Why Eating Three Meals a Day Isn’t Good Enough
By Bob Wells, CPT, PES
When dealing with many things, we are creatures of habit. We often do what we have always done, and we seldom question the rationale or the efficacy of such actions.
For example, we have long held to the antiquated notion of consuming three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For the majority of people, this feeding schedule is rooted more in habit than in scientific rationale.
Scientifically, we know that daily energy (caloric) balance is necessary to properly manage our weight. For example, if we consume 2500 calories daily, we must expend that much, or more, or our weight will increase.
Therefore, all we need to do each day is to consume fewer calories than we expend, and we will achieve our desired weight and body composition, right?
Actually, this is wrong, or rather not enough, according to some research.
Deutz et al. discovered that people who deviated widely from energy balance during the day (e.g. big gaps between a few large meals) had the highest levels of body fat. An amazing finding is that this was true whether the person was in positive or negative energy balance.
Therefore, how often you eat can be as important as how much you eat when it comes to achieving the body composition and toned body that most of us want.
This idea is easy to understand when you consider the following:
Our blood glucose levels fluctuate every 3 hours. If we delay eating, then blood glucose levels drop. Muscle tissue is then used to provide energy. This means that blood glucose stabilization happens at the cost of muscle mass, meaning that we lose muscle definition and gain fat in the process.
You can prevent this fat gain by staying in energy balance throughout the day. This means eating 4-6 smaller meals approximately every 2-4 hours.
By adopting this strategy of eating several small meals daily, we prevent hunger and avoid energy deviations throughout the day. We also get a leaner and tighter body in the process.
For more information on getting the most from your diet, check out “Sculpting the Perfect Body: One Bite at a Time”