When I first started out on my fitness journey I was serious about results. I wanted to ensure that everything I was doing was optimal and would give me the best results possible. I read every fitness and bodybuilding magazine I could find. I spent countless hours on various websites, blogs and just about anywhere I felt I could learn about fitness.
According to every so called guru or expert I could find, if I wanted to get any kind of results at all I was going to have to start eating six meals per day. For several years I went through the cumbersome process of buying food for, preparing, and eating six meals per day. For me this was an incredibly taxing pursuit and ultimately felt like a second job.
Over the years new science and studies began emerging that looked at the validity of the superiority of the six meal a day protocol. Much to my embarrassment, these studies ultimately came to the conclusion that there was no true benefit to an increased meal frequency so long as the goal amount of food consumed per day was the same. This was music to my ears as it allowed me to go back to eating three meals a day. Which works a lot better with my schedule and drastically reduces the amount of time I spend cooking and preparing meals. Leaving me more time to pursue things that I enjoy: spending time with my family, going to church, researching, and even sneaking in the occasional video game (shh!).
Here are the key points that can be learned from the studies
- Eat in the number of meals that helps you stick to your target calorie intake for the day. It really is that simple, crazy, right?
- So, if eating more frequently makes it easier to control or reduce calories, it will help you to lose weight/fat.
- If eating more frequently makes it harder to control or reduce calories, or makes you eat more, you will gain weight.
- If eating less frequently makes it harder for you to control/reduce calories (because you get hungry and binge), it will hurt your efforts to lose weight/ fat
- If eating less frequently makes it easier for you to control/reduce calories (for any number of reasons), then that will help your efforts to lose weight/ fat
- 3 meals per day provided no benefit over 6 meals per day in a calorie matched diet
What would you do with the added time that you free up by eating fewer meals per day? Answer in the comments below!