T Nation

Eating 6 Times a Day. Fact or Fiction?


#1

When I was travelling recently, I noticed that my body comp improved a lot when I was eating 3/4 times a day and doing a bunch of brisk walking. For some strange reason, I was also getting incredible pumps in the gym. Now that I think about it, obsessing about eating every 3 hours never did much for me except make me gain more fat than was necessary. I'm in a strength phase right now.. and for a few weeks, I'm gonna eat bigger meals, while eating less often, and still meeting all my macro needs. At the end of the day, if intermittent fasting works, why would eating 3 times a day NOT?

What do you guys think?


#2

I am no body builder but coming from a man whose job depends on being both extremely healthy and physically fit I would say if you are eating plenty, healthy and wholesome, in three meals… why not. This particluar eating pattern might just suit you. I say go with it until you feel it’s not working for you.

When I was on mission in Liberia I was eating only two meals a day… four or more rations at a time depending on what I could get my hands on. Training hard. In less than two months I went from 84kg to 90kg and maintained it for another six months eating that way. My BF% shot up to 10-11% but nothing really noticeable; I was a bit slow in my run times but nothing too dramatic. I felt great… left and went to cold Georgia and lost it all in three.

I am not one for cookie cutter mindsets… you have got to listen to your body and do what works best for you… or tweek it until it does.

BTW: I have enjoyed reading your posts over the years; you are indeed a thinker.


#3

I agree with Ricochet (first time agreeing with an class of '09-er!) when he says that “you have to listen to your body and do what works best for you”

Give it a shot. Experimenting is the way to figure all shit out; that’s why beginners have so many questions and make so many (valuable) mistakes.


#4

the only problem i see to eating 6 times a day is the fact that we are used to eating 3 or 4 times a day when we were younger (breakfast, school lunch, dinner, maybe a snack). it’s sometimes hard to judge how full you should be after one of 6 meals.

now that i’ve said that, i’ll echo what ricochet and b-rock said. if it works, doet.


#5

give it a go, if you like it stick with it.


#6

Arguements can be made for eating 6 times a day when dieting low fat - stomach motility has inreased and as such it may help curb hunger to have a more constant influx of food. When trying to gain however, I can’t see 4 being detrimental (including workout shake[s] as a meal).


#7

these threads are getting old.

Ther eare studies showing that frequent meals are beneficial for body comp, blood profile, etc.
Yet, JMof- will come on posting about the superiority of 3 meals, yet he will say that 4 meals is good too.

Do what you want, countless people in the BBing world have had great results following more frequent feedings.

When you need 4500 cals a day, good luck doing that in 3 meals, I know I couldn’t.


#8

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
Ther eare studies showing that frequent meals are beneficial for body comp, blood profile, etc.
Yet, JMof- will come on posting about the superiority of 3 meals, yet he will say that 4 meals is good too.[/quote]

I’ve never actually seen any showing improvements in body comp, do you have them on hand?

Layne Norton has been endorsing 3 meals + shake for a long time.

I think the biggest benefit psychologically is the one that you mentioned- it’s a lot easier to fit 4000+ cals in over 6 or 7 meals rather than 3 or 4.


#9

Good job on figuring out what feels good and works for you. The concept of eating every three hours is to provide steady protein in your body. You seem to want a leaner build… Stick with few bigger meals and maybe BCAA’s in between or a casien/whey shake. Good luck. Quick hijack how was CT’s get jacked fast program for you?


#10

I recently started eating around 3 solid meals a day and a shake instead of 5 or 6 meals and prefer it greatly. My body composition also changed for the better. I initially made the change for an odd reason, the 5, though usually 6 meals a day route was sending me to the bathroom all the time. This became a problem at night, as I have always had some problems sleeping. After switching over, my sleep improved and so did my daily energy.


#11

[quote]G87 wrote:
When I was travelling recently, I noticed that my body comp improved a lot when I was eating 3/4 times a day and doing a bunch of brisk walking. For some strange reason, I was also getting incredible pumps in the gym. Now that I think about it, obsessing about eating every 3 hours never did much for me except make me gain more fat than was necessary. I’m in a strength phase right now… and for a few weeks, I’m gonna eat bigger meals, while eating less often, and still meeting all my macro needs. At the end of the day, if intermittent fasting works, why would eating 3 times a day NOT?

What do you guys think?[/quote]

The best results come from being active all day and eating very little, and that being fruit. Fruit is very easy to digest and minimizes the switching down of the sympathetic (active) nervous system and switching on of the parasympathetic (digestive) system. Workout late in the afternoon, then pig out on healthy foods.

www.warriordiet.com


#12

those that have reduced meal frequency. Did you and are you tracking calories. Perhaps the reduction in meals has decreased your overall calories, thus the improvement in body comp.


#13

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
those that have reduced meal frequency. Did you and are you tracking calories. Perhaps the reduction in meals has decreased your overall calories, thus the improvement in body comp.[/quote]

I have, and am tracking calories. I’ve been on rapid fat loss (PSMF) for 8 days now. It’s pretty extreme and there’s no way I could split up 1,100-1,600 kcal into 5-6 meals. 2-3 meals with a couple of calorie free (pickles, celery, diet pop) snacks in between. I prefere eating a 600 calorie meal twice a day to 6 200 calorie meals. Lyle McDonald has some pretty interesting stuff on meal frequency.


#14

Eating 6 meals a day will make you fat.
Eating 6x a day may or may not make you fat depending on what your eating. People never looked at the details of eating 6x a day when this method became big. Originally 2 or 3 times were equivelent of snacks, and the 3 main meals were smaller. You would have things like a shake, or an apple and orange juice, this slowly turned into six complete meals. Of course overloading on food will make you fat.

It was also an attempt to help people diet, because they would get hungry every 2 hours. But it backfired because many big people like to eat until they’re full.


#15

When eating lots of calories, frequent feedings can help. Otherwise, I’ve never experienced a difference.


#16

I like to reduce the number of meals I am eating per day in a cutting phase. While this may seem counter intuitive because small frequent meals are supposed to “fire up” your metabolism and therefore aid in fat loss, I find that dividing the total amount of food I can eat in a day by 6 results in far too little satisfaction/far too much hunger.

If I hit my numbers in 3-4 meals, I feel like I have actually eaten something after each meal. When I have gone the 6-a-day route, it has left me feeling like a pigeon nibbling on crumbs here and there and never actually getting a real meal.

I have never noticed any stalled fat loss doing this. In fact, it has always helped me to drop fat and never really noticeably hindered progress. I would imagine that, as long as you are hitting your numbers, it would not slow progress in a strength phase either.


#17

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
Yet, JMof- will come on posting about the superiority of 3 meals, yet he will say that 4 meals is good too.[/quote]

jehovasfitness, you never cease to amaze me with your incredible logic.

I’ve stated in the past that eating every 2 hours (or 6-8 meals per day) isn’t necessary for optimal results. Yet somehow you’ve managed to turn “6 meals isn’t necessary” into “3 meals is superior.”

Your inability to discern the difference between those two statements leaves me dumbfounded.

to the OP: you are correct, if you still can get in all the calories and macros you need to reach your goals, the number of meals you do it in doesn’t matter. The idea that eating more frequently “revs up the metabolism” or whatever is outdated bodybuilding nonsense.

note to jehovasfitness et al: THE ABOVE STATEMENT WAS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF EATING LESS FREQUENTLY. YOU MAY CONSUME AS MANY MEALS AS YOU SEE FIT.


#18

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
jehovasfitness wrote:
Yet, JMof- will come on posting about the superiority of 3 meals, yet he will say that 4 meals is good too.

jehovasfitness, you never cease to amaze me with your incredible logic.

.[/quote]

thanks


#19

Personally, I prefer less frequent, huge as hell meals. Yet, I’m used to force feeding. Gobbling down pounds of food is pretty easy.


#20

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Eating 6 meals a day will make you fat.
Eating 6x a day may or may not make you fat depending on what your eating. People never looked at the details of eating 6x a day when this method became big. Originally 2 or 3 times were equivelent of snacks, and the 3 main meals were smaller. You would have things like a shake, or an apple and orange juice, this slowly turned into six complete meals. Of course overloading on food will make you fat.

It was also an attempt to help people diet, because they would get hungry every 2 hours. But it backfired because many big people like to eat until they’re full.[/quote]

To binge is a natural instinct. Take advantage of it – eat very little all day, fruit only, then have 2 or 3 huge meals at night. Humanity ate like this for most of our history and we are geared for just that style of eating. Its when we eat all day that fat cells get switched on.

Society likes it if you eat all day also, as it makes people docile. Lean hungry warriors who take no shit from anyone are much harder to control than satiated people lolling about in a sleepy stupor.