Meal Frequency and Metabolism

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Nutrition

Guest Post By Sol Orwell of Examine.com

For those that haven’t seen Examine.com, you’re missing out. They’ve built up a solid reputation on presenting evidence-based information on nutrition and supplementation. I get a ton of questions about nutrition, so I asked if they would do a series of posts on nutrition. Maybe even tackle some myths.

Here’s the first one – on meal frequency.

Meal Frequency?

  • A common claim is that eating more meals a day causes an increase in metabolism?
  • Another claim is that because your metabolism keeps spiking, you burn more fat, which helps with fat loss.

What’s the evidence?

  • A few trials have been done, keeping the diet the same, and only manipulating the timing and size of meals.
  • A few trials have been conducted assessing the above claims, keeping the composition of the diet steady and only manipulating the timing and size of the meals
  • No differences exist in weight or fat loss1
  • No differences exist in the metabolic rate2
  • No differences exist in fat oxidation rates3,4

What else should I know?

  • Usually, the more times you eat, the more calories you can pack in
  • An increase in meal frequency can cause you to feel hungrier5
  • A decrease in meal frequency causes you to feel less hungry6
  • If not told how to eat, most people prefer fewer meals7

Summing it Up

Meal frequency is nothing more than personal taste. Some people love three square meals a day. Some people love one giant meal a day. And some people love to nibble throughout. Meal frequency is irrelevant, and its effects on metabolism are irrelevant. Your metabolism does increase when you eat food – so the more food you eat, the longer it stays elevated.

Admittedly, if you are trying to pack on mass, more meals may make it easier to eat a ton of calories, but the effect would be the same if you ate all of those calories in two meals.

Eat however many meals you find most comfortable with.

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Click HERE to check out Sol’s Supplement Goals Reference Guide, the cheat sheet to better health, a better body and a better life.