The diet world has been buzzing for years about breaking up your meals into 5 or 6 small meals a day to speed up your metabolism…which would inadvertently help with weight loss….but does it really work? The idea makes sense, as rationing your food usually helps you survive longer if you have a limited amount of food. However, leading research is actually suggesting this common weight loss tip has no effect!
Even current research like the recent Australia study which followed 179 obese Australian men and women is showing that eating the same amount of food in smaller portions has no effect on your metabolism. You are still ingesting the same amount of calories, and you are still absorbing them the same way. Here are some metabolism studies that I have found on pubmed:
Thermogenesis in humans after varying meal time frequency
Snacking patterns influence energy but not BMI
What does this have to do with portion size?
Portion size is still very important for weight loss. This study is simply saying that eating X amount of calories in small portions throughout the day or in 3 regular meals will have no in your weight loss journey. If you are trying to lose weight, remember portion size still needs to play a HUGE part in your nutritional habits. Here are a few tips to remember:
- Eat your food slower to help recognize when you are full sooner
- Take time to sit down and focus on your meals to avoid mindless eating
- Take snacks in small bowls or plates to avoid eating more than you meant to
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before meals
- Switch to whole wheat whenever possible, and stay full longer
- Try to make half of every meal rich in fruits and vegetables.
Then How Many Meals Should I Eat a Day?
This is up to you and your lifestyle. If you are hungry often and tend to over eat, five small meals a day might still be the better option. It could help by preventing you from overeating due to feeling “starved.” However, if you have a busy lifestyle like many of us do these days, your typical 2 to 3 meals a day is perfectly fine for normal diets and those focused on weight loss. Studies are still pointing to breakfast being an important tool for a healthy nutrition plan, for energy and weight loss , so be sure not to skip breakfast!
Do you know of any studies that support or refute this claim? Comment Below!