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Question: Given that your thesis argues for optimal impetus of scarcity, have you given any thought to the fact that many bodybuilders adhere to a diet of six daily small(er) feedings, often in the context of a small caloric deficit designed to enhance fat burning and muscle growth (aka “lean cut”). Clearly your work takes this principle considerably further by your insistence on the fundamental role of nutrient timing. Thoughts?

I would say that the “leaning down” phase of bodybuilding (which is typically limited to several weeks at a time) is actually a healthy regimen involving calorie restriction and energy depletion. However, there are two issues with that phase.

First is the frequent feeding factor. For the adult body frequent feeding may spell overfeeding even if calories are restricted. The reason: frequent feedings do not allow the body to get a real sense of fasting. Consequently, the body fails to fully activate some critical health-extending pathways which can only be triggered in response to fasting.

The second issue is with the limited duration of the leaning down phase, and the fact that it is typically followed by a long lasting anabolic phase involving overfeeding. The anabolic phase negates the benefits of the leaning down phase as it leads to inflammation and increased susceptibility to weight gain and age-related deterioration. Overall, the typical bodybuilding regimen seems to trade off health with muscle size.

 

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About Ori Hofmekler — founder of Defense Nutrition and author of The Warrior Diet, is a nutritional and fitness expert. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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