Since the first time I got introduced to a “bodybuilding” meal plan. I was told 5-6 meals a day is how you should eat, because it “speeds” up your metabolism. And thats what Ive read and heard pretty much everywhere since. And I have always tried to eat this way. People have been saying to me; “How can you eat that much?” “Isn’t it exhausting eating all the time?” “I could never bring food with me everywhere.” And so on. I normally responded with “its not for everyone” or “well if you want it enough you do it”. Simple as that. I do still live by those words. But after been reading and researching a bit lately, I have sat a question mark to the typical “6 meals a day plan”. Does it really speed up the metabolism? And is it really optimal or even necessary?
When I first came across articles telling me you do not need to consume your calories over 6 meals a day, was when I was reading about “Intermittent fasting”. Which is when you have a time period you eat and when you dont. Normally a 16:8 or a 14:10 ratio. 16 hrs fast and 8 hrs feed. Or there are many other ways you can do it. And also different types of fasting. But we can get into that another time.
However, reading these articles about IF was telling me it does not matter if you eat your daily calories over 2-3 or 6 meals. Some even say you can consume it in one sitting, but do not think many people would be able to eat 2000 -/+ kcal in one meal(Which I do not think is a good thing to do anyway). As we are not saying eat whatever you want here, still consuming nutritious whole foods are important. Also note 2000 kcal of chicken and broccoli is significant more in volume than a pizza.
Anyway, doing some further research I found some studies that slams the frequent feeding off the horse:
In one study they had two test groups, one consuming 6 meals a day and the other 3 meals a day. What they found that there were no difference in fat oxidation for the two test groups. But what they did find was that the subjects eating 6 meals per day, felt more hunger and less satisfied and would have a desire to eat more = more energy consumed = weight gain right?
In another study the two test subject groups where again eating 6 or 3 meals a day, with the same amount of calories consumed. This was tested on obese men and women, both groups lost weight, but there was no indication saying the high meal frequency speeded up the metabolism.
So why are we still being told to eat 6 meals per day? If anyone does have the answer to this, I would love to hear about it, or have any newer studies that disproves this.