STATE OF THE SCIENCE on meal frequency and how it effects your weight.
Have you ever been told that smaller meals, more frequently are better for you? Or maybe over the years you have heard contradicting advice on how often one should eat to stay in shape? There are a lot of opinions. But are they facts? Well science has the answers and it is not so clear cut.
What are the typical recommendations?
Here is the thing, recommendations for the optimal meal frequency to improve body composition tend to vary depending on who you speak to and what is in vogue e.g.
• 2-3 meals a day
• 5-6 meals a day
• Intermittent fasting
• Prolonged fasting
Has any of this been studied?
Indeed. Being an important area for public health and general fitness meal frequency studies are often conducted in the quest for finding the ideal solution. However science is yet to find anything to support one in favour of the other as a LONG TERM strategy for maintaining healthy body composition. Even if the difference in body weight does exist it seems to be so small that it has no practical use.
So it does not matter how often I eat?
This does seem to be the case. Assuming the calorie consumption stays the same how often you eat in a day has no noticeable effect on body weight. What matters more is consistency. A REGULAR meal pattern is more important than how many times you eat when it comes to body composition. IRREGULAR meal patterns are associated with negative metabolic effects (at least in the absence of exercise).
A good bet.
Ultimately no one knows. The choice of optimal meal frequency should always come down to the individual looking to improve body composition. It should prioritise consistency over frequency, be in tune with natural hunger cues and take into account their lifestyle, work/social calendar and exercise. You may be a grazer or like myself prefer 2-3 meals a day so that you can focus on other tasks during the day. Once you establish your regular pattern it becomes easier to adjust quality and quantity of your food to suit your body composition goals
✅Eat at regular intervals
✅Love your food
Move More. Live Better. Dmitri & Epoch