After reading through Joy Victoria’s recent article of 3/8/13 entitled Best Ways to Make Dieting Easier ( http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/best_ways_to_make_dieting_easier ) in which she extols the virtues of a more laid-back approach to meal size, frequency, and timing, I was reminded of a question that always bugs me: if the total intake of calories and macros is what matters over the course of a day, and the manner in which that “allotment” is broken up over time is much less relevant, does the same hold true over the course of many days?
Obviously, at some point, fasting for days and then consuming all the “missed” calories and nutrients in one day will fail, but at what point is there a measurable difference, and how much “cushion” does one have from day to day?
A quick thought experiment could be the following:
Contrast three different approaches to consuming 6000 total calories over a three day period where, say, 9000 calories represents maintenance (with all other variables being equal, obviously).
___________Day1 Day2 Day3
Approach 1 : 2000 2000 2000
Approach 2 : 1000 1000 4000
Approach 3 : 0000 0000 6000
Intuition tells us that the first approach is best and the last approach is worst, but why? And at what point does this shift begin to take place? Is 2200/1900/1900 going to be noticeably worse than 2000/2000/2000? How about 3000/1500/1500? How different will the results be over time for someone who repeats the first approach vs. someone who repeats the second approach over the same time period?