Could you eat just once a day?

Here’s an interesting video I just came across:


And another link on the same subject.

Could you do it? Could you exist on one meal a day?

I don’t think I could. Not one meal. But I think I could do two meals a day, particularly if they were low-carb.

If you look at the bottom of the second link article, you’ll see a panel showing four types of what’s called ‘intermittent fasting‘ :

  • alternate day fasting
  • the 5:2 diet
  • periodic fasting
  • time-restricted feeding.

About 18 months ago, I tried the 5:2 diet. I wasn’t exactly overweight, but I was carrying some extra poundage, indicated by the fact that only one pair of slacks still fitted me comfortably. Getting into the others was a bit of a struggle. It was either lose weight or buy some new clothes.

The 5:2 diet was hard. Cutting 2 days a week to 500 calories wasn’t easy. An egg is 100 calories! A small tin of flavoured tuna is 100 calories! 100 gm of steak is 250 calories! You’ve got to be joking! I would wake up in the night desperately longing for a piece of cheese! On the fasting nights I would go to bed thinking, “yippee, I can eat tomorrow!” I think I lasted a couple of weeks, then I changed it to cut food intake down to 1000 calories every day. That’s about the basal metabolic rate for someone my age and I figured that any extra exercise I did would be burning up those extra calories from my hips.

Over the course of 2-3 months I lost 8 kg. I felt much better; wasn’t so tired after a day’s work in the garden and lo and behold, all my slacks fitted again. Money saved on new clothes!

Of course, as with all diets, the weight came back again when I started eating normally. But only 4 kg of it. I deliberately kept biscuits, cakes and sweets off the menu from then on (well…..just a couple of pieces of chocolate with coffee after dinner—not half a block of the stuff).

Some time ago I discovered low-carb, or LCHF as it’s more commonly known (Google it…..there are hundreds of links) and I’ve switched to that. I don’t think of it as a Diet with a capital ‘D’, it’s more a lifestyle. I’ve given up rice and pasta; I’m eating far more vegetables, plus meat and fish, full fat dairy, stacks of butter and only minimal fruit (mainly what comes out of the garden). More weight is slowly coming off, too.

Anyway, that’s the reason I think I could ‘do’ two meals a day. According to the definition in the table I referred to above, I’m already on ‘time-restricted’ feeding without even trying. My last meal of the day is over and done with by 6 pm in the evening. I don’t eat again till around 8 am and I’m never really hungry then. I only eat because, well….it’s breakfast time and breakfast is what you do in the morning.

I would really like to get my blood pressure down naturally, without having to take the drugs I do and I’d really like to see if I can reverse (or lessen) the symptoms of the rheumatoid arthritis which hit me some 15 years ago. Worth a try.

And it might be a good rehearsal for when the wheels begin to fall off industrial agriculture and food availability becomes a bit tenuous.

11 Responses to “Could you eat just once a day?”

  1. Frogdancer Says:

    We were talking about this in the staffroom at lunch today.
    I need to try something like this. I feel like I’m as broad as I am long…


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Do some reading about LCHF (low carb high fat) if you haven’t done so already. You might be surprised. I can recommend ‘The Obesity Code’ by Dr Jason Fung. I bought it for my Kindle. I was really interested in the obesity crisis and Type 2 diabetes in particular and how the body works in relation to metabolising food.

      This is probably one of the best sites, but you do have to join to get the extra info. There’s enough there, though, to wet your appetite (pun intended) :


  2. narf7 Says:

    Steve only eats one meal a day. He does eat a snack in the evening but only one main meal.


  3. Chris Says:

    To answer this question, you’d have to ask two more: how fast is your metabolism, and how much energy will you use in the day?

    I’ve done periodic fasting in the past, where I don’t eat for two days. It resets my gut, and gets it working properly again. But fasting long term, isn’t something that would work for me – or my husband. Because we use a lot of energy in the day.

    I would consider, one meal a day – fasting. I’m using more energy in a day, than one meal can sustain. Once my body worked through the fat supplies (long term) it would start breaking down my muscles. My husband gets giddy, if he doesn’t eat regularly. He has a high metabolism, and stores a lot of muscle for his height.

    I could see one meal a day, working, for people who aren’t as active, or have a slower metabolism – meaning the energy they consume, stays in their body longer. So it may work for some people, and be beneficial. But it wouldn’t work for us.

    If you’re looking for something to try, to reduce blood pressure and arthritis, consider doing a food elimination diet. I suspect the problem you have, is caused by inflammation, which food is a big cause. I use to have a lot of aches and pains, I put down to working so hard – but once I stopped having gluten and grains (plus I reduced my dairy intake) I was amazed how pain free I became.

    I once did Paleo and Low Carb too, but found it didn’t always work. It would fix whatever problem I was having, but then it came back. I now focus on ingredients which have the least amount of processing, and eat whatever is available. But I still avoid gluten, grains and I’ve reduced my dairy intake. These were triggers for inflammation, and slowed my biology down.

    Nice one, for losing weight though – and especially making “health” your cause. Because it’s a commitment worth sticking to, for a lifetime. 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Chris. Although I’m going low carb, I still aim to eat enough calories a day to cover my basic metabolism plus what I burn off on working around the garden, it’s just that they’re not coming so much from cakes and sweets and high carb stuff. I will know if I’m out of balance if I start to lose too much weight and then maybe I can add more cake and chocolate into the mix (hope! hope!).

      I’ve thought of going gluten free or eliminating some foods to see if it makes any difference, but the trouble is, I’m taking drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and they’d confound the results. I’d need to go off them completely and my rheumatologist isn’t happy about that. I have talked him into dropping the dose, though, so that’s a start.

      I realise fasting wouldn’t work for everyone, but what I’m doing seems to come under the description of time-restricted feeding so I’m not going to change anything there. The other thing I could try is to just eat when I’m hungry, and since I rarely ever feel huge hunger pangs (still mostly eating by the clock), that might work too.


  4. yahoo2 Says:

    As someone who has been an irregular eater I can say it will trim some weight and you will feel better but I dont think the RA will go away.
    Have you thought about taking the animal protein and fat out of your diet? I have been asking some friends if they have any vegan recipes that they would like to share, several women mentioned to me that their joint pain lessened quite rapidly after they started down this path, anyway have a think about it, might be worth a shot. I know that lindt 70% choc is vegan if that is any incentive.

    I am working myself up to it, Ive got the ground flaxseed and the B12 supplement happening and I have cut my oil consumption right back and found a soy milk I really like but there was and incident with some chicken curry last Sunday and cheese toasty-gate today.
    anyway early days I suppose!


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Steve, thanks for the comment. I probably agree with you that the RA won’t go away, but reducing fat and protein would mean increasing carbs and I’m more concerned about developing insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes than I am about the RA. I would never cut out meat…..what I want to do is eat a variety of foods in a more or less ‘balanced’ diet.

      That incident with the chicken curry and the toasty cheese sounds nice, though 🙂

      Good luck with whatever you eat and good health!


  5. yahoo2 Says:

    yeah, I used to think that. I am putting my hand up and admitting I was wrong. Yes, refined carbs are making things much worse, glycogen in our blood peaks, our pancreas dumps insulin to correct it, glucose levels plummet, our body thinks we are starving, panics and releases fatty triglycerides at the exact moment we are stuffing our faces again, the triglycerides are not needed so we store them in the quickest spots we can find, back in our muscles, in our arteries, in our liver and eventually our pancreas, destroying the insulin producing cells there in the process.

    MRI has shown scientists that insulin opens a door in the cell wall so that glycogen can slip easily into our muscle cells, glycogen is the pinky red stuff that comes out of meat, its not blood.

    Insulin resistance is caused by fat inside our muscle cells blocking this open doorway, when this happens on mass our pancreas is powerless to regulate our blood glycogen levels. They stay high despite masses of insulin being dumped in the blood by the pancreas. We have a double whammy overworking our pancreas and crippling it with fat deposits at the same time.
    Unfortunately most doctors have not got the memo or they are so beaten down by seeing an endless stream of people that are offended to hear the truth about what we eat, they just give up and treat the symptoms. I got lucky, I was having regular blood tests while I played with my diet and saw massive changes then a slow decline when I went back to my old “healthy” diet. For example I was grumbling about trying the b12 tablet till I saw my homocystine levels drop from 20 to 6 then watched it rise again when I stopped eating leafy greens (folate) I couldn’t get it under 10 on meat.

    I agree with Chris, unprocessed is one of the key things to controlling the sugar swings, eat a nut or seed not the oil, an orange not the juice, an olive rather than the oil… grape, grape-juice, wine think of foods in those terms, vinegar is probably the exception. Carbs are the same, starches in say rolled oats or spuds and sweet potato and legumes will make your body and microbes work for their supper when the bran and kernel is milled away its not good. At a pinch you could cool cooked pasta or rice in the fridge and reheat it once it has formed some resistant starch but that is not ideal. I would put milk products and animal fats into this easy energy category.

    The animal protein/ inflammation thing is a whole different topic, I am not telling you to “go vegan” and it will cure rheumatoid arthritis, I think you should ask around and talk to some women who have done it and see what they say, you might be very surprised. All I am saying is if you consider yourself to be a half reasonable cook, like I do, it shouldn’t be much of a stretch to trial a no animal protein period off and on for several weeks at a time and see how you feel.

    Turns out its harder than I thought and there is a whole host of tricks that make the taste leap off the plate that I had forgotten, if nothing else it will improve your food preparation and stretch your recipe repertoire and give you something very interesting to blog about.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Steve, thanks again for the comment. I can’t really do anything about the diet in regards to the RA, because I’m taking a drug to control it and that would confound the issue. I’d have to stop taking the drug, wait to see if the symptoms came back and then do the dietary changes. The RA isn’t a major problem….there’s no pain, just stiffness which goes away once I start moving. So I wouldn’t want to trial no animal protein because, as I said, that would mean more carbs and they’re much more likely to be a problem than fats and protein, especially (possibly) wheat.

      I don’t eat processed foods and I grow a lot of my own as you see from the blog. My diet has always been reasonably healthy; it’s just that after I’ve eaten a healthy meal, I wreck it by pigging out on cakes, biscuits and sweets. That’s what I’m trying to change.


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