If you’ve not heard about eating 6 smaller meals, rather than 3 big meals a day as a way to lose weight, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. Or just don’t give a fuck about dieting and weight loss.
The idea is that you eat 6 smaller meals every couple of hours to keep your metabolism going.
I’ve never really believed this as I’ve always thought of a calorie as a calorie, whether you eat 400 calories at 2pm, or 200 at 1pm and another 100 at 3pm.
To me, the only truth behind it helping you to lose weight would be that knowing you don’t have that long to wait until you next eat might make the diet a bit more bearable so you’ll stick to it longer.
But that’s just my guess. Before I’ve done any research.
What I learnt.
After reading a few articles on the matter, I came to the conclusion that eating 6 smaller meals boosts your metabolism is a myth.
If you eat regularly, then your body releases insulin which means your body goes into ‘absorptive phase.’
This means the insulin in your body is storing sugar — and not letting other enzymes in your body release sugar to break down fat. You want your body to be in ‘postabsorptive phase’. This is when your body uses your energy stores for sustenance, and burns more fat.
Google still came up with loads of articles that were encouraging eating 6 meals a day, as apposed to 3. I kept seeing pharases like ‘boosts your metabolism’ and ‘keeps your metabolism working’, but didn’t find any science behind it all. Just those statements quoted by some supposed Doctors.
I changed the direction of my search to see if eating regularly does increase your metabolic rate and to see if I could find some science behind it.
From Daily Burn, I found this:
Turns out the old notion of eating a meal every three to four hours to ramp up one’s metabolism wasn’t exactly perfect advice. In fact, how frequently someone eats has little to do with the speed of their metabolism. Dr. Freedhoff explains, “Eating every four hours is popular because eating frequently, for many, helps them to keep a lid on both stomach hunger as well as cravings.” That, in turn, allows for better portion and choice control, Freedhoff says.
The following articles also declare this as a myth:
- Hits and myths: does eating more frequently boost your metabolism?
- Busting 10 diet Myths
- Eating More Meals Does NOT Speed Up Your Metabolism
- Eating Many Small Meals Every Day Won’t Boost Your Metabolism
- 6 Meals a Day for Weight Loss
Although I do declare this a myth, I don’t think the advice is totally useless. As I already mentioned, eating 6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 larger meals may prevent binge eating and keep you on plan. But eating 6 times a day is not always an option for those who work, also unless you accurately control your portions, you are at risk of slightly over eating.
At the end of the day, it does’t matter when you eat your calories, it just matters how many you take in vs how many you burn.
What do you think?