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Grossly overweight people are the subject of many studies. In one interesting experiment, scientists manipulated the clocks so when they said 12 noon, it was really 11am. All the subjects went to the dining room, because it was time to eat. The scientists fiddled in the other direction, so when the clocks said 12 noon, it was really 1pm. No one was looking for food at “real noon.” The conclusion was simple: they ate by the clock.

Three Full Meals a Day.

We needed them when we were a nation of farmers. For centuries the US was primarily rural and agricultural. Most of the work was physical – lifting, cutting, sawing, butchering, plowing the fields with mules. There was no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Water came from a well you dug yourself. The only heat for cooking and warming was a fireplace, and Siri and Alexa don’t chop no wood. Farmers would start with a hearty breakfast (no drive-through latte caramelita and bagel with a schmear) and burn off all the calories by lunch. They’d load up on calories again and then be hard at work all afternoon, home to a hearty dinner, and to bed early. No Twinkies, no Pringles, no Snickers.

We still eat our three meals a day, but instead of hard labor, we sit at desks. We often supplement our diets with a midmorning snack, and we do the same in the afternoon.

So the advice is still the same. Eat less. Do more.

One doctor told us about his patient, who was on a special meal program as an outpatient. After a month, the patient had not lost any weight. The doctor asked if she had been eating her special meals like he prescribed. “Doctor,” she said, “I ‘m usually so full after my regular meal that I don’t have room for my special meal.

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