It is common to hear the phrase: "To lose weight and stay healthy you have to eat every three hours." Indeed, many people follow this fractioned diet, let's uncover the most common questions about it and its true benefits.
1- Whats the importance of eating every three hours?
The main purpose of this diet is to keep the maintenance of the active metabolism. Our body needs significant energy to operate, and its fuel is the glucose. If we don't constantly provide glucose to the body, the organism slow down its rhythm. The reason for that its once the organism is under hypoglycemia it can't burn fat instead starts burning protein and muscles, in order to preserve the vital functions of the body.
2- Should we eat every three hours even when it's not hungry?
Yes. Considering that a person has healthy and balanced meals, with a low-fat diet, the estimated time to digest the food and absorb its nutrients is 3 hours. The hunger its related to habits more than the real necessity of energy of the body. Our body has the capacity of adapting itself. If you don't have the intermediate meals during the day not necessarily it's going to ask you for food (feeling of hunger).
3- Why every meal (even the intermediate ones) should have a combination of protein+ carbs?
The key to the three-hour diet it's the intermediate meals or mini-meals, they are considered "snacks" in between the big meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), but they have to be strategically planed.
To make sure we are providing glucose (energy) to the body the best food type are the carbs, but we have to be careful: Carbs are fast to digest if its consumed by itself it provides a height of glucose. This can lead to the "rebound effect", which means the organism will produce more insulin to drive the glucose to the cells, leading the body to use protein as a source of energy. The solution its to not consume carbs alone. Adding protein or healthy fat prevents the rebound effect. Foods that are rich in protein and healthy fat are slow to digest, retarding the absorption of the glucose.
Basically: Carbs + Protein = the energy is driven to the circulation gradually, maintaining the metabolism active for a longer period of time.
4- What are ideas of intermediate snacks I can have?
Here go a few ideas for each food group. The formula is Healthy Fat + Carb or Protein + Carb. (Remember: you should go to a nutritionist to see the necessities of your own organism, this is just a general concept)
5- How can I get used to eating every three hours?
Being organized! Always have alternatives snacks with you during the day, you can even put an alarm to remind you. Once you start practicing it will become a habit.
Good luck! Let us know what you think.