Should I eat 5-6 smaller meals a day or should I have 2-3 big meals a day?
Answer: It all depends.
I hate to break it to you, but there is NO perfect, or one size fits all, solution to meal frequency or timing. It all depends on you—your health and fitness goals, work schedule, training/workout frequency, genetics, and overall lifestyle.
If you’re big like the Rock (above) then you might have no choice but to eat 6 meals a day. If you’re not then you’re probably just okay with 2 or 3.
We have been bombarded by the media recently that you should try and eat 5-6 small meals a day to avoid crashing, keep a steady flow of nutrients and energy into your body, while also preventing overeating, thus cutting calories to lose weight. There is 100% truth to this and it makes complete sense. However, there has been no significant evidence of 5-6 meals being better for you. It doesn’t have a significant effect in increasing metabolism, controling blood sugar levels better, or anything else you’ve heard (1, 2). At the end of the day, it comes down to calories in vs. calories out and it doesn’t matter if you have 2 or 6 a day (unless you’re the Rock, haha).
And besides the science, for some people it’s just not practical based on their work schedule and overall lifestyle. And unfortunately, it usually becomes an obsessive hindrance.
Nate Miyaki, fitness and nutrition author, makes this point in his nutrition philosophy by introducing his idea of intermittent feasting. It’s basically the same thing as intermittent fasting, but he calls it feasting (notice the positive connotation: feasting not fasting) because you have your biggest meal of the day at night, carbs and all, when most of us have time to eat. I first heard him talk about this on the Jay Ferruggia Show (love his podcast!) and it made complete sense with me because that’s exactly what I do! The biggest meal of my day is typically at night because it just fits my schedule and lifestyle. Plain and simple.
I don’t have any breakfast, and if I do have something, it’s usually something light, like fruit (strawberries or raspberries usually). I won’t discuss whether or not you should have breakfast here, that deserves a blog post on its own, but the point is, I only eat two big meals a day. That’s it! I will have one small snack, either fruit or a protein shake or bar between the two, but I’ve been doing this consistently for a couple years now and I feel great. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same.
My advice is to experiment with what works for you and what doesn’t and create a meal routine that fits your daily schedule and lifestyle. If 5-6 meals works best for you do that. If 2-3 meals works better then do that instead. Don’t let meal frequency control your life and understand it’s okay to deviate from what you’ve been doing and mix it up once in awhile. Eat when you’re hungry and that’s it. Keep it simple!
What are your thoughts? Tell me by leaving a comment down below.
As always, thanks for stopping by and please subscribe if not already. Until next time, be strong and be you!
- Gunnars, Kris. Optimal Meal Frequency–How Many Meals Should You Eat Per Day? Authority Nutrition. Retrieved from http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-meals-per-day/.
- Miyaki, Nate. Nutrition. Retrevied from http://natemiyaki.com/nutrition/.