Currently, many recommendations focus on eating small but frequent meals a day (6+), stating that it is the optimum to speed up the metabolism. But, is any of this true?
Not a thing, since the expenditure of digesting food depends on the calories you consume regardless of the meals you eat.
Now, let’s take a look:
What do studies say? 🤓
Studies with the same caloric intake, in which few meals are compared with frequent meals, show no differences in either metabolic rate or loss of body fat.
But, “doesn’t eating more often reduce cravings?”
No, it doesn’t.
Some studies even show that eating large meals can improve satiety and appetite control. This could be explained (among possible other causes) by a higher and sustained increase in leptin…
Meet Leptin 👋🏼
- Leptin is a hormone that is produced by your body’s fat cells.
- It is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone.”
- Leptin’s primary target is in the brain — particularly an area called the hypothalamus.
- Leptin is supposed to tell your brain that — when you have enough fat stored — you don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate.
- It also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity and brain function.
However, leptin’s main role is long-term regulation of energy, including the number of calories you eat and expend, as well as how much fat you store in your body.
The leptin system evolved to keep humans from starving or overeating, both of which would have made you less likely to survive in the natural environment.
Today, leptin is very effective at keeping us from starving. But something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating…
What about fasting? ⏱
Even short periods of fasting (intermittent fasting) can have benefits at the metabolic level, such as increased insulin sensitivity, decreased blood glucose or improved immune system.
But, what happens if you are one of these people? ⬇️
“I can’t go without eating for more than 3 hours”
The answer to this is that your body adapts to the number of meals you eat and prepares for the next meal. If you decrease the frequency, you’ll probably need some time to regulate your hunger-satiety cycle. So, just keep going and be patient.
What is recommended then?
Ideally, the meals should be adapted to your lifestyle and not vice versa, making only those that you consider necessary.
And, of course, simply listen to your body; it will tell you when it’s time to eat!