Should you eat 3 meals vs 6 meals a day for weight Loss? For most of the population, eating more small meals is better for weight loss. Generally their meal plan consists of a small breakfast, lunch and dinner with a healthy snack in the morning, afternoon and evening.
However in a select group of individuals, those with Type 2 diabetes, the opposite has proved to be more beneficial for weight loss; eating a large breakfast and lunch. In a study presented by the American Diabetes Association, they found participants lost an average of 1.23 more BMI points when they ate two 750-calorie meals as the control group did eating six 250-calorie ones.
Granted that was in a controlled setting. For most of us, the two-meal-a-day program would not work. We tend to get too hungry between the lunch of one day and breakfast the following day.
The result, overeating leads to weight gain. Eating five or six smaller meals and snacks throughout the day keeps the hunger wolves at bay and keeps our metabolism humming along at a fairly constant rate thus keeping cravings in check.
Studies have proven that a consistent eating pattern day-in and day-out provides for the most weight loss. Eating breakfast within one hour of getting up, eating every three hours and stopping three hours before bedtime provides the following benefits:
- Increased basal metabolic rate (BMR): Your body always has food to burn so your metabolism always works hard.
- More energy: With a somewhat constant food level, your body always has plenty of food to make into energy.
- Decreased appetite: By eating every three hours, you don’t get hungry and end up eating foods that are not good for you.
One mistake many trying to lose weight make is skipping breakfast. That is one of the worst things you can do as far as metabolic function. Eating a good healthy breakfast consisting of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, gets your metabolism revved up and running all day.
When you don’t eat breakfast, your body can go into “starvation mode”, actually burn food at a slower rate because it thinks there isn’t any more food coming soon; it tries to make the best of what it has. Eating breakfast wakes it up.
The key to this six-meal method of course is calorie/portion control. Uncontrollable eating leads to weight gain whether you eat three or six meals per day.
Only you can ultimately find how many calories your body needs per day to lose a sensible amount of weight per week (1 to 2 pounds) based on your BMR and exercise level.