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Calories - at once? or spread out?
Old 09-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Calories - at once? or spread out?

Here's the discussion we're having:
Greatest Pleasure/Sin is a no holds barred, all out attack on the 200 item buffet at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Didn't tally the calories, but guessing at 3000+.
DW insists that a calorie is a calorie, and it doesn't matter how or when it is taken in.
My thinking is more like... food in, food out... and a one time shot will have less chance of the fat making it to the spare tire, than with three 1000 calorie meals.

Not really asking what I should do... gonna do it anyway... just wonderin'.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
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A calorie is most definitely not a calorie.
The official guidelines say that's not true, but there is so much current research that is finding otherwise that the official guidelines are going to have to be changed drastically.

Enjoy yourself!
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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A calorie is most definitely not a calorie.
The official guidelines say that's not true, but there is so much current research that is finding otherwise that the official guidelines are going to have to be changed drastically.

Enjoy yourself!
For me, a calorie is a calorie. I keep a daily log of calories consumed and expended (by way of exercise). When I exceed break even I gain weight. When I am below break even I lose. But I suppose it could be true that the body isn't 100% efficient at capturing "pigging out" calories on a short term basis.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
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To my understanding, spreading out calories keeps your metabolism a lot more steady. Scarfing it all down at once without extra physical activity or some other catalyst tends to slow it down and give the fat more chance to get to that spare tire :P

In a larger context than a single meal, I've always been told by my doctors that it's better to eat five small meals a day than three large ones, even if those five small meals contain a bit more food overall.
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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A large meal is more likely to spike your blood sugar to a high level with subsequent negative metabolic follow through. Three smaller meals would be better for your health in my opinion. But once in a while you can blow off some steam without too much damage.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #6
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Do a google search and you will find information supporting either side.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:00 PM   #7
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Don't know about calories being calories, but I hate the feeling I get when I overeat. So I keep my meals small.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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I think the occasional splurge on a big meal is no problem provided that your weight is under control. It will help if you eat very little the rest of the day, and preferably do some gentle exercise immediately before or after eating.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:00 PM   #9
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Don't know about calories being calories, but I hate the feeling I get when I overeat. So I keep my meals small.
Buffets are okay for variety, but I can no longer eat two or three plates of food, so it's not much of a bargain for me...
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:18 PM   #10
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Here's the discussion we're having:
all out attack on the 200 item buffet at our favorite Chinese restaurant.
I agree that a single humongous meal like that will likely result in more calories being added compared to spreading it out over the day.

However, as long as your other 13-20 days of meals are reasonable (2,000 or less calories), just one binge won't inflate the tire noticeably.

The Chinese buffets are one of my dietary weaknesses as well. If a tray of fresh, good crab rangoon** is out there - watch out!

**yes, I realize that most 'crab rangoon' put out by the restaurants uses imitation crabmeat. I'm not in it for the crab, just the oooey gooey cream cheese-base filling with some seafood and sweet n sour sauce thrown in.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:00 AM   #11
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I can't imagine how the body could effectively absorb all the calories in a single massive meal. You read how they are supposed to equate to pounds and you would need to see a big jump in the scale but that doesn't occur. I went to Fogo de Chao on Saturday night with an old friend and engaged in a massive fat and protein pig out. Scale didn't budge.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:16 AM   #12
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We normally would not consider massive eating "fun." However, one weekend in London we stayed in a Novotel, where a wonderful, immensely varied buffet breakfast was included in the price.

We started selecting our food at 6 a.m. and continued eating until almost 8 a.m., then hit the tube and wandered the city all day long...without ever having to stop to eat! Allowing ourselves such a long time to eat and digest the large amounts of (delicious) food made it very healthy and enjoyable.

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Old 09-23-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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Amethyst, that's the way to do the B&B's. Assuming that one does not gorge too much. Until we figured that one out on vacations I was always a little frustrated eating even a light lunch and feeling stuffed.

Regarding the above OP, I would use the most conservative assumptions even if some magazine articles told me differently. It's just too hard to remove excess fat from our bodies --- and no fun either.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:53 AM   #14
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A large meal is more likely to spike your blood sugar to a high level with subsequent negative metabolic follow through. Three smaller meals would be better for your health in my opinion. But once in a while you can blow off some steam without too much damage.
This was my first thought, my second was how close can I sit to the buffet table, so I wouldn't have to walk soooooo far.:-)
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:17 AM   #15
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Take a trip to a book store some day and you'll find justification for every kind of eathing.......the bottom line is if your at normal weight and healthy. If so, great, if not you should consider change.

For me, I hate sugar calories.....I spend my calories on fruits, veggies, lean meat, etc. So, I like chinese buffets, enjoying chicken and veggie choices. I stay away from the fried food section and look to avoid choices that are loaded with sauces.

I've found eating for snacking 5 times a day.....including fresh veggies as a couple of the meals helps out. Also, low fat milk, and salad dressing and adding extra brussell sprouts, boiled/chilled green beans to my salads helps as well. I haven't gone as far as Bill Clinton, becoming a vegan, but I've doubled the "good for you stuff" and dropped the heavy fat and sugar calories. And......my health has really improved.....one cold in the past 6 years......formerly,at least one every year.

If you want to read on this, look for a cook book on Volumetrics.....they'll give you some good ideas.
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:29 PM   #16
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It all really depends on what you're eating.

Three pounds of steak and salad without croutons and sugary dressing whether one meal or three will hit your body totally different than 3 lbs of sweet & sour chicken.

That said, I suspect, the three meals of the very sugary sweet & sour chicken will actually be worse for you than the one big meal of sweet & sour chicken.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #17
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We normally would not consider massive eating "fun." However, one weekend in London we stayed in a Novotel, where a wonderful, immensely varied buffet breakfast was included in the price.

We started selecting our food at 6 a.m. and continued eating until almost 8 a.m., then hit the tube and wandered the city all day long...without ever having to stop to eat! Allowing ourselves such a long time to eat and digest the large amounts of (delicious) food made it very healthy and enjoyable.

Amethyst
We did this a lot this summer, it is amazing how little we feel like eating for the rest of the day.

A few weeks back I listened to a Freakonomics podcast on obesity and one of the things they said was that the body likes to maintain its current weight "setpoint", meaning that you need to be overeating for a long time to raise your weight permanently and you need to be eating a lot less for a long time to lower your weight permanently.

This summer we really did a huge amount of overeating, finishing with 22 days and nights on cruise ships eating at buffets and doing precious little exercise. When we weighed in the day after our return DW had put on 3lbs and I had put on 2lbs from when we'd left. One week later when I weighed in I was 0.5lbs lighter than when we left in March. (I weigh myself every Wednesday and note my weight on a spread sheet. I have maintained my target range of 10 - 175 lbs for a full 2 years now after many years trying to get down to that weight)
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #18
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I agree that a single humongous meal like that will likely result in more calories being added compared to spreading it out over the day.

However, as long as your other 13-20 days of meals are reasonable
Why did my brain see this?
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