5-6 Meals Per Day vs. Intermediate Fasting For Leanness

Posted by:

Recently I had a discussion with someone was convinced into thinking that eating 5-6 meals a day is what should be how it is done. You don’t need breakfast or lunch. Once you eat it you’ll engage the Parasympathetic Nervous System which will lower your GH and Testosterone levels and spike insulin. You store fat and get tired. By not eating during the day you engage the Sympathetic Nervous System and GH, Testosterone, and Glucagon(a fat burning hormone) all spike and you are very much energized and alert all day.

In fact it has been proven there are only 2 environments which are best for spiking all 3 of those hormones in the exact same way and they are fasting and exercise. Drink 10oz of water every time you THINK you feel hungry.

Most people only eat out of convenience or habit during the day. In reality the body does not need daytime food intake unless a workout has been performed. Most cannot distinguish between feelings of hunger and that of thirst. If your mouth is ever dry you are already dehydrated and a drop of even 15% decrease in your body’s water is about a 50% decrease in your energy.

Additionally if someone eats on the 5-6 meal per day plan currently it can be hard to imagine eating only once per day. If someone exercises multiple times per day they should have a post workout recovery shake/meal within 30 minutes after to return their body to an anabolic(muscle recovery) state. Then eat staggered meals, over a four hour period, in the evening that add up to very large calories consisted of natural foods in good combinations. Personally my main meals sometimes top about 3,000-4,000 calories. A lot of people think if they eat one meal it should be or needs to be the same size of the meals they eat now. Eating multiple times per day will not necessarily allow for lower calorie meals to be consumed and in fact most people consume too many within each of those smaller meals.

In essence simply consume the post workout meal and then in the evening eat as much or even more than you now eat spread throughout the day. If you think you cannot then you are not thinking in terms of staggering over a 4 hour period always beginning with a big salad.

Brad Pilon, author of the book Eat Stop Eat and regular intermediate faster, wrote an article on his blog regarding and supporting this very topic. Here it is for your reference and reading pleasure.

Deconstructing Nutrition – When you don’t eat, your metabolism slows down

When you don’t eat, your, metabolism slows down.

This “nutrition fact” says that when your caloric intake is too low, your metabolism actually slows down. It has been referred to as “starvation mode” and is the basis for the current trend of advising people that they should eat every couple of hours, never skip meals, and never cut your calories too low while dieting.

But is it true?

To examine this truth, I decided to look into what happens to a person’s metabolism when they fast for a short period of time (between one and three days).

The first study I reviewed had six healthy male volunteers fast for 3 days. During this fast, the researchers measured the changes in the subject’s metabolism at 12, 18, 24, 20, 42, 54, and 72 hours of fasting. What they found was that there was no significant change in energy expenditure during any of the 7 time points. So from this study we can say that a 3 day fast in men does not cause a decrease in metabolism.

Already this evidence goes against the idea that if we don’t eat every couple hours our metabolism will slow down.

The second study I reviewed had 8 men and 8 women fast every other day for 22 days straight. There was no significant change in the subject’s metabolism from the start to the end of the study. From this study, we can say that fasting every other day for a period of 22 days results in no significant changes to a person’s metabolism.

So we now know that even if we eat sporadically for 22 days, most likely our metabolism won’t be affected.
The third study I reviewed had 8 men fast for either 12 hours or 72 hours and then eat a meal. After the meal their metabolisms were measured for 12 hours. This study found that regardless of whether or not the men fasted for 12 hours or 72 hours, their metabolism for 12 hours after eating a meal was not significantly different. So this study shows us that a short term fast doesn’t affect your metabolism after you eat.

So even if we don’t eat for 3 days, there is absolutely no change in the way eating effects our metabolism.

So from the research I was able to review, it doesn’t seem like short periods of fasting cause any negative effects on our metabolism. Nor does it affect our metabolism once we start eating again.

Since having absolutely no calories for a short period of time does not effect our metabolism, I feel safe in saying that the idea that you need to eat every couple hours in order to keep your metabolism “revving” is actually a nutrition myth and not a fact at all. Also, the phenomena of a “starvation mode” does not happen until after at least 3 days of fasting, if it actually even exists.

Share Your Comment:


  1. Bill  March 10, 2010

    Bob, is this how you eat? Do you eat just in the evening, over that 4-hour period? Do you fast every other day?

    I’d be interested in hearing how it has worked for you, in terms of body composition and overall health.

    I admit I’m skeptical, but I’m also open-minded. I have used fasting in the past, but it’s always been for “cleansing and detox” not a sustained way of life.

    I also know that I’ve made my best gains in terms of mass-building and cutting when I’ve eaten frequently throughout the day and even waking in the middle of the night for some protein.

    But again, I’m interested in your experience.
    .-= Bill´s last blog ..GOMAD Works! =-.

    • Bob Garon  March 10, 2010

      Bill- yup this is exactly how and when I eat. I’ve been doing it for years and have seriously never felt healthier, stronger, recovered faster due to hormonal balancing, energized, and mentally clear. It’s so easy to manage and implement too.

      • Bill  March 11, 2010

        Bob-thanks for the reply! Very interesting. I guess one of the many lessons here is that find what works and work it!

        I’d suggest that others try this, too, especially if you’re not happy with your results! Changing things for the sake of changing things is not always the best remedy, but when something isn’t working, why not try something else?

        Thanks again, Bob!
        .-= Bill´s last blog ..February Traffic Report – Best Month Ever =-.

    • Jaga  July 20, 2012

      Hi bob, great stuff here, i started on warrior diet and so far i feel great. However my main goal is to add muscle mass. currently i am 125lbs and 5’5 tall. I would like to know if by following the warrior diet i will be able to add on muscle mass?

      • Bob Garon  July 21, 2012

        Hi Jaga! YES you absolutely can, but the intermediate fasting lifestyle is really not designed for bulking. Rather it is specifically for increasing one’s overall health internally, increasing energy, becoming very lean, and if you are working out then your muscle will become more strong, but most likely much less bulky because of the very nature of the style of eating with what the hormones are doing.

  2. Shahzad  April 19, 2010

    Hey! I have lost about 10 Kg by eating 3 low calorie meals throughout the day. But now the scales dont really seem to be moving. So my question it .. what are the chances of IF working for me?
    Kind regards.

    • Bob Garon  April 19, 2010

      Yes I absolutely agree that it would and recommend it IF and only IF you do it properly. You will experience amazing results when you eat the right foods, food combinations, and practice the best food timing in order to capitalize on your body’s digesting hormones and nervous system response.

      Keep your healthy fats very, very high and your grains as well as sugars extremely infrequent to not at all if you can. Eat mostly veggies and some fruits alongside your protein sources.

  3. Shahzad  April 19, 2010

    Thanks for the reply man.
    How does this sound. I eat 2 boiled eggs without yolk and tea (without sugar) in the morning around 11:00 am. Then I eat a bowl of salad at 11:00 pm. The salad would include cucumber, tomato, onion and carrot. And in between plenty of water.
    And please guide me whether or not it is recommend to do this on regular basics, like for a month or 2?
    I really appreciate your help.

  4. Modern Rugs  June 27, 2010

    Calories are only part of the equation. The real problem with fast food is that there is little to no nutrition associated with the calories you’re consuming. Also, most of the calories in fast food come from saturated fats – far worse for you and your health than the same number of calories from an avocado or something similar.Thanks
    .-= Modern Rugs´s last blog ..Southwest Area Rugs – Rugs in Timeless Tradition =-.

  5. Alexander D.  November 26, 2010


    I realy want to try IF because the one thing that makes me quit my diet is the fact that I hate all the time spend cooking, cleaning up, eating 6 times. But I wondered, how does a typical main meal look like. I mean if you need al your Kcal, Proteïne, Carbs and Fats in one big meal, how do you do that.

  6. Bob Garon  November 26, 2010

    Alexander that’s a great question and thanks for your comment! Than answer is simple: stagger your meal over 2-4 hours. Go here for an example: http://www.bobgarontraining.com/2009/04/high-fat-eating-menu.html

  7. brian  December 27, 2010

    Hello, i have used this way of eating and LOST weight, BUT sometimes you hit a wall(a point where you don’t lose weight anymore) i have heard you can eat differently (a couple of nutritous meals during the day and a smaller one in the evening) just to trick the body into losing weight again, then go back to eating IN the evening again, what ARE your thoughts sir (GREAT SITE PLEASE HELP) YOUVE HELPED ME DROP WEIGHT MEANWHILE!!!!!!!!!

    • Bob Garon  December 27, 2010

      Hey Brian- GREAT question! I’d say YES you definitely can do it that way, but I think what would be even better if you restructured your main evening Intermediate Fasting meal. I have been doing IF for several years and never shifted to any other timing. My guess is your food portions, and/or food combinations, are not in line with clean eating.

      Another style of eating I recommend is my 6 week Fat Blasting nutrition program and then when you’re done simply cycle back to your Intermediate Fasting lifestyle. Recently I had a group of 10 go through this and in the first 2 weeks, which is the jump start portion, the collective lost over 130lbs. Each individual averaged 13lbs. I had some people lose over 15lbs in the 2 weeks and some less so that’s where we get the numbers. Go here for all the details for Fat Blasting: http://www.bobgarontraining.com/14-day-fat-blasting-program

  8. melody  April 13, 2012

    hey bob i need help on all of what you mentioned i dont know when to eat what to eat when is the best time to fast im just stuck but i have a looooot of info i need a plan get back with me thank you

    • Bob Garon  April 13, 2012

      Hi Melody! Thank you so much for your message. I want to help. I actually developed an amazing program that answers all your questions and provides you a very, very detailed plan right here: http://fatblastnutrition.com.

You must be logged in to post a comment.