Weight loss: Should you eat 3 large meals or several small meals a day?
When embarking on a weight loss diet, apart from what we eat, it’s also important to know how many times we eat and what the serving size is for each meal. Often people divide their daily diet into three main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, in recent years, more and more people are switching to more frequent and smaller meals, especially when trying to lose weight. Many celebrities are also changing their eating habits in favor of eating small, frequent meals. Let’s find out what works best!
Eating small, frequent meals can provide several benefits. Your meals at frequent intervals – such as eating every three hours – will avoid extreme hunger. You may also feel that your metabolism has improved.
Eating frequently will prevent you from overeating at the next meal, as you will not be “too hungry” at any time of the day.
Frequent meals can also help stabilize blood sugar and prevent energy dips throughout the day.
Studies suggest that increased meal frequency may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Eating little and often seems to be much more beneficial.
Researchers have also found that those who eat little and often have better cholesterol levels than those who eat less than three meals a day.
A 2019 cross-sectional study compared eating less than three meals a day to eating more than four meals a day and found that the latter increased HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
FREQUENTLY BUT SMALL HEALTHY PORTIONS
Meals that are eaten frequently but in smaller portions may be appropriate for some people and may not work for others.
The best way to figure this out is to give it a shot and see if this meal plan works for you.
A review published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice found that eating 6-10 meals throughout the day can benefit people who feel full with small amounts of food, have digestive issues, and experience bloating, nausea or vomiting.
DOES THIS EASE YOU TO LOSE WEIGHT?
While smaller, frequent meals are on trend, they may not be ideal for everyone.
On the other hand, eating three appropriate meals a day allows you to eat fewer calories and feel full longer after eating a healthy meal.
For people who are too busy to plan and prepare a lot of meals, mini-meals may not work.
On the other hand, making time for three correct meals can encourage mindful eating with a plate full of different flavors and nutrients.
The downside is that if any of these meals are processed foods with high sugar or salt content, your weight loss journey may be hindered.
Based on several conflicting studies, there is absolutely no particular eating pattern that is better than another. If your primary focus is a calorie deficit and healthy and mindful eating, both of these may work for you. Once you develop your relationship with food, you’ll understand how often you really need to eat and what’s best for you.
Maintaining a healthy eating plan that fits your lifestyle for a long time is the surest way to lose weight.