There’s a lot of misinformation out there about fasting and meal frequency. The mainstream media, weight loss experts and even doctors, give contradicting advice on how often we should eat. But most of this advice is not backed by science.
Note that this is not a pro-fasting or anti-fasting article. I will simply give you the myths to watch out for, it’s up to you to decide whether intermittent fasting will work for you or not.
READ: 5 cardio myths DEBUNKED
Here are 5 fasting myths you should ignore:
SKIPPING MEALS WILL SLOW DOWN YOUR METABOLISM
Contrary to popular belief, eating frequently does not boost metabolism. Neither does skipping meals slow metabolism.
The thermic effect of food (rise of metabolism after a meal) is determined by the amount of food you consume, not how often you eat. Your metabolism will be the same whether you consume 1000 calories in one meal or in 3 small meals.
Research shows that changing meal frequency has no effect on metabolism.
FASTING WILL HELP YOU LOSE MORE FAT
There’s no evidence showing that fasting is better for fat loss. You have to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight, whether you’re fasting or not.
In this study, researchers found that participants who ate one meal a day lost almost the same amount of fat as those who ate three meals a day.
FASTING PUTS YOUR BODY IN STARVATION MODE
Some experts argue that fasting puts the body in starvation mode. Basically, this is a state in which the body slows metabolism to prevent fat loss.Well, your body can’t switch into starvation mode if you skip one or two meals. In fact, research shows that fasting for 36 to 48 hours can boost metabolism. According to this study, metabolism starts to slow down after 60 hours of fasting.
FASTING IS BETTER THAN FREQUENT SNACKING
A few years ago, eating after 2-3 hours was the way to go. Now, some experts claim that eating one or two large meals a day will help you weight loss faster.
The effects of meal frequency vary from person to person. Some studies show that eating less than 3 meals a day has a negative effect on appetite, while other studies show that increasing meal frequency doesn’t help control appetite.
Realize that our bodies are all different, so try out different meal frequencies until you find one that works for you.
FASTING CAUSES MUSCLE LOSS
You will definitely lose muscle mass if you’re on a calorie deficit, but fasting doesn’t increase loss of muscle. Some studies actually show that fasting reduces muscle lost during weight loss. Note that strength training is the best way to prevent muscle loss when on a calorie deficit.
Most of the information about fasting is based on myths that won’t die. Ignore these myths and stick to what works for you.