Is eating a few smaller meals preferable to a few larger ones?

We’ve probably all heard that eating multiple modest meals a day helps boost metabolism and promote good health. Mixed evidence exists to back up this assertion, though. In this Honest Nutrition article, we examine the latest research on meal frequency in-depth and talk about the advantages of frequent, small meals as opposed to fewer, larger ones.

For best health, it is commonly believed in contemporary culture that people should divide their daily diet into three substantial meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This idea is mostly based on cultural beliefs and early epidemiological research. dependable source

However, in recent years, specialists have started to adopt a different viewpoint, contending that eating smaller, more frequent meals may be the most effective strategy for preventing chronic disease and losing weight. More people are adjusting their eating habits to include several short meals throughout the day as a result.

Small, frequent meals are encouraged, according to those who support it.

enhance satiety, or the feeling of being full after eating, boost metabolism, improve body composition
avoid energy slumps, maintain blood sugar, and avoid overeating.
While some research back these suggestions, others don’t seem to offer much of a benefit. In fact, some evidence indicates sticking to three larger meals would be preferable.

Regular mealtimes and weight loss

It’s a widely held belief that eating more frequently can aid in weight loss. The research on this, though, is somewhat fragmented.

One study, for instance, evaluated the effects of eating three meals per day vs six smaller, more frequent meals on body fat and hunger perception. Using the same macronutrient ratio of 30% fat, 55% carbohydrates, and 15% protein, both groups received enough calories to maintain their current body weight.

Researchers found no difference between the two groups in terms of energy expenditure or body fat decrease at the conclusion of the study. It’s interesting to note that those who ate six smaller meals throughout the day felt more hungry and craved food than those who ate three larger meals each day.

Even though calorie intake was kept under control in both groups, researchers believed that people who ate more frequently would be more likely to overeat on a daily basis than people who ate fewer meals.

Findings of a different sizable observational study

According to a reliable source, healthy persons may avoid gaining weight over the long term by:

eating less frequently eating breakfast and lunch at 5- to 6-hour intervals skipping snacks and having the biggest meal first thing in the morning after an overnight fast of 18 to 19 hours.

Furthermore, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory CommitteeTrusted Source, there is insufficient evidence to establish a link between meal frequency and body composition and the risk of overweight and obesity because of contradictions and limitations in the available body of research.

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