View Full Version : does it matter WHEN i eat my dailys cals

05-16-2007, 03:11 PM
im on a cut and i have a caloric intake goal of about 2100 a day

im sure ideally its better to eat small meals throughout the day but if im eating my intake in weird patterns like say for example:

200 morning
1000 dinner
900 before bed

will this cause me to lose muscle because im not feeding my body all day, or as long as im getting my cals in it doesnt matter exactly WHEN i get them in?

Paul Stagg
05-16-2007, 03:23 PM
If it matters, it doesn't matter all that much.

05-16-2007, 05:40 PM
Why don't you try it both ways and see for yourself? That's the only way you'll really know:

1) Measure body comp, note how you feel in and out of the gym
2) Spend a month eating one way, repeat #1
3) Spend a month eating regularly-spaced meals, repeat #1

What gives good results for others might not for you and vice versa. FWIW, there was a study not too long ago showing that the instantaneous caloric deficit (how much of a deficit/excess you're in at multiple times during the day) was important in addition to the overall daily deficit, so keep that in mind.

It may or may not make it harder for you to get lean but only you can say for sure. My guess is you would see better results eating properly and feel much better overall. I'm also thinking that that kind of daily breakdown is indicative of a diet lacking in other ways - mediocre workout nutrition, a poor breakfast, and a lack of the right macros at the right times.

05-16-2007, 05:41 PM
^got a link for the study you're talking about?

OP: If it works for you to split it up like that, go for it

05-16-2007, 07:32 PM
^got a link for the study you're talking about?

OP: If it works for you to split it up like that, go for it

A quick Google didn't bring anything up (it's been a while since I took a look at it), but I know it's out there. I'll try and get a link for you.

05-17-2007, 11:47 PM
if your currently doing it and feeling fine, no problem.....but i eat regularly spaced meals to satisfy my mind,body, and soul

05-21-2007, 05:26 PM
^got a link for the study you're talking about?

OP: If it works for you to split it up like that, go for it

Sorry for the long delay. Here's a supporting study (I seem to recall another one involving a larger variety of athletes as well that reached the same conclusions):


There was a significant relationship between the number of daily energy deficits > 300 kcal and DEXA-derived body fat percent for gymnasts (r = 0.508; P = 0.001) and for runners (r = 0.461; P = 0.041). There was also a negative relationship between the largest daily energy surplus and DEXA-derived body fat percentage for gymnasts (r = -0.418; P = 0.003). Using the energy balance variables, age, and athlete type (artistic gymnast, rhythmic gymnast, middle-distance runner, long-distance runner) as independent variables in a forward stepwise regression analysis, a small but significant amount of variance was explained in DEXA-derived (P = 0.000; R2 = 0.309) and skinfold-derived (P = 0.000; R2 = 0.298) body fat percent by the number of energy deficits > 300 kcal and age. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that within-day energy deficits (measured by frequency and/or magnitude of deficit) are associated with higher body fat percentage in both anaerobic and aerobic elite athletes, possibly from an adaptive reduction in the REE. These data should discourage athletes from following restrained or delayed eating patterns to achieve a desired body composition.

05-21-2007, 05:38 PM
I'm reading this, and there are a number of flags that jump out at me. They don't mention what the caloric deficit was that these women were running - only the mean hourly deficits and surpluses. These athletes were not on calorie-controlled diets from what I see. I don't know how much protein and fat they were consuming. I also don't see anywhere a report on long-term changes in body composition, nor is any mention made of nutrient timing surrounding training, which becomes progressively more and more critical the leaner you become.

Daily fluctuations don't mean much if they're not sustained over time.

Finally, if you hold on to a couple more ounces of fat because of meal frequency, but you're more comfortable dieting this way and are better able to stick to a plan this way, you'll still do better than you would have if you tried to diet in a way you couldn't maintain.

05-22-2007, 08:03 AM
I think it matters. Its not just "cals in, cals out". Our bodies are much, MUCH more advanced than that. It is to a point about calories but timing, and types of food are VERY important.

Do a search on "G-flux" by Dr. Berardi....