Clean Eating & the Frequent Feeding Model

What is clean eating?

Who the hell knows?! It totally depends on who you are asking. Everyone has their own opinion on what clean really means. I personally believe “eating clean” means eating a diet rich in whole foods.

What are whole foods?

Well, now that should be fairly obvious. According to wikipedia:

“Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added salt, carbohydrates, or fat…………Mature produce of field, orchard, or garden without subtraction, addition, or alteration grown from seed without chemical dressing, in fertile soil manured solely with animal and vegetable wastes, and composts therefrom, and ground, raw rock and without chemical manures, sprays, or insecticides.”

So basically, food in it’s most natural state.

What is the FFM?

The frequent feeding model (FFM) advises that everyone should be eating 5-6 (or even more) small meals a day. FFM has become “common knowledge” and is touted as the exclusive ride to weight loss. It is often credited with boosting metabolism, preserving muscle, and optimal satiety.

LIES. Its all lies. Now, I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. So here’s some science for you.

Each time you eat, metabolic rate increases slightly for a few hours. Paradoxically, it takes energy to break down and absorb energy. This is the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). The amount of energy expended is directly proportional to the amount of calories and nutrients consumed in the meal. Let’s assume that we are measuring TEF during 24 hours in a diet of 2700 kcal with 40% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 20% fat. We run three different trials where the only thing we change is the the meal frequency.

A) Three meals: 900 kcal per meal.

B) Six meals: 450 kcal per meal.

C) Nine meals: 300 kcal per meal.

What we’d find is a different pattern in regards to TEF. Example “A” would yield a larger and long lasting boost in metabolic rate that would gradually taper off until the next meal came around; TEF would show a “peak and valley”-pattern.

“C” would yield a very weak but consistent boost in metabolic rate; an even pattern.

“B” would be somewhere in between. However, at the end of the 24-hour period, or as long as it would take to assimilate the nutrients, there would be no difference in TEF. The total amount of energy expended by TEF would be identical in each scenario.

Meal frequency does not affect total TEF. You cannot “trick” the body in to burning more or less calories by manipulating meal frequency.

Studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly-labelled water to assess total 24 h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging

Breakfast (ie the meal you eat in the morning, soon after waking) is NOT the most important meal of the day.

If you have been on the clean eating wagon, you have been told time and time again that you should eat a meal within an hour of waking and this will cause your metabolism to soar for the remainder of the day. This is simply untrue and ties back into the previous paragraph. And:

Sometimes, an argument is made for eating breakfast as we are more insulin sensitive in the morning. This is true; you are always more insulin sensitive after an overnight fast. Or rather, you are always the most insulin sensitive during the first meal of the day. Insulin sensitivity is increased after glycogen depletion. If you haven’t eaten in 8-10 hours, liver glycogen is modestly depleted. This is what increases insulin sensitivity – not some magical time period during the morning hours.

So what the heck is intermittent fasting (IF) anyway?

Again, according to wikipedia:

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.

Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.

LET ME BE VERY CLEAR I am not suggesting you starve yourself. Ever. There is a HUGE difference between fasting and starving. Mainly, fasting is controlled.

Humans have actually been fasting for thousands of years. Sometimes it was done out of necessity, when there simply wasn’t any food available. In other instances, it was done for religious reasons. Various religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, mandate some form of fasting. Humans and other animals also often instinctively fast when sick. Clearly, there is nothing “unnatural” about fasting, and our bodies are very well equipped to handle extended periods of not eating.

Why fast?

Lots of reasons.
  1. Because it works.
  2. Because it simplifies your day. Eating every 2-3 hours takes work. Prep, pack, eat, and timing your meals every 2-3 hours is a huge time suck.
  3. Less time & potentially less money. Less dishes to wash. Less tuperware to stock up on. Less meal prep.
  4. Promotes stronger insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone secretion. Two very key factors for both weight loss and muscle gain.
  5. Fasting has been shown to increase longevity (see HGH below)
  6. Mental clarity
  7. Reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and inflammation (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
  8. Normalize your insulin and leptin sensitivity (Leptin, the “satiety hormone,”a is a hormone made by adipose (fat) cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Both hormones act on receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus to regulate appetite to achieve energy homeostasis. In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores.)
  9. Normalizes ghrelin levels (the “hunger hormone” is a peptide hormone produced by ghrelinergic cells in the gastrointestinal tract which functions as a neuropeptide in the central nervous system. Besides regulating appetite, ghrelin also plays a significant role in regulating the distribution and rate of use of energy. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin is secreted. When the stomach is stretched, secretion stops. It acts on hypothalamic brain cells both to increase hunger, and to increase gastric acid secretion and gastrointestinal motility to prepare the body for food intake)
  10. Boost mitochondrial energy efficiency
  11. Reduces the risk of many cancers
  12. Lowers triglyceride levels
  13. Reduces oxidative stress (Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease)
  14. Promotes human growth hormone production (HGH is a fat burning hormone, and also plays a roll in slowing the aging process)

So how exactly does IF work?

For that I am siting an article from James Clear. He says it quite perfectly so there is no need to try to out do him.

To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.

Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.

After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.

When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.

Because we don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.

OK! Thats all for today. Now you should have decent understanding of what IF is and why so many people are dropping FFM for IF. In the next post we will cover:

  • Protocols – how to fast for both men and women
  • Why men and women should not use the same protocol
  • Who shouldn’t be fasting
  • Why eating carbs at night is NOT bad
  • Why eliminating carbs IS bad

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