5 or 6 Meals per Day?

One of the frustrating aspects about nutrition is that honesty is not always popular. Ask something if they know how to fix a car and they will be honest  — I know who or I don’t know. Ask them if they know about electrical work and again, honesty will come forth. Ask them about nutrition. . . and so many will answer yes. They read the book. Or listened to their chiropractor (who took a course once) or saw the study and thus. . . they know.

The end result is that fads, trends and simply terrible notions get passed along. At the top of the list is this notion that everyone should be eating 5-6 smaller meals per day. For years, I have said that this is dead wrong and have seen so many patients’ health suffer because of this.

You know who should be eating 5-6 smaller meals per day? Diabetics.

Do you know what can happen if someone eats 5-6 smaller meals per day over time? Diabetes. If you eat carbs in particularly every 3-4 hours, your pancreas simply cannot keep up with the insulin requirements and the end result . . . . . . . . . . . diabetes.

Recently, the British Journal of Nutrition published an article about eating 5-6 meals per day. They were not as harsh but the results were clear. Eating multiple meals is not an effective means of weight control. Here is the summary.

“As long as total caloric and nutrient intake stays the same, then metabolism, at the end of the day, should stay the same as well. One study that carefully demonstrated this, published in 2009 in The British Journal of Nutrition, involved groups of overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to very strict low-calorie diets and followed for eight weeks. Each subject consumed the same number of calories per day, but one group took in three meals a day and the other six.

Both groups lost significant and equivalent amounts of weight. There was no difference between them in fat loss, appetite control or measurements of hormones that signal hunger and satiety. Other studies have had similar results.”

Exercise, on the other hand, seems to effectively increase metabolism according to studies.

Drop the notion that 5-6 meals are needed. Eat when you are hungry and pick quality sources of primarily proteins, vegetables and some fruits/ Throw in a “free” meal once a week  and health will be your companion.