How Often Should I Eat? Let’s face it, since the dawn of man the rule for consumption of food was simply to eat to survive. Well our modern society and lifestyle has changed and flipped that simple process.
Obesity rates continue to grow and will be affecting more than two-thirds of Americans in the next 5-10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So you can see the simple rule has flipped and it appears that humans survive so they can eat.
Through the years we have seen nutrition and diet science, and programs change their design about what foods best suit our needs as a society, but you don’t hear about when to eat. The question that seem to arise most often is “How Often Should I Eat?”
The most popular approach to the question of How Often Should I Eat for general health and weight maintenance has been to spread calories throughout the day by consuming 5-6 smaller meals. The concept of doing this method is that you are most likely to feel less hungry at any particular time, and in turn you will not be apt to over indulge or eat in excess.
A study found in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, shows data on this approach. It states that people who were of their ideal weight and able to maintain their weight reported eating more often than individuals who were overweight and obese.
How Often Should I Eat?
The overall hypothesis is eat small meals and snacks spread out every 3- 3 ½ hours from the time of breakfast. This proves to keep you sustained which avoids greater levels of hunger, and will limit overeating. Therefore control of caloric intake and, ultimately control of body weight.
Though we know that eating throughout the day with 5-6 smaller meals can benefit for weight maintenance, how does is measure up for weight loss.
According to a study done by Circadian Biologist Ph.D. Amandine Chaix, consuming meals 5-6 times throughout the day can aid in weight loss, but it needs to be meals that are healthy and portioned appropriately. It was found that if the foods were high-fat, sugar or highly processed that the individuals still became obese. The complete findings found that those fed in the 9-12 hour window with 5-6 smaller meals that were portioned and low in processed, high fat, and high sugar were leaner. “So, already being obese and switching to time-restricted feeding with healthier foods and portions, does create weight loss. That is powerful.” Chaix said.
The research of meal timing shows further benefits in addition to those who want to lose weight and maintain their weight, especially as it relates to the consumption of protein.
When spreading the protein consumption throughout the day in smaller doses the body is able to assimilate and use the protein for greater gains and recovery of the muscle tissue. This can help maintain muscle loss during weight loss, and through the aging process.
How Often Should I Eat?
The answer is 5-6 smaller meals per day. Spaced out every 3-3 ½ hours after the consumption of breakfast. Though you must also keep in mind that for weight loss and maintenance the number of calories at each meal and throughout the day still plays a very large role in this process.
If you are trying to lose weight, you need to consume smaller meals spread throughout the day, create a calorie deficit through portioned meals, and exercising appropriately 5-6 times per week. If you need assistance in implementing a meal plan and exercise regimen that will keep you eating throughout the day and exercising appropriately, Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix combines all of this in one package and you get a FREE Coach to help keep you on track and motivated.