Meal Frequency & Energy Balance by Hamza Anwar

When it comes to one of the most debated topics in the fitness industry, meal frequency is near the top of list. There are people that preach the 6 small meals a day ideology and then on the other end you have people saying that 1 large meal a day is the most optimal way to consume your food. So, let's dive in and see what the research has to say.

 

There's this idea that states that by eating lots of small meals throughout the day, a person keeps their metabolic rate high which is why the 6 meals a day diet is popular. Unfortunately, this is completely false and has been proven over and over again in studies. Having three 800 calorie meals compared to six 400 calorie meals will lead to the same body composition result. Meal frequency is not a factor in changing one's body composition. It's the total amount of calories one consumed. Also, when it comes to intermittent fasting and people saying that they lost a bunch of weight doing it, they probably did. However, think about it. If you only had a 6 hour eating window to get all your calories in for the day, you'd probably not be able to eat all of your maintenance level calories which would cause weight loss. It's not magic, it's basic math.

 

In conclusion, what I tell people is to find what meal frequency personally suits they're lifestyle the best. Some people constantly like to eat something throughout the day while some people just like 3 solid big meals. Also, some people work long hours so having 3 meals would be more convenient for them. The key point is to make sure that by the end of the day you have hit your macronutrient targets and your caloric intake target. This is what will get you results.

 

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155494

 

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985

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