Tuesday Tip: Meal frequency and weight loss 🥘🥗
Following on from last week’s tip on fasting, there’s lots of confusion about meal frequency and weight loss: eat more often to lose weight, or eat less often to lose weight? Actually how much you eat matters more than how often you eat. If you want to lose fat the most important thing is to reduce your calorie intake.
The idea is that eating more small meals = faster metabolism = more weight loss? Sadly not – yes digestion increases metabolic rate BUT it depends on the amount of cals, not how often you eat. Eating 1400 cals in one meal or 3 small meals makes no difference. Studies have shown that when total cals are controlled eating more often makes no difference. What it might do though is affect your ability to stick to those calories!
So is skipping meals bad? Scientifically it’s not, it won’t suddenly cause you to enter starvation mode and magically store fat (though it can increase the risk of acid reflux). What it may do is make you hungrier later or cause you to snack more or make bad choices, it could also mean you have less energy so you are less active and burn fewer cals.
Consider eating less often if:
– many small meals doesn’t fit your lifestyle
– you don’t want to think about food all the time
– you have any digestive problems (longer breaks between meals gives your body a chance to digest)
– you enjoy larger portions
Consider eating more often if:
– you struggle not to snack and want to spread your cals over the day
– you’re trying to gain weight and can’t eat enough in one meal
– you have an active job and high cal demands
– you’re an athlete
– you feel “hangry” all the time
There’s no magic number of meals per day for weight loss. Trust yourself – if you like smaller meals more often then go for it, if not stick to 3 meals or whatever. Whichever you choose though stick to it as studies show that meal irregularity can have negative health impacts. So whether it’s 2, 3, or 6 meals a day that’s fine but don’t forget, regardless of how many meals you split it in to, it’s the total calories that matter!
Happy Tuesday 🤗