Asked in Dieting and Weight LossEating DisordersCarbohydrates and Low-Carb Diets
Why do humans eat three meals a day when most wild animals need to eat less than one meal a day?
March 06, 2009 1:07AM
It isn't really correct to say that most wild animals need to eat less than one meal a day. If you observe animals in the wild, they often spend the greater part of their time looking for food. The reason they tend to eat less than humans is because wild animals do not have the ready acess to food that we humans do. But, given free acess to food, wild animals will also grow fat and over-eat. This likely is an evolutionary drive. Extra fat equals extra energy and thus survival during times of starvation (an all to common occurance in the "wild"). The problem with the urge to over-eat in human beings is that we are very unlikely to be put into a starvation situation, and so we don't use the extra calories we store as fat. Instead, we just carry them around with us as unsightly buldges and rolls. So, that simple answer to human fat loss is to restrict the number of calories consumed. Of course, that sounds too simple, and it really is. You can't just restrict calories, because restricting calories just causes your body to dip into its reserves, and some of the reserve calories it taps will come from muscle fiber. The resultant loss of muscle fiber will result in a declining metabolism, not to mention a loss of overall strength and endurance. But there is a way to avoid this: exercise. The body has an amazing level of plasticity to it, and responds to environmental stresses quickly. By exercising, you are telling your body that it requires its muscle for survival and thus can't afford to lose it. So, your body will then choose to save its muscle fiber and burn fat instead. This makes sense, if you think about it a little while. Think of a lean, healthy animal. Why is it lean and healthy? Because it eats a restricted calorie diet (food is hard to find) and it exercises regularly (it takes a lot of effort and physical strain to find/catch food). Throw in a little extra sleep (animals sleep a lot to recover from the strain of the often intense exercise needed to capture prey/find food), and you too can be lean and healthy, like the "wild animals". But, be prepared to face hunger and hard work. They don't call it "fat and happy" for no reason. Eating little and working hard is not always comfortable, but who said that nature is easy. If you want to be lean, cut back the calories and exercise for brief, intense periods of effort....and don't forget the extra sleep. It will be hard, but if the world seems hard, maybe it isn't the world, maybe you're just soft.