The topic of the frequency of meals and the amount of food in each menu is among the most discussed in nutrition in recent times. Whether it is better to eat more often and in smaller portions, or less often, but with a satisfying amount of food - the answer to the question is still debatable. Such are the data from the conducted research on the topic. Therefore, the question of the recommended number of meals during the day is still open.
According to many nutritionists, the notion that eating more often with smaller portions is more beneficial turns out to be rather wrong.
It is true that after a meal there is a short period with acceleration of metabolism, referred to as the thermal effect of food.. But frequent eating can in no way guarantee that we will maintain an optimally active metabolism. It turns out that how successfully we will process food from one meal depends mainly on its quantity, not on the frequency with which we eat it. Even if we eat a small amount in one meal, frequent sitting at the table can lead to a larger amount of total food intake per day than when we eat only 3 times a day. Experts supplement this information with a simple example: 3 meals of 800 kcal each will have the same thermal effect on metabolism as 6 meals of only 400 calories. In this case, more frequent but lighter meals will in no way lead to a more successful reduction in total caloric intake and, accordingly, will not have a positive effect on weight loss.
Another aspect in which the recommendation for the benefits of frequent but light eating turns out to be untenable is the effect on blood sugar . The notion that eating less often helps stabilize blood sugar levels is incorrect. According to experts, there is no scientific evidence for the correctness of this view. Moreover, the exact opposite effect is more likely to be observed.
Studies show that people who eat less often, but with larger amounts of food in one menu, maintain lower blood sugar levels during the day. They show sharper rises in blood glucose after a meal, but on average their levels are kept lower between meals than in people who eat more often, albeit with lighter foods. Maintaining high blood sugar for a longer period of time has a more negative effect on health, rather than temporarily raising it at certain times of the day.
As another reason for less frequent but more abundant nutrition, experts point to another of their observations. People who eat less often with a richer menu are more effective in satisfying their hunger and are less likely to become seriously hungry before their next meal. Frequent starvation in people who eat smaller portions often leads to the intake of unnecessarily many calories in one of the daily meals.
In conclusion, an important scheme can be indicated, ensuring that we will provide our body with as many calories as it needs and we will not risk gaining excess weight :
- When you are hungry, eat, but slowly;
- When you are full, stop;
- Repeat this sequence according to your level of hunger and satiety, regardless of the frequency of repetitions;
Scientists point out that if optimal physical activity is maintained, this scheme will not only not lead to negative consequences for weight, but will also help reduce and maintain it.