Good news for you natural born grazers: Eating more often could equal more weight loss. According to a recent study, people who ate 6 small meals per day consumed more nutritious foods and had lower BMIs than people who ate fewer than 4 times per day.
There are probably a number of things at play here, researchers write in the study, among them being various hormonal and nutritional signals that occur with increased meal frequency that can suppress appetite, which leads to reduced energy (i.e. calorie) intake and delayed gastric emptying, which then decreases feelings of hunger even further.
While some experts say too many meals or snacks can actually have the opposite effect—keeping insulin levels elevated and making you more prone to store fat—reaping the benefits is all a matter of spacing out these meals adequately.
For people with normal blood sugar control, eating 6 smaller balanced meals per day spaced out every 3 to 4 hours shouldn't cause elevated insulin levels. In fact, by doing this you're keeping blood sugar levels stable, which makes you less likely to overeat or make impulsive food choices when you do eat.
Researchers also discovered another revelation that can help dieters trim fat: People who ate more of their calories toward the morning and less at night tended to weigh less. Ever down a bag of popcorn while watching House of Cards? We thought so.
How do you eat 6 small meals every 3 hours—and not blow your daily calorie threshold? Here is a healthy outline to break down your meals based on a 1,800 calorie per day diet (if you're active, you can eat more calories while keeping the ratios similar to what's below):
Meal 1: 400 cals
Meal 2: 200 cals
Meal 3: 400 cals
Meal 4: 200 cals
Meal 5: 500 cals
Meal 6: 100 cals
All that said, you shouldn't fix what isn't broken. If eating 3 square meals keeps you fit, trim, and energized, then keep doing what you're doing. It's all about finding what works for you. There's no one-size-fits-all plan.
Share It To Your Friends!