I read that I should eat more to lose more? I am following the six small meals per day rule. Wait, isn’t it three meals per day? Or, how about eight meals per day?
I get all types of questions about how many times per day to eat, and questions about eating too little or too much when trying to lose weight.
If you are asking any of these questions, here are the answers.
Does Eating More Food Speed the Metabolism?
A small amount. When we don’t eat enough after a period of time, the body thinks that we are starving and slows to metabolism to conserve energy.
However, when we are feasting, or eating more frequently, the metabolism only increases slightly—not enough to make a difference.
How Many Meals a Day is Best?
Who said we need to eat three, six, or eight meals per day? Just a few health experts or gurus, but their advice is based on little research. Everyone has their own take on how many meals to eat in a day. And, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all.
The most important fact is to never skip breakfast and to never go too long without eating. Too long may be five or more hours during our active hours. The benefit of frequent eating is that is helps prevent binge eating, maintain balanced blood glucose control, and keep the energy high.
Am I Eating Too Much?
After I write someone a meal plan, they exclaim, “but this is so much food!”
It is not an excess amount of food, but since we have added in many extra fruits and vegetables, it seems like much more food.
If vegetables and fruit don’t make up most of your diet and you feel you are eating too much, you probably are.
Don’t guess on this. Keep an accurate food log on a website like myfitnesspal.com to get a better idea of how many calories you are consuming. And don’t forget to measure!
Remember: don’t guess because it leads to frustration when trying to reach your diet goals. Or, you can always visit your local Registered Dietitian so he or she can determine if you are over-consuming.
So, you can see how you may be able to eat more healthy foods and lose weight, but you still have to be careful it is not in excess. Any macronutrient in excess will lead to weight gain!
But, eating 3, 6, 8, or more times a day really doesn’t make that much difference in the long run.