Have you heard these ‘facts’ before?
“Eating small meals is best for energy, and helps you stay less hungry”
“If you don’t eat often enough, your body will go into starvation mode and store more fat”
Are they true?
Is it better to eat smaller meals more often, or bigger meals with longer breaks between?
Definitely: not true. There are no studies to show that eating smaller meals more often leads to an improved outcome, and the calorie-sparing effects of starvation mode aren’t even a consideration until you’ve gone DAYS without eating, or kept your overall calorie intake very low constantly for MONTHS.
There are, however, studies which show that eating full meals, less frequently leads to positive effects like reduced blood sugar and a faster metabolism.
When you eat, your metabolism switches up a gear and you start to burn more calories, and it sounds like it should follow that eating more often would encourage weight loss, but in fact, eating a smaller meal leads to a smaller metabolic response, and eating a full meal leads to a larger response. Further, chemical responses in our bodies actually increase this thermic effect when meals are less frequent – so actually, eating less often speeds up our metabolism.
Our bodies react to every intake of food – big or small. Your gut, hormones and blood sugars all take some action every time you eat. Those who eat frequently have been shown to have a higher blood sugar average over the course of a day compared to people who eat less frequently.
If our body is always dealing with incoming food, there’s not much time left for things that should be happening when you’re not eating, like cellular ‘clean-ups’ where your cells get rid of waste more quickly and remain healthier.
So, if you’re a big snacker or you eat little and often, try playing around with eating 2-3 full meals a day and see how you feel. You might be surprised at how well your body responds, and how much time you save from thinking about food!
If you need some help formulating your meals to make this do-able for you, I’d be delighted to help – get in touch.