The typical diet that has been globally accepted for years consists of 3 meals a day. A breakfast, lunch, dinner and that is it. This is the way it has been until the last 10-15 years. During this time meals have been added to the daily diet resulting in eating 4-5 times a day. There is in fact science behind this trend and depending on your goals, is something you should consider. If you are able to get all of your nutrients in 3 meals and you are happy with how you look and feel, then by all means continue what you are doing. But if you are trying to cut weight or add muscle or change the shape of your body, and you are not getting anywhere, then 3 meals is just not going to cut it. In order to change how you look you have to change what you eat (and of course add exercise). Obviously eating 4 or 5 times a day enables you to give your body more nutrients by feeding it more often during the day. It is also possible to lose weight eating 5 times a day rather then sticking to 3 times. An easy way to remember it is 3 helps you stay the same. If you eat 3 times a day or workout 3 times a week, that is enough to help you maintain your fitness level and keep your body weight pretty much constant. If you want to either lose weight or gain muscle you have to eat 4-5 times a day. Yes, these two very different things need about the same number of meals a day. The difference lies in what you eat for each meal. If you were cutting weight it is good to eat that often because it stimulates your metabolism. Eating that many times a day puts your body in a catabolic state (it is going to burn fat), which is what you want for weight loss. Each meal should consist of some form of protein (will keep you full longer) and some sort of fruit/vegetable. But each one of these meals is significantly smaller then a meal you would have if you ate 3 times a day. You do not have to eat until you are full because with 5 meals a day you are eating every 3 hours. Now if you were looking to add muscle you also need to eat 5 times a day. Yes, it will cause your body to burn FAT, so that is good. But if you eat enough protein in your meals then you will be constantly feeding your muscles, so they can grow. Just remember it depends on the foods you eat at each meal as well. If you eat a bag of chips at each of the 5 meals you will not see the desired effects. If your logic tells you to eat less to lose weight, it is not always the best case scenario. For example, if you dropped down to 2 meals a day to try and cut calories, this would have an adverse effect on your body and your weight. First off, you are not giving your body the nutrients it needs to keep going (unless the meals are large, which would not make sense if you were trying to cut weight). Also the length of time in between each meal will cause your body to go into starvation mode. Lets say there is 8 hours between your 2 meals, your body will store whatever you eat as fat because it does not know when it will eat again. This is obviously the opposite of what you want to happen.
So to sum it up, if you eat the same things you will continue to look the same. The number of times you eat a day is determined by the goal you have in mind. What you eat at each meal is also determined by the goal in mind. Yes, you can lose weight by eating more (more times a day, but the right things). I highly recommend trying to get 4-5 meals in per day. If you are active and looking to change the shape of your body (either gain or lose weight) this is the way to do it. If you have any questions or comments on any of this please feel free to post them below.
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