When it comes to our diets, we are often told to eat 5-6 times per day for best results. But is that actually true? Are we eating too much, and is less better? The answer might surprise you.
Using Body Fat for Fuel?
We all know how the food we eat can be used as energy. We are told to eat healthy foods to give our body the nutrients (and energy) it needs to perform daily tasks and for exercise. However, what’s not often discussed is how the body can use stored fat for energy as well.
If we don’t eat, the body is forced to find alternate energy sources, which comes from stored fat. Using stored fat for energy has several great benefits:
Using stored fat for energy means you’re burning fat, which can also be used to fuel your workouts. The result is more calories burned, and more excess pounds shed.
Improved mental focus
Some foods can cause brain fog after consuming them. Not eating can help you remain focused on important tasks and responsibilities.
If on a ketogenic diet your body will produce ketones which is a fuel source for the brain, and is known to increase mental focus and concentration
After the body adjusts to eating less often, hunger pangs are decreased because the body simply shifts from using carbs to using stored fat for energy.
Stabilized blood sugar levels
Eating can cause the blood sugar to spike, only to come crashing down a short time later. Eating less can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which is key in treating health issues like Type 2 diabetes.
Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
Eating less often can help improve cholesterol levels. The body actually uses the “bad” fat cells (which is the LDL cholesterol) for energy. As a result, cholesterol levels can decrease, which is crucial for heart health and cardiovascular health overall.
How to Eat Less
These and many other benefits can be achieved by not eating for 14 hours. While this may sound daunting, it’s not as difficult as one may think.
One of the easiest ways to reap these benefits is by simply skipping breakfast. Eat a healthy dinner and the next day, simply skip breakfast and make lunch your first meal of the day. The key is to eat until full and satisfied. This is important because it lets the body know you’re not in starvation mode, and it’s free to burn fat and not hold onto it going forward.
Note: While skipping breakfast, make sure to drink plenty water to keep the body hydrated. This will also limit hunger pangs. Coffee and tea are also great options to drink in the morning as well. Another option is to exercise in the morning before eating. This forces the body to use even more fat for energy.
Resist the urge to snack in between meals. Microwave popcorn, cookies, candy and other snacks are high in fat, sodium, and other artificial ingredients that have zero nutritional value. Eating these empty calories on a consistent basis may play a role in many of today’s health issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.
Don’t drink your calories
Soda, energy drinks, shakes and fruit juices all have hidden calories that can pack on the pounds. In addition to having little nutritional value, they can be bad for your teeth and spike your blood sugar. Studies indicate consuming drinks with sugar could play a key role in obesity.
Try the 16:8 diet
A 16:8 diet means to only consume water, coffee and/or tea for 16 consecutive hours, and eat your solid foods and meals during the remaining 8 hours. (Sleeping at night is included in the 16 hour window and drinks can be consumed at any time). There are two benefits to this eating plan:
- Total calories consumed tend to be less than if eating all day.
- This isn’t a typical diet, because calories aren’t restricted. The goal is to eat healthy foods until full, which helps decrease binge eating.
Eating less and less often isn’t as difficult as one may think. Just a few slight changes in your daily routine can reap quite a few amazing health benefits. Try eating less starting today. Your body just might thank you.