Why only eat one meal a day?

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Our bodies were designed to consume food when it is available. Thousands of years ago, before agriculture, we ate once a day, if we were lucky. This was how we survived. It was only during the British colonization that 3 meals a day became an indicator of cultural superiority. Yes, our conventional idea that we should have breakfast, lunch and dinner is not based on science. It is simply a cultural convention. Based on the idea that savages eat once a day. 

But those “savages” survived, even thrived, on one meal a day. They didn’t have heart disease, obesity, diabetes or a lack of energy. Quite the opposite.

Our modern lives give us the option to eat whenever we want, but research has found that limiting ourselves to one meal a day has many, many benefits. 

Here are the top 23 benefits of eating one meal a day:

1. It’s How Our Bodies Were Designed

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100 000 years ago, in the paleolithic era, there were no supermarkets. We had to hunt and scavenge for food and eat what was available or die. Because food wasn’t readily available this meant eating, at most, one meal a day. Often going days without food. Meat was a luxury, not a necessity and when a deer was killed it was consumed within a day or two. 

Our bodies are designed to have one large meal, rather than a few smaller meals spread throughout the day. Then going for some time with very little to no food. If we weren’t designed to survive like this you wouldn’t be here to read this today. When we fuel our bodies the way they were designed to be fueled they run better.

2. Increased Robusticity

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Yes, the survival rate was much lower 100 000 years ago, but of the people that did make it to old age, most of them were extraordinarily healthy. 

These days we don’t have to fight wolves, outrun lions or figure out how to stay warm in a sudden cold spell. Not to mention our medical advancements, now an infected wound isn’t the end of the world. 

But back then the harsh living environment led to many premature deaths. I’m sure more than half of us wouldn’t survive a month in those conditions. But those that survived the harsh living conditions of the paleolithic era were much, much healthier than people of the same age in our era. This has been attributed to their eating habits more than anything else.

3. Less Insulin in Your System

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On a conventional 3 meals a day you’re constantly upping the insulin levels in your blood. This happens when you have excess glucose in your blood, which needs to be stored as fat, instead of mucking up your other cells. The problem is, that when the time comes and you needs to use that extra energy stored in your fat cells, the insulin in your blood stops hormone sensitive lipase from activating your body’s natural fat burning. As a result, you feel hungry and eat again.

On a keto diet you may be producing less insulin than on a regular diet, but every meal does still increase your insulin. By only increasing your insulin once a day, you’re giving your body time to clear the insulin from your blood stream and use stored fat as an energy source.

4. Accelerated Fat Loss

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When your body has some insulin free time you’ll be able to use stored fat as an energy source. On Keto you’re already primed to burn fat for fuel. That means that you’ll be burning even more stored body fat during your fasting period than you would if you followed a three meals a day keto plan. 

This may sound counter intuitive, because if you eat one large meal you’ll be storing a lot of the calories as fat right? Well not necessarily. If you follow a keto diet you’ll be staggering the energy release of your meal with the high fat content. Fat slows down the rate at which your food is digested. As a result the one meal will take quite some time to digest. But after about 8 hours you will start dipping into your natural fat stores, and then you’ll be running on your body fat for the next twelve hours or more, until your next meal.

5. Less Stored Toxins

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A lot of toxins in our body is stored in fat cells. The more you delve into your natural fat stores, the more you’ll be getting rid of stored toxins. When you reach your goal weight you’ll be recycling the fats in your natural and healthy fat stores every time you hit the fasting period. In other words there will be fewer stored toxins gunking up your system.

6. Accelerated Weight Loss

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As you lose fat you will be losing weight as well. The two go hand in hand and are the perks of having less insulin in your system. This means you’ll be able to reach your weight loss goals faster and more effectively than on a normal keto diet.

7. Muscle Preservation

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A lot of people are all too happy to be losing weight, but then they realize that their body fat percentage isn’t dropping as much as they’d like. That’s because on conventional calorie deficits your body often starts recycling the muscle instead of just using your fat for energy.

With one meal a day all the weight that you’re losing will be from fat loss. Numerous studies have shown that participants maintain their lean mass, or muscle mass, even though they are losing weight during a fast. But more specifically, the longer you fast the higher your HGH (human growth hormone) levels rise. HGH is responsible for maintaining and growing muscle mass. So if you’re trying to tone up eating one meal a day can help you build muscle and lose fat by increasing your HGH levels by up to 1000 times in as little as a 24 hour fast.

8. More Stable Energy

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When you are running off stored fat it means you’re using ketones for energy. This energy supply is much more stable than glucose. Now you may be thinking that the whole point of a keto diet is to be in ketosis constantly. And yes, this is the case, but with one meal a day you’ll be maintaining a much higher rate of ketosis for a much longer time than you would with three meals a day. In other words there are even less energy dips.

Not only his, but when you eat your body spends a lot of time and energy on digesting the food. If you only eat once a day you’re freeing up a lot of extra energy that your body can use for other activities, such as work, or even healing.

9. Less Hunger Pangs

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Low insulin levels cause hunger, but if you do not give in to the urge to eat you start using ketones for energy. As soon as ketones become available the hunger goes away. You may find that you’re still in the habit of eating at certain times during the day, so you may think you’re hungry. But after the first 3 days your brain will catch up to your body.

This is one of the biggest benefits of being on a keto diet. You’re already primed to burn fat in the form of ketones and with minimal carbs, your insulin isn’t rising and falling so much. But when you take the amount of meals you have in a day down to one you’re minimising the rise and fall of insulin even more. So you’ll find you’re even less hungry than on a standard three meal a day keto diet. Some people have even reported feeling less hungry on a full fast, with only one meal a day, than on intermittent fasting, where they eat two to three meals in the hours they are not fasting.

10. Less Cravings for the Bad Stuff

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Many people who have tried fasting have found that they crave less of the bad things, like refined foods or high carb foods. They find themselves naturally changing their eating patterns and can easily turn up their nose at a plate of donuts for example, where previously they would have a hard time resisting the temptation.

11. Easier to Maintain a Calorie Deficit

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Once your body has adjusted to eating one meal a day and you’re not hungry all the time and you don’t crave the bad stuff anymore, it becomes a lot easier to limit your calorie intake.  Eating more calories than your supposed to in one meal will be quite difficult. In fact in the beginning you may find it hard to eat all the calories you’re supposed to eat in one day because you’re used to eating smaller meals spread throughout the day. Even with normal intermittent fasting, where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8, people often find that they’re hungrier than normal during the eight hour eating period, which means they find themselves eating more calories than they’re supposed to during a day.

When you’re eating one meal a day it becomes a lot easier to manage your daily calorie intake and get the right ratios to make sure you stay in ketosis.

12. A Younger Body

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Not eating stimulates Sirtuin proteins, which rectify damage to your DNA. Damaged DNA leads to aging. In other words, eating less can reverse the negative effects of aging by keeping your DNA healthy. DNA are the blueprints for building new cells and healthy DNA leads to a rejuvenation of all the cells in your body, from your skin to your muscles and all your organs. So by eating one meal a day you will be helping your body be as young as it can be. By promoting DNA health and reversing the effects of aging  you are also directly impacting your longevity. 

People who have been doing one meal a day for a year or more have reported not only looking younger, but also feeling younger. They feel like they did in their twenties and some even look like they’re still in their twenties, even though they’re over forty.

13. Living Longer

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DNA health leads to living a longer life, but scientists have found this to be true in other studies as well. According to various studies eating 30% less calories leads to a 30% longer life in any form of life, from yeast to mammals. 

For some reason scientists are sceptical of testing this theory on humans, but given the fact that eating only one meal a day stimulates DNA health, and that this seems to be true for all other life forms on the planet, I think it’s safe to assume that eating one meal a day will help you live a longer life.

14. Increased Healing

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Some people have reported that old injuries that they’ve had trouble with for years start to heal after doing a one meal a day eating regimen for a month or more. This makes sense if you consider that injuries are “broken” parts of your body and that fasting stimulates DNA repair. When you add new, healthier cells to an old injury it follows that the injury should heal better than it did with “broken” DNA. Your body also has a lot more energy to focus on healing when you only eat once a day. The energy that would have been used to digest food can now be used for other activities, such as healing old injuries.

15. Reduced Cancer Risk

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Cancer is a result of cells growing in an abnormal way. By keeping your DNA healthy you will also be reducing your risk of cancer. But fasting has been shown to go one step further than just reducing your risk. 

A 2012 case study by Dr. Alan Goldhamer found that a 42 year old, stage 3 cancer patient was able to cure her cancer by doing a 21 day fast. So not only is fasting a great way to prevent cancer, but it can also help to fight it, even in later stages. Please take note that this is supplementary to your doctor’s advice and if you think you may have a growth, please seek medical help.

16. Increased Brain Function

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According to a study done by neuroscientist Mark Mattson, fasting stimulates new neurons to grow in the brain. Neurons are the wires that make thoughts happen, often referred to as brain cells. As a result fasting can be used to reduce the risk and symptoms of degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

But for those of us who aren’t necessarily at risk of brain disease fasting can still be of tremendous help. Our brains stop developing at about the age of 25, but by the age of 20 we’re already starting to lose brain cells due to the effects of aging. Having new brain cells readily available after the age of 20 promotes cognitive function and can help promote learning new skills. A healthier brain can also help increase attention span and concentration.

17. Saves Time

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Preparing three keto friendly meals every day can become tiresome. I’ve seen posts on facebook where people have dining room tables FILLED with row upon row of containers. This is their weekly meal prep. This supposedly saves time, but for one day a week they spend basically the entire day making food. 

With one meal a day you can plan to make said meal at a convenient time for you. This saved on prepping, cooking and eating time. You’ll also have much less shopping, menu planning and dishes to do… Eating one meal a day is not only healthy, it’s very convenient. 

18. The Satisfaction

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Eating three smaller meals a day can leave you feeling empty. Not hungry, but unsatisfied. Small meals don’t always hit the spot. With one meal a day you’re eating all your calories in one sitting. That means a lot of food in one go. After your one meal you’ll be full and satisfied, with no feelings of guilt because you ate so much. 

19. Increased Motivation

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It’s much more motivating to look forward to a feast of food rather than a measly portion of half an avocado and one egg. When you eat one huge meal a day you can plan ahead and make it a delicious feast. The anticipation of having such a scrumptious meal waiting for you will help you get through the day. Whereas with three small meals a day it’s much easier to think of all the ways this diet sucks and how great it would be to just feel really full for once. With one meal a day you get rewarded at the end of every single day.

20. Less Worries, Less Temptations

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When you’re eating three or more meals a day there is much, much more room for temptation, especially if you’re struggling with willpower. You have to make sure that your macros are in the right ratios three times a day. You need to stop yourself from succumbing to your thoughts about carbs and sugary foods three times a day. But, with one meal a day, your temptations are limited to once a day. You don’t have to worry about getting your macros right three times, you only have to worry about getting them right once. You don’t have to worry about being tempted to have a quick unhealthy, but very convenient snack, at all, ever. You have one eating pattern rule to worry about. You just have to make sure you get the right ratios in one meal. It makes life much, much easier.

21. More Focus

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Not only does eating one meal a day save you time on prepping and cleaning, but it also saves you time during your actual day and helps you to stay more focused. When you take a break at 10am to have a snack, you’re breaking up your work day. The same thing happens at lunch time. Not only are you breaking your concentration and productivity, but you’re also distracting yourself. After we eat we usually feel more lazy and distracted. This happens because your body is more focused on digesting your food than on doing anything else, whether it’s physical or mental. When you’re used to eating at certain times your brain will also start signaling your stomach that it’s time to eat at that specific time, whether you’re in an important meeting or not. This can get very, very distracting.

When you only eat at the end of your day, you will be more productive during your day, taking less breaks, feeling more focused and then at the end of the day you can put your feet up and let your body digest the filling and satisfying meal you ate.

22. Improved Mood

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When you’re less worried about food and more focused on getting things done your mood will naturally improve… But having only one meal a day can have a real effect on your mood besides the obvious benefits. Some people have reported that the have a generally improved mood thanks to having only one meal a day.

While there is no scientific study to show exactly how extended fasting improves mood, the general consensus among people that only eat one meal a day is that they are a lot happier, more energetic, content and stable, and less stressed or anxious compared to when they eat three meals a day.

23. Possibly Reverse Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

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Yes, the survival rate was much lower 100 000 years ago, but of the people that did make it to old age, most of them were extraordinarily healthy. 

These days we don’t have to fight wolves, outrun lions or figure out how to stay warm in a sudden cold spell. Not to mention our medical advancements, now an infected wound isn’t the end of the world. 

But back then the harsh living environment led to many premature deaths. I’m sure more than half of us wouldn’t survive a month in those conditions. But those that survived the harsh living conditions of the paleolithic era were much, much healthier than people of the same age in our era. This has been attributed to their eating habits more than anything else.