Fact Check: It Takes 24 Hours To Digest A Single Meal, 3 Meals A Day Is A European Thing

Fact Check: It Takes 24 Hours To Digest A Single Meal, 3 Meals A Day Is A European Thing

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European settlers, calorie count, three square meals, British Journal of Nutrition, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, intermittent fasting,

Eating three meals a day stems from European settlers and it grew into the normal routine, eventually becoming the eating pattern of the New World and the world.

It takes 24-to-72 hours to digest a single meal depending on the amount and type of food one has eaten, according to nutritionists. Other factors such as gender, metabolism and whether one has any digestive issues could slow or speed up the process.

Native Americans were eating whenever they felt the urge to, rather than following a routine. Meals were based on convenience and ritual.

People began to turn a midday meal into lunch and the after-work meal into dinner after the Industrial Revolution — a way of eating that was considered more civilized than how Native American tribes ate.

Over the years, this pattern of eating three meals a day has been assumed to be healthy without any evidence, according to Durham, N.H.-based food historian Abigail Carroll, author of the book “Three Squares: The invention of the American Meal“.

Carroll wrote about the history of American eating habits. “The eating schedule of the native tribes was less rigid; the Europeans took this as evidence that the natives were uncivilized,” she wrote. “Civilized people ate properly and boundered their eating, thus differentiating themselves from the animal kingdom, where grazing is the norm.”

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Breakfast is singled out as the most important meal of the day due to its portrayal in advertisements by cereal and juice companies, according to Carroll.

Eating breakfast had zero effect on the overall calories people consumed in a day, according to recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Those who ate breakfast burned more calories than those who skipped it, but they burned off the extra calories later in the day, meaning the net calorie consumption was the same.

Whether a person eats three large meals a day or six smaller ones has no difference to their overall calorie count, another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed.

Researchers found no weight or hormonal difference between the two groups.

A University of Warwick study found no difference in calories consumed between women who ate two meals a day and another group that ate five. In order to keep a healthy life, researchers suggested you should eat when hungry instead of conforming to the European routine of three meals a day.

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