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Scientific justification for the dietary bias of a day as a basic unit of time

Answered on October 06, 2013
Created October 05, 2013 at 8:01 PM

"An apple a day..."

Why are all diets concerned with getting a certain set of nutrients within the timeframe of one day? Is there any scientific basis to say that biologically the body has a preference to get a small sample of this this and that macronutrient and this this and that micronutrient at least once per 24 hours? It is implicit in almost any dietary recommendations you read, from daily fish oil dosage, etc. How do I know I don't need 1/4 teaspoon fish oil 4 times per day - maybe it works 200% better than one full teaspoon once a day? Or perhaps I am wasting my efforts supplying my body with fish oil so often, and taking 4 teaspoons every 4th day would suffice.

I feel annoyed by the arbitrary arrangement of everything around 1 day, as if it is holy and special. I think there must be scientific evidence to justify the bias.

Personally, I end up eating 1~3 lbs of fruit in one day and then not touching the stuff for a week. Another day I might not end up consuming any meat. Another day I'll have burgers and steaks the whole day and really not feel like touching vegetables. I prefer to just "overdose" on fish oil once a week. I'd really like to know if any literature out there can convince me it makes a difference to the body if I go to once a day or multiple times a day for any of these habits.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on October 06, 2013
at 02:20 AM

I think it is pretty unscientific to use the word "extremism". You are using the term to describe how far I am from the status quo. The status quo is JUST a tradition, traditions are the anthesis of science, they are accidents that people got used to. When I consume that amount of fruit it feels completely natural, so without cold hard numbers I think it is pretty unscientific to say "not too smart"... Just because the body flushes nutrients beyond its needs doesn't mean the timescale for that to happen is not obvious. Maybe the vitamins in 1 lbs of fruit stay in my system a week.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:46 PM

i would imagine 3 meals because 1 before you go to work, 1 while u dont go hypoglycemic and accidentally kill someone at work, and 1 when you get home. seems like the most obvious explanation to me.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:36 PM

I prefer to eat 1.5 kg of liver on January first to keep me covered on B12 for the entire year, it works that way, right?

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5 Answers

0
0277d31384ec7f53beb3c9f302803dc9

on October 06, 2013
at 07:01 AM

Since a person can literally go weeks without eating any food at all, there is no doubt that our RDAs for nutrients just need to balance out over time.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:48 PM

The lifetime of a particular nutrient in the human body can be found with some effort. Generally, vitamins and minerals that store in fat or in the liver will not be needed every day. Keep in mind that, before supplementation, people would go without vitamin D for six months a year in the North. Other nutrients, such as iodine which does not store, deplete quickly.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:43 PM

I doubt you will find much to support or refute your idea. Keep in mind that much of the research is funded by corporate food interests who want you to eat as much as you can all the time, so why look at giving you less?

It is the same thing with the arbitrary 3 meals a day mantra - exactly why is that necessary?

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:46 PM

i would imagine 3 meals because 1 before you go to work, 1 while u dont go hypoglycemic and accidentally kill someone at work, and 1 when you get home. seems like the most obvious explanation to me.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:24 PM

There is lots of literature on protein, vitamins, and minerals. The body has a threshold of how much it can absorb. Additionally, many things we consume for health are unhealthy in vast quantities (even water binging can kill you). But if you are getting your nutrients elsewhere, no need to consume a specific food type.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:36 PM

I prefer to eat 1.5 kg of liver on January first to keep me covered on B12 for the entire year, it works that way, right?

0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 05, 2013
at 08:18 PM

"Personally, I end up eating 1~3 lbs of fruit in one day and then not touching the stuff for a week. Another day I might not end up consuming any meat. Another day I'll have burgers and steaks the whole day and really not feel like touching vegetables. I prefer to just "overdose" on fish oil once a week. I'd really like to know if any literature out there can convince me it makes a difference to the body if I go to once a day or multiple times a day for any of these habits."

this is why they use the recommendation for 1 day, if you take all of 1 thing at once your bodies just going to flush all the extra vitamins it doesnt need... its not like it puts it in a box and stores it for the rest of the week. also eating 3 lbs of fruit probably not too smart.

while i do think that cycling nutrients/calories is great i dont think your particular brand of extremism best proves your point. the time period 'day' is a pretty much the most obvious time period, you can easily track days without almost any effort, whereas hours and weeks/months are far harder to track.

should probably just make your view of the world a bit more ambiguous "one apple a day" -> "one fruit a day", "fish a day" ->"meat a day"

what would your alternative even be, can u imagine how many people would follow a diet if it said "consume 20 fish a month", consume "10 potatoes a week" , "consume 150 calories an hour"?

tl: dr - just no....no.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on October 06, 2013
at 02:20 AM

I think it is pretty unscientific to use the word "extremism". You are using the term to describe how far I am from the status quo. The status quo is JUST a tradition, traditions are the anthesis of science, they are accidents that people got used to. When I consume that amount of fruit it feels completely natural, so without cold hard numbers I think it is pretty unscientific to say "not too smart"... Just because the body flushes nutrients beyond its needs doesn't mean the timescale for that to happen is not obvious. Maybe the vitamins in 1 lbs of fruit stay in my system a week.

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