Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guideline 1: Eat Six Meals a Day

We’re so used to hearing people talk about eating less food that
it’s become weight-loss doctrine. But as you remember from the
physiology of metabolism, you have to eat more often to change
your body composition. The new philosophy I want you to keep
in mind is “energy balance.”
Researchers at Georgia State University developed a technique
to measure hourly energy balance—that is, how many
94 T H E A B S D I E T
calories you’re burning versus how many calories you’re taking
in. The researchers found that if you keep your hourly surplus
or deficit within 300 to 500 calories at all times, you will best be
able to change your body composition by losing fat and adding
lean muscle mass. Those subjects with the largest energy imbalances
(those who were over 500 calories in either ingestion
or expenditure) were the fattest, while those with the most balanced
energy levels were the leanest. So if you eat only your
three squares a day, you’re creating terrific imbalances in your
energy levels. Between meals, you’re burning many more calories
than you’re taking in. At mealtimes, you’re taking in many
more than you’re burning. Research shows that this kind of
eating plan is great—if your dream is to be the next John
T H E A B S D I E T N U T R I T I O N P L A N 95
Almost as important as what you eat is when you eat. Researchers at the University
of Massachusetts analyzed the eating habits of 500 men and women
and found connections between the way people eat and the risk of becoming
Eating at least one midday snack –39 percent
Eating dinner as your biggest meal of the day +6 percent
Waiting more than 3 hours afterwaking up
to eat breakfast
+43 percent
Eating more than a third of yourmeals
in restaurants
+69 percent
Going to bed hungry
(3 or more hours after your last meal or snack)
+101 percent
Eating breakfast away from home +137 percent
Not eating breakfast +450 percent
Candy. But if you want to look slimmer, feel fitter, and—not coincidentally—
live longer, then you need to eat more often. In the
same study, subjects who added three snacks a day to three regular
meals balanced out their energy better, lost fat, and increased
lean body mass (as well as increased their power and
In a similar study, researchers in Japan found that boxers who
ate the same amount of calories a day from either two or six meals
both lost an average of 11 pounds in 2 weeks. But the guys who
ate six meals a day lost 3 pounds more fat and 3 pounds less
muscle than the ones who ate only two meals.
There’s science to support the fact that more meals work, but
the plain-speak reason it works is because it does something that
many diets don’t do: It keeps you full and satiated, which will reduce
the likelihood of a diet-destroying binge.
How it works: For scheduling purposes, alternate your larger
meals with smaller snacks. Eat two of your snacks roughly 2
hours before lunch and dinner, and one snack roughly 2 hours
after dinner.
Sample time schedule:
8 A.M.: breakfast
11 A.M.: snack
1 P.M.: lunch
4 P.M.: snack
6 P.M.: dinner
8 P.M.: snack
For a complete 7-day meal plan, check out page 104. It’s not
something you need to stick to religiously, just a suggestion for
how you can make the Abs Diet work for you. It also shows
how to incorporate the recipes you’ll find in chapter 9 into your
everyday life.

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