• February 3, 2017

The Science of Cheat Meals

The Science of Cheat Meals

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The Science of “Cheat Meals”

Understanding leptin and the utilisation of strategically implementing higher calorie days whilst dieting.

Leptin is a hormone released from fat tissue that plays a key role in regulating appetite and feelings of satiety. While leptin has many functions in the body, the main function is to control or regulate fat-cell size. Once leptin is released from fat cells, it is believed to signal to the brain that the body has received adequate food, thereby suppressing your appetite. Accredited to the fluctuations in fat cell size induced from elevated leptin the amount of stored energy each cell is capable of storing for a short period in time is effected. Such variations can be utilised to break plateaus.

Refeeding / Overfeeding

I cannot emphasize the importance of restraint and methodical planning when structuring a refeed. The purpose of such a meal should be considered at all times ensuring the desired result is achieved, despite what you are craving.

Overfeeding can have profound effects on leptin concentrations in the body. However, not all macronutrients are created equal. Fat overfeeding does not elicit the same leptin response as carbohydrate does. In fact, fat has virtually no effect on leptin concentrations, and in some cases even reduces leptin levels.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, have a positive impact on leptin. In fact, high-glycemic carbs (e.g., sugar) may be the sole reason for increases in leptin after meals. It should be noted that leptin does not particularly increase immediately after a meal, but does so anywhere from 4-48 hours after carbohydrate refeeding. In the short term, leptin concentrations are not affected and should be taken into account during planned refeeds.

Another health benefit that is a repercussion of a refeed is increased immune function. The longer and harder we diet, the more stress we place on our body and the more we risk getting an illness. Without adequate calories, the immune system cannot perform up to par and therefore cannot fight of invading organisms as well.

If you are finding that you are constantly getting sick and aren’t really showing signs of getting better, this could be a good indication it’s time for more calories.

Provided optimal results are a priority of yours, take advantage of such information and utilize your reefed as a means of inducing a hormonal response to encourage the oxidation of fat, suppress cortisol, improve immune function and temporarily suppress appetite as opposed to an excuse to eat in accordance to your cravings at the time.