Throughout the years, the idea of eating smaller, more frequent meals for fat loss has been mainstream. Numerous nutrition and fitness experts claimed the body’s metabolism will be at it’s highest when eating five to six meals per day.
Is eating five to six meals a day really superior to eating only three meals? You may not need to force yourself to eat numerous meals throughout the day to receive fat loss benefits after all.
Eating More Often Does Not Boost Your Metabolism
You have probably been told at some point that you should be eating smaller meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism high. In recent years, research has debunked the idea that eating only three meals a day slows the metabolism.
One study found that increasing meal frequency has no effect on fat loss. The researchers even concluded your hunger can increase with the addition of more meals throughout the day.
While some research points to the notion that athletes perform better when eating five to six meals a day, it does not reveal a quantified boost in metabolism. Athletes have a greater calorie requirement than most people and are able to consume more calories with the addition of meals throughout the day.
Some people even advocate eating fewer than three meals a day for fat loss. One study noted fat loss in subjects who kept their total daily calories the same but decreased the feeding frequency to one meal per day.
Don’t believe the misguided notion of more frequent meals “stoking the fire” of your metabolism. You can maintain a healthy metabolic rate with fewer than five meals per day.
Portion Size And Total Calories Of Your Meals Matter
A problem with eating five to six meals per day is the increase in total calories. While this may be beneficial if you are trying to gain muscle, it can greatly hinder your weight loss goals. It is hard for many people to add meals throughout their day without increasing their total calories consumed.
It was once believed that eating more frequently can increase satiety and decrease hunger. The previously mentioned study noted eating more frequently can even increase the desire to eat. This can cause an added amount of calories taken in along with a decreased control of what to eat. By decreasing satiety, one may start eating unhealthy foods to try to satisfy the feeling of hunger.
By keeping your portion sizes in check and counting your calories, you will be optimizing your chances for fat loss. Too many people experience weight gain from overeating and large daily calorie counts.
Your total daily calories can quickly get out of control with frequent feedings. By constant grazing and eating snacks, it is very easy to eat more calories than needed.
Find What Works For You
Too many times, we are instructed to follow cookie-cutter diets. While some people may benefit from spreading their daily meals into small, more frequent feedings, others will find a conventional three-meals-a-day diet to work best.
If you find yourself having hunger pains between your meals, have a healthy snack rather than increasing the portion sizes of your main meals.
If you are going to experiment with eating five to six meals per day, focus on not increasing your total daily calories. Whether you are eating one meal a day or six, keep your daily calorie count within a healthy range.
Do you currently eat five to six meals a day? Do you believe it gives your metabolism a boost? Leave a comment below.