For weight loss, we are constantly advised that 5-6 smaller meals a day are better than just three larger ones. The science behind this is that smaller, more frequent meals keep our metabolisms humming more smoothly and our hormones more balanced, which helps eliminate cravings while allowing us to lose more weight. But what is really happening when we eat 3 large meals versus 5-6 smaller ones?
If you think of your metabolism as a giant fire, adding 5-6 smaller 'logs' throughout the day will keep the fire burning steadily, and the 'logs' will burn up more quickly since they are smaller. If you were to throw on 3 giant logs into a fire throughout the day, only as the fire started to die down, it takes a lot more work to burn up those big pieces of wood and the fire ends up changing in intensity throughout the day. So which option is better for you? Well, that depends on a number of factors, but some studies still suggest the old 3-meals-a-day might be better than a bunch of smaller ones!
One new study of obese men has found that eating 3 larger meals a day kept the men feeling less hungry throughout the day, and less prone to snacking late at night as compared to eating 6 "mini meals". This decreased hunger may have something to do with the fact that their metabolisms weren't working quite as quickly as when they were having smaller meals, so they felt more satisfied and needed less food throughout the day. Our suggestion? 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. Having a solid breakfast, lunch and dinner with smaller snacks in between can not only keep your metabolism revved up and ready to burn those calories, but will keep you satisfied from meal to meal! Bon Appetit!