Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What is the 3-Hour Diet™?

As I stated in the introduction, the biggest mistake you can make when you're trying to lose weight is to skip meals, because you'll lose control of your appetite and overeat. And it causes your metabolism to slow down because your body will consume precious fat-burning lean muscle.

But when you eat the right foods every three hours, you literally change your body's biochemistry, and you gain instant control over your appetite—especially at night. Yes, that is one of the most powerful benefits of our diet. You will gain control of your eating and the weight will quickly come off and stay off. So keep reading, because your waistline will never be the same.

A Revolution in Nutrition

One of my most memorable clients, Victoria, is a busy thirty-six-year-old mother of a teenager. She lost 20 pounds on the 3-Hour Diet. According to Victoria: "Before I ran across this diet, I was depressed. Our family ate whenever we could, whatever we could. Because we are busy people, we frequently ate one or two meals a day: huge, unhealthy meals. But, this plan makes sense. I have a way of life that keeps me healthy and optimistic."

Victoria is not alone in her opinion. The 3-Hour Diet is truly a revolution in nutrition. It introduces the concept of timing—the fact that when you eat is just as important as what you eat. The 3-Hour Diet is what I call Time-BasedNutrition. When you eat the right foods at the right times, you will see fat disappear every week and not return. When you eat at the wrong times, you slow down your metabolism and gain weight over the long term.

Why does eating every three hours have such a beneficial impact on your body? How does it work? I will now share with you all the reasons why this diet is so effective and some of the scientific research that backs up this nutritional revolution.

Naturally Suppresses the Appetite

Many people think that eating every three hours will cause them to eat more throughout the day, which will make them gain weight. In fact, the opposite is true.

When you eat every three hours, you keep your blood sugar level stable, which automatically suppresses your appetite. Research has proven that people who eat small, frequent meals binge less often and have fewer cravings than people who eat large, sporadic meals.

One study conducted in the Netherlands found that obese women who ate small, frequent meals had higher levels of leptin hormones than obese women who ate fewer, larger meals. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that plays a major role in suppressing appetite. The bottom line: the study found that the women who ate more frequently felt less hungry and had fewer cravings throughout the day.

Turns off the Starvation Protection Mechanism

The number one reason why I tell clients to eat every three hours is to turn off the starvation protection mechanism (SPM). What is the SPM? It's the body's natural defense against starvation. When you go more than three hours without eating, the SPM is triggered and your body preserves fat and consumes precious fat-burning lean muscle. But when the SPM is turned off, the body burns fat and preserves muscle.

You see, thousands of years ago, our ancestors adapted to a "feast or famine" existence. When conditions were ideal, people feasted on meat, foliage, nuts, berries, and other foods. At other times, however, when food was scarce, they went days and sometimes weeks without eating. To survive, their bodies developed a way to conserve fat—the body's most valuable, calorie-rich tissue—during famine. When it sensed that food was scarce, the body slowed down the metabolism to preserve fat. This ensured survival by holding on to tissue that could sustain the body through times of famine.

Many studies support the 3-Hour Diet concept of eating every three hours to lose fat. Here is a small sample of what research has found:

  • In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, weight loss participants who ate frequent meals preserved considerably more lean muscle tissue than participants who ate fewer daily meals but consumed the same number of calories.
  • Scandinavian researchers arrived at similar results when they tested two diets on a group of athletes who were trying to lose weight. Although all of them lost the same amount of weight, the participants who ate fewer meals lost mostly lean muscle tissue, whereas the ones who ate more frequent meals lost almost all fat tissue.
  • One of my favorite clinical trials was reported in the Journal of Human Clinical Nutrition: weight loss increased and the loss of lean muscle was minimized in a group of obese women who ate every three hours versus another group of obese women who ate every six hours.

Increases Basal Metabolic Rate

When you spread your calories out throughout the day, your body receives calories as it needs them. Your cells can then quickly take up blood sugar as it becomes available and burn it for energy. When you eat fewer, larger meals, your body cannot burn as many calories as you consume and stores those excess calories as fat. As a result, you gain weight, even though you may be eating the same number of calories throughout the day.

Increases Energy Level

Most people are familiar with a slump in energy in the late afternoon. Usually this slump results from going too long without food. When you go too long without eating, your blood sugar level drops and your energy plummets. It's hard to concentrate, and all you want to do is nap. However, when you eat every three hours, you keep your blood sugar level stable and provide a continuous supply of energy to your brain and muscles.

Excerpted from

The 3-Hour Diet (TM) Cookbook. Copyright © by Jorge Cruise. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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