How often should you eat?

How many times a day should I eat?

Most of the materials devoted to weight loss, advise to eat at least 4-5 times a day, assuring that without observing this rule it is impossible to get rid of excess weight. In this case, the diet of "ordinary" people - eating 3 times a day - is automatically recognized as erroneous.

You can also often hear that the processes of "distilling food into fat" depend on the time it is taken - in the morning any calories burn, and after 6 pm even a low-calorie salad turns into fat on the stomach. That is why refusal of breakfast is equated with the main violation of the diet.

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Is it true that you need to eat often for weight loss?

Scientific studies suggest that the total caloric intake, rather than the frequency of food intake, is important for losing weight( 1).If you are prone to overeat, then with 5 meals a day you will eat more food than with a 3-time. In addition, it is important and what kind of food you eat.

Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index( sweets, sugar, flour products) quickly raise blood sugar levels - however, a decrease in this level leads to a feeling of weakness, which many people accept for hunger. This is what makes people again and again look for a sweet snack.

What time should I eat?

Despite the widespread opinion, there is no scientific evidence that eating in the morning is somehow related to the metabolic rate - a thick breakfast does not speed up metabolism and does not help to lose weight, exactly as refusing breakfast does not slow down the metabolism. Studies suggest the opposite.

Interval fasting 16/8 - a diet that involves regular refusal of breakfast and eating only from noon to 8 pm, is becoming an increasingly popular method of losing weight without controlling calories. With such a diet, the body daily starves for 16 hours.

Ability to control hunger

Most people who are overweight usually can not control their hunger. The reason lies in the violation of the hormonal balance due to chronically incorrect nutrition - the body gets used to getting "simple calories" every few hours and constantly requires a new dose.

However, even a complete refusal of food can have a noticeable effect on metabolism only after three days( 3).If you develop severe hunger 2-3 hours after eating, then you probably eat too many fast carbohydrates in the form of bread and sugar, but too little fiber in the form of vegetables.

Why do frequent meals work?

Despite the fact that science can not recommend the exact number of "useful" meals a day, in most cases frequent meals in small portions really helps to lose weight. However, the reason is often trivial and lies only in the fact that it forces you to monitor your diet.

A typical fast food meal contains up to 700-900 kcal, not fitting into the logic of a "small portion" - exactly like a pizza in front of a TV set or half a cake with a cup of tea after a dense dinner. If you really are easier to control calories in this way - no one will judge you.

How to quickly remove subcutaneous fat from the abdomen - the strategy of fat burning exercises and recommendations for nutrition.

How many times a day do I need to eat for weight gain?

Many bodybuilders are confident that no more than 30 g of protein is absorbed per meal. Despite the fact that there is some truth in this theory( an overabundance of protein in the diet really reduces the proportion of its assimilation), strictly speaking, there is no upper limit to single consumption of protein.

A more frequent diet for weight gain is recommended only because a significant amount of calories required for muscle growth is difficult to fit into three routine meals. However, as in other cases, only the amount of calories plays, and not the frequency of the food itself.

How much to eat at one meal?

If you want to lose weight, then in the day you need to eat about 1800-2000 calories - this is quite possible with three meals a day and a portion size of 600-700 calories. Ideally, each meal should consist of 20-25 g of fats( 30% of calories), 30 g of proteins and 70-80 g of correct carbohydrates.

However, a man for a set of muscle mass will need at least 2700-2900 calories per day - in this case it is really better to divide the food into 5-6 receptions. At least half of the calories should be for breakfast and lunch, and most of the carbohydrates - for food after strength training.


The frequency of food intake does not affect metabolism, does not accelerate or slow it down. With three meals a day can easily lose weight, and with a five-time meal - gain weight( which bodybuilders successfully do).Much more important is not how often you eat, but what is included in every meal.

Scientific sources:

  1. Meal frequency and energy balance, source
  2. The causal role of breakfast in the energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults, source