain a meal plan with fewer meals and some just can't maintain a meal plan with more frequent meals. I am one of the latter, and so, I keep a more limited meal plan but would not insist on that for someone who felt more comfortable with more frequent meals as long as the overall dietary and nutritional pattern is the same."

True Story...

"A few years back I had a friend who was struggling with an addiction to both alcohol and some hard drugs. He finally went through a treatment center and then got involved in 12 step programs. But, he would constantly go back and forth between AA and NA struggling to find an identity and/or "home" in one or the other. This went on for a year and caused him much distress. Of course, each group try to convince him why he belonged in one and not the other. After about a year, he came to his wits end about this and came to me to tell me how upset he was that even after a year, he still wasn't sure where he belonged, and if he really should be in AA or NA. I listened carefully, gave him a hug, and then chuckled and said, "Well the best news of all is that you have not used either any drugs or alcohol in a full year! :) And that is the first time you have accomplished that in over 20 years.

So, it takes what it takes and if the above concepts are what get you do it, more power to you.

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby Acura » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:46 am

JeffN wrote:

Yesterday, I got an email from one who I first met 1.5 years ago and just hit the 175 lb mark without following any of the above things you mention.



As I said previously, I hit 165/170 lbs mark prior to "fancy theories". Following you can eat all you want as long you choose wide assortment of plant foods. To get to 160 and below is when I needed the help from fancy theories!! :cool:

I had been 215 lbs and without fancy theories I came down to 165/170 lbs. So I didn't need fancy theories to come down to 165/170 lbs. 165/170 can be done with or without fancy theories. It is when you want to kick beyond that is when I needed it.
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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:53 am

Chimichanga wrote:As I said previously, I hit 165/170 lbs mark


He didn't just get to 175, he lost 175 lbs and still going strong.

Chimichanga wrote:Following you can eat all you want as long you choose wide assortment of plant foods.


Sadly, while that is often believed, that is not what is promoted here and there are several threads clarifying this important point and whether or not the food is really, "all you can eat." Yes, many make that mistake, as you have, but that is not the message from me nor is it part of any Gold Standard program.

So, as I said again, many people fail because they do not understand the programs and/or seek the help they need from the program but then go elsewhere, follow "new" rules that help for a while and blame the former program for failing them, even thinking they had followed a "Gold Standard", which, as we can see by what you have shared, you could not have been following the "Gold Standard" as you did not understand the principles accurately.

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Re: Eating Between Meals

Postby JeffN » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:28 pm

I saw this post in the other forum and was wondering if you would give us an update on your experience with eating between meals and with the concept of true hunger.

Chimichanga wrote: Isn't he also very big on no snacks between the meals? Go in a catabolic before eating a meal? that means you have to be little bit hungry to eat? I followed this faithfully for about 2 months, after that It became difficult to not eat anything between the meals, watch for true hunger.


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