There is a bit of confusion surrounding the area of meal frequency and how often you should eat per day. However, when it comes to the optimal meal frequency, many experts state breakfast as the most important meal of the day, which enables the body to jump-start the process of fat burning; followed by 5 to 6 small meals which should work to prevent your metabolism from slowing down.
However, the studies around the area show conflicting results and it is not clear that eating more frequent meals alone helps you lose weight.
Apart from weight loss, the implications of meal frequency on the health of individuals is for certain something to consider. There are some clear implications of meal frequency on health and we will discuss these various implications as we discuss how various meal frequencies affect health.
Does Meal Frequency Matter?
Meal frequency for certain matters to the general health and well being. Based on how often you eat, you are providing your body with everything you need. For instance, if you are only eating one meal a day, this is vastly different to you eating 6 meals a day.
The food that you consume provides your body with the energy it requires to perform your daily activity. When you consume fewer meals, obviously you are consuming fewer calories overall, this means you are at a calorie deficit throughout the day. However, you are also starving your body, which could hamper your metabolism.
When we speak of meal frequency, we don’t mean eating 6 huge meals every day. What we mean is having one large breakfast, followed by 5 small meals which are enough to keep you well-fed. Eating smaller meals on a regular basis throughout the day provides your body with a constant supply of energy. Your digestive system is happily at work digesting the food that you eat, and you have fewer chances of developing something like hyperacidity.
Increasing your meal frequency allows you to better manage your hunger and maintain energy levels throughout the day. It will also prevent mood swings from hampering your performance. You will be well-fed and happy. On the contrary, if you consume one meal every day, you end up starving your body, which could bring with it a host of complications, including a slower metabolism, hyperacidity and mood swings.
Typically, you should stick to three meals a day at the minimum, which is the dietary guideline for meals.
Is Eating 2 Meals a Day Healthy?
Some say that there are no real health benefits to eating more often. As we mentioned, the studies in this area are contested and while a group of people are inclined to feel that eating more often helps you lose weight, others feel that it doesn’t increase the number of calories burned, thus doesn’t help with weight loss. In fact, they feel that eating fewer meals can be healthier.
Hence to answer the question with regards to whether 2 meals a day is healthy depends on what you understand as healthy. What happens with a 2 meals a day plan is that you end up fasting for a substantial period of time during the day. Fasting can increase stress levels and disrupt sleep. Further to this, dehydration, hunger or lack of sleep during the fasting period can lead to developing headaches.
Fasting can also lead to heartburn. The lack of food can lead to a reduction in stomach acid, which digests food and destroys bacteria.
Hence, though eating 2 meals a day is more likely to place you at a calorie deficit and help you lose weight, you may face health implications due to the fasting period. This is why fewer meals a day is not considered wise. The normal three meals a day provides enough food to prevent hunger and the symptoms of hunger on a daily basis.
When you eat 2 meals a day, the chances are, you would find yourself hungry, which could cause various health implications, such as headaches, mood swings and stress.
Is Eating 1 Meal a Day Bad?
Unless you plan your meal very carefully, you are probably going to face difficulty ensuring that you are attaining the necessary nutrients from the single meal of the day. You would be starving your body of essential nutrients that it needs and will also have trouble sourcing the calories that you need for daily activity.
Many people resort to eating fewer meals a day in hopes of losing weight. Obvious to state that eating one meal a day will mean that you maintain a calorie deficit throughout the day. You are more likely to burn more calories than you consume. This will lead to greater chances of effective weight loss.
However, one meal a day will result in a slower metabolism. This means, your body’s natural ability to burn fat will be decreased. Further to this, your body will get accustomed to consuming only once a day, and your digestive tract will adapt accordingly. Thus, if your revert back to eating more meals a day, it could bring with it weight gain and digestive issues as a result of the change.
Eating one meal a day isn’t very sustainable and should not be something that is tried in hopes of losing a few pounds. It places you on a fasting modality which will bring complications such as stress, bad sleep, headaches, mood swings and lack of energy.
Though one meal a day is a good way to reduce the amount of body fat, it may not be the best way to achieve sustainable weight loss, which you won’t gain back in the long run.
How Many Hours Between Meal for Diabetes?
People with diabetes should look to eat every 4 to 5 hours to keep their blood sugar levels in control. This means eating breakfast within an hour and a half of waking up, followed by a meal every 4 to 5 hours after that. You should also eat a snack in between meals if you get hungry.
People with diabetes need to keep a control of their blood sugar levels, which means they can’t afford to eat only one big meal a day. This will result in blood sugar spiking and will lead to insulin resistance.
Eating more frequent meals will prevent you from starving yourself and will provide a constant supply of energy which will allow you to better regulate your glucose levels.
You should try to minimise any long gaps during the day without fuel. This means you shouldn’t look to try intermittent fasting or go without food for a long period of time.
Further to this, people with diabetes have better control of blood glucose levels if their meals and carbohydrates are spaced evenly throughout the day. Hence, you shouldn’t look to skip a meal or even eat later than the normal time of the day you eat. Even eating a meal an hour or two after the normal time of the meal could lead to a blood sugar imbalance.
Too many carbohydrates in one meal will lead to a rise in blood glucose levels, even if you take diabetes medicine. A person with diabetes should attempt to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal.
With the time duration between meals being 4 to 5 hours, people with diabetes should look to be eating 3 to 6 meals a day.
Does Meal Frequency Affect Metabolism?
It has been postulated that eating more often works to increase metabolism, which also works to reduce hunger and food cravings. You have better appetite control which enables you to keep a track of unhealthy eating habits. It also works to improve glucose and insulin control and can help reduce body weight by burning more stored fat.
There is a growing body of evidence around the fact that meal timing is an important element in the regulation of metabolism. It is known that the circadian clock is tightly interrelated with metabolic functions. Meal frequency regulates the functioning of the circadian clock which is critical in maintaining metabolic health.
With better metabolism, the chances of weight loss are increased. Eating small, frequent meals enables the body to burn fat more effectively and help reduce weight which you are able to better sustain and maintain. In comparison to weight loss experienced through fasting, weight loss attained through greater meal frequency is more viable of being sustained in the long run due to the lack of the starvation element.
Though intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, it works to slow down the metabolism, which makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. In order to lose weight and better sustain and maintain a healthy weight, you should opt for more meals that boost metabolism, as opposed to fewer meals that slow down your metabolism.
How is Meal Frequency Related to Weight Loss?
Meal frequency controls the number of calories that you consume a day. Though fewer meals will usually mean you consume fewer calories, the weight that is lost is harder to maintain. Eating 6 small meals throughout the day has also been shown to be an effective means to lose weight. It is considered the better option, for you aren’t starving yourself and have a better chance of maintaining the lost weight.
Both fewer meals a day and more than 3 meals a day help with weight loss. However, the means through which weight loss is experienced is varied. Eating 6 meals a day does not mean that you would be eating 6 huge meals. Instead, what it means is that you would be either eating 6 small meals or one big meal followed by 5 small meals.
Though eating fewer meals a day is going to help you lose weight, as mentioned earlier, it will work to slow down your metabolism. This will mean, that once you start eating more meals every day, you will start gaining back the weight that you lost.
Instead, eating 6 meals a day is considered the more effective means to lower body weight and burn fat. It is considered more sustainable, healthy and practical. You won’t have to change your eating habits, since you aren’t starving yourself. All you have to do is ensure that though you are eating 6 meals a day, that you maintain a calorie deficit with your daily activity levels.
The calorie deficit is what decides whether you lose weight or not. If you consume more calories than you burn, then you won’t lose weight. Though it is harder to consume fewer calories when you are consuming more meals, your metabolism will thank you for it.
Should I Skip Dinner to Lose Weight?
Though you may be inclined to think that skipping dinner could help you lose weight, it is going to be weight loss that is harder to sustain. You are more likely to gain the weight back once you start eating dinner again. It is not a practical means to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Hence, though you can lose weight by skipping meals, you shouldn’t skip main meals in order to lose weight faster.
Skipping a meal like dinner is a great way to ensure that you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning. However, the trouble with skipping dinner is, you are increasing the period of time during the day in which you would be fasting. As mentioned, though fasting can lead to weight loss, it isn’t a practical and effective means to attain weight loss. You are highly likely to gain the back the weight when you change your eating habits to include the meal that you skipped in the first place.
Many people skip dinner in hopes of losing weight and losing weight fast. Don’t get us wrong, skipping dinner could lead to weight loss, however, it is not sustainable weight loss. Though it will help you cut calories, it is not considered productive in the long run.
Meal Frequency and Muscle Gain
High-protein foods are an important part of gaining muscle. Carbohydrates and fats are also necessary energy sources that should be included in meals. When it comes to meal frequency and muscle gain, you want to ensure that you are consuming sufficient protein to help repair and build muscle. You should look to eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours and aim for 6 meals during the day.
When you lump your calories into 3 large meals, you tend to feel sluggish, which could hamper your performance. Eating 6 small meals will help you keep your energy up and will provide your body with a constant source of protein and energy which will help your muscles recover and grow faster.
You should look to eat a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of protein every meal. This means, six meals containing 20 to 30 grams of protein in each meal. This will provide your body with a constant source of protein which is sure to enable faster repair and growth of muscle.
If you are looking to gain muscle, you should look to increase meal frequency. Remember, when you are trying to increase muscle mass, you have to eat more calories than you need to maintain your body weight. As mentioned earlier, a greater portion of your calories should come from protein, which will provide your body with the necessary amino acids to build muscle mass.
Is Intermittent Fasting Better Than 6 Meals a Day?
Though intermittent fasting has been praised for having benefits, including weight loss, fasting for a long period of time during the day includes the element of starvation. As a result, it is harder to sustain and more people have a harder time sticking to it in the long run. In comparison to this, 6 meals a day is easier to sustain and is a more friendly diet.
You can lose weight through both intermittent fasting and 6 meals a day, however, the weight that is lost through intermittent fasting is harder to sustain. When you starting eating on a regular basis and break away from daily fasting, you are more likely to gain the weight back. This is because, intermittent fasting works to slower metabolism, which can lead to more weight gain if you consume more calories.
Further to this, fasting can bring various negative attributes such as bad sleep, headaches, digestive issues and mood swings. None of these attributes applies to eating 6 meals a day.
What is important is that you are able to stick to the diet that you are on for the long run and reap the benefits of it. So long as you maintain a good amount of daily activity, you will cut calories regardless of whether you are following intermittent fasting or 6 meals a day.
That being the case, some studies have proven the benefits of intermittent fasting. Though these studies go out of their way to prove that intermittent fasting has various health benefits, it doesn’t mean that intermittent fasting is more sustainable and practical in the long run. As mentioned, you should be looking for a diet plan that is more practical and easier to sustain in the long run, as opposed to something you see quick results with which fades over time.
Health Benefits of Eating 6 Meals a Day
Eating 6 meals a day can lead to slower weight loss, while some people argue that it doesn’t actually impact weight loss. Weight loss depends on the number of calories that you are consuming. If you eat 6 meals a day of the wrong type of foods or in the wrong amounts, you would not stand to lose weight. However, if you monitor your calorie intake and ensure that you are eating the right number of calories spread throughout 6 meals, you have a better chance of losing weight and maintaining it.
One of the key benefits of eating 6 meals a day is how it works to maintain your metabolism. Eating frequent meals throughout the day can help boost your metabolism which will eventually lead to slow and steady weight loss. Once again, to attain weight loss through a boosted metabolism, you have to ensure that you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning.
Eating 6 meals a day also works to better regulate your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes have much to benefit from eating 6 meals a day. It prevents your blood sugar levels from spiking and provides a constant flow of energy throughout the day which enables the better regulation of blood glucose levels.
Further to this, eating six meals a day helps your digestive system. It ensures that you have a constantly active digestive system that is fine-tuned to burn the food that you consume and absorb the nutrients. It prevents the shock to the digestive system caused by prolonged periods of hunger.
Speaking of hunger, eating more frequent meals will help you keep your cravings in check. You are less like to crave snacks in between meals and are more likely to eat healthily. It enables you to better regulate your appetite, meaning that you are less likely to experience elements of hunger and the symptoms of hunger such as headaches and mood swings.
Eating six meals a day will ensure you have a constant flow of energy for the entire day, thereby ensuring that you get better sleep at night. The better your quality of sleep, the better your quality of life.
You will experience better eating patterns, which means overall you will adapt to eating healthier foods and make healthier choices. You are more likely to not crave sugary sweets and are more likely to enjoy the meals that you eat throughout the day. The fact that you enjoy the small meals that you eat means you are more likely to stay happy and not be hampered by elements of mood swings or headaches caused by hunger.
Meal frequency is an extremely important element of health and will decide whether you are starving your body or keeping it well fed. Though many people like to eat fewer meals in hopes of losing weight, as mentioned within this article, it is weight loss that is harder to maintain.
When picking a diet to lose weight, you want to ensure you pick something that is easier to stick to. You want to ensure that you are able to sustain the diet and practice in the long run. You don’t want to have to do all that work to lose weight and watch you gain it all back all over again. This is why, meal frequency is important, especially if you are looking to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Remember, though you can eat 3 huge meals a day or even 2 huge meals a day, that doesn’t mean it is as healthy as eating 6 smaller meals throughout the day. We aimed to provide you with the information that you required to understand the importance of meal frequency. Having read this word to word, we hope you can decide for yourself, how many meals you should be eating.