Snacking is a huge trend now! When I advise my clients to eat 2–3 normal size meals instead of 5–6 snacks (and often more, if we count all the green juices, collagen, bone broth, fat bombs and bulletproof coffees..), people almost get angry at me!
“But it’s low carb…
But it improves ketosis…
But they say, frequent eating is better for weight loss to reduce hunger…
But they say, many meals will speed up your metabolism helping you burn more fat…”
Choose your favorite, and most of it, I’m sorry folks, most of it is a bunch of horseshit, designed by media and brands to stimulate your appetite and buying decisions.
The best way to lose weight? — Eating less.
The best way to improve ketosis? — Eating less.
The best way to increase metabolism? — Move more.
Not eating more snacks!
If you are an adult, a fully grown-up adult — your body doesn’t need to grow as much as it needs to recycle, restore and preserve.
Building and growing are stimulated by more eating, by more carbs, by more protein, by more food — through different metabolic pathways (AMPK, mTOR). Once we stop the process of “growing up”, more building is not good news — it promotes the growth of cancer, diabetes, accelerated aging, accumulation of cellular waste and DNA damage, development of degenerative diseases.
Recycling, preserving, restoring, detoxification — that’s done in the absence of growth-stimulating activities like eating more calories, eating more carbs, eating more protein. Exercise also helps to stimulate the recycling of damaged components of our cells and tissues.
Once we are adults, we need to start thinking of restricting more and eating less to help our body to recycle — limiting energy, carbs, proteins, number of meals and timing of eating.
As Peter Attia MD likes to put it (one of the leading voices in science-based practical longevity), at any time we need to be pulling one of the levers to avoid trouble and prolong a healthy life — when you eat, what you eat, how much you eat.
The book I just finished “The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto” by James W. Clement helped me to put some final touches on the practice of “levers”.
At any given time we want to be pulling one of the levers, and the best ways to do it, as we’ve found so far: restricting when we eat aka intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, restricting what we eat — carbohydrates and/or proteins aka keto, vegan etc., restricting how much we eat aka calorie restriction and fasting (and all the variety of diets that help us eat less).
All with a purpose to help our body to recycle prolonging our healthy lifespan.
When I work with my clients, in some way or the other, I help them to create a seamless routine of habits, that helps to restrict stuff “naturally” on a regular basis.
My personal practice has been evolving over the years.
I’m 32 and I’m definitely not growing anymore — the focus is on recycling!
This year I’m experimenting with OMAD (one meal a day), layered on top of circadian fasting — eating only when the Sun is up, layered on top of carbohydrate restriction (keto on most days), layered on top of occasional periods of caloric restriction (one day a week no food), layered on top of my vegan days (protein restriction).
It looks something like this:
- Monday: OMAD, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, carb restriction.
- Tuesday: OMAD, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, carb restriction.
- Wednesday: OMAD, my vegan day, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, carb restriction.
- Thursday: OMAD, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, carb restriction.
- Friday: OMAD, vegan day, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, NO carb restriction from whole foods, carb load.
- Saturday: OMAD, intermittent fasting for 21–22 hours, carb restriction.
- Sunday: fasting, no calories.
Calories are not restricted on any day except for Sundays.
Protein is not restricted (usually a surplus, 120–130g) on non-vegan days.
On top of that, I make sure I eat a VARIETY of HIGH-QUALITY protein-rich foods — organ meats, eggs, shellfish and fatty fish, beef and pork, a variety of vegetables (mostly non-starchy, green and colorful, raw and cooked), nuts and seeds, berries. I eat whole foods only with the exception of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, herbs and spices, 100% chocolate. No fat bombs, no bulletproof coffees, minimum supplements. Mineral water.
It seems complicated but once you get used to it — it’s actually quite easy.
What’s also really important (The author of “the Switch” does a great job describing it) — getting out of recycling on a REGULAR basis! To make sure we are not deficient in anything, we are not under “nutrition stress” all the time, and we are re-building and restoring all of our systems, tissues, cells, hormones properly.
Calorie restriction all the time — not a great idea.
Ketosis all the time — not a great idea.
Protein restriction all the time — not a great idea.
Time restriction all the time — not sure about that one for an extreme thing like OMAD, might also be not the best idea. But eating meals earlier is ALWAYS a good idea aka circadian fasting.
How you personally pull one of the levers — when you eat, what you eat, how much you eat — it can look very different. It can change on different days of the week, different times of the year, different days of the month (females). But one thing is for sure, if you pull none, eating whatever whenever — you are in for troubles sooner or later.
Why do you think, we as a society are getting more obese burdened with more and more degenerative diseases, showing up in our lives and lives’ of our loved ones earlier and earlier?
And please don’t expect our food system to help you pull the levers any time soon. Our interests are conflicted. As a business any food company wants to sell more, wants us, the eaters, to buy and eat more. As human beings interested in a long and healthy life we “want” to eat less, not more.
One day we’ll understand, that we’re all in it together, that promoting healthier eating habits that keep all of us healthy and happy is good for the whole society not just well-being of an individual. And then we’ll re-design our food systems to serve all of us, no stuff all of us.
Take charge. Make better choices. Start pulling.
When you eat — What you eat — How much you eat.
Check out FOOD SCHOOL Smarter Stronger Leaner podcast — Adventures of one obsessed nutrition coach on a mission to create a world where food makes you better!