T Nation

Eating Every 2-3 Hours, Metabolism?


#1

Came across some studies that state meal frequency does not affect energy balance

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9353602&dopt=Abstract

Thoughts?


#2

There is more to eating every 2-3 hours than just metabolism, which was never really correlated well in my opinion anyway. The other reasons include controlling insulin surges (works well for diabetics), making it easier to intake high protein or calorie amounts throughout the day, and for some convenience.


#3

could you imagine dropping down to only 3 meals a day after the pleasure of eating 6-8 a day, hell no that would suck lol


#4

My appetite changed entirely when I ate 6 meals a day. I was hungry every 1.5-2 hours, but it was great. After I got poor, it took a while for my appetite to change again, much longer than it got used to eating all the time.

Also, I ate as much as I did (and will go back to eating that way when I can afford it) because it made it easier to balance out my diet rather than eating three larger meals, which would make me full and sometimes lethargic.


#5

I see.

But why do i see many fitness professionals say to never speak meals, even if you had a binge or some crap.

Even on this site i remember a while back someone wrote an article on nutrition and it said never to skip meals even if you ate like crap

if it doesn’t affect your metabolism if you skip meals, but as long as you get in total calorie intake, whats the point? Why shouldn’t you not be able to skip meals other than insulin control, getting enough protein, etc.


#6

Honestly eating every 2-3 hours is a major life-shift for most normal adults who have eaten 3 squares a day all their lives. Every day life, work, social activity are all pretty much geared to the 3 meal day.

I’d think that a drastic change would require measurable results… I’d like to see evidence that this major life-shift is worth the results?

If someone told me hey u can only sleep in 3 hours shifts now 3x a day I’d want to see a damn good reason why. If not scientific studies at least some major anecdotal evidence. Eating is definitely more flexible than sleep but still, it’s pretty major. So where is this 5-8 meal a day thing on the priority list? I think how much you eat is #1, what you eat is #2, and when you eat would be #3.


#7

i find it easier to eat smaller meals (think portable like bagel with natural peanut butter, handful of mixed nuts or a protein shake) more often then big meals.


#8

[quote]samfarkus wrote:
Honestly eating every 2-3 hours is a major life-shift for most normal adults who have eaten 3 squares a day all their lives. Every day life, work, social activity are all pretty much geared to the 3 meal day.

I’d think that a drastic change would require measurable results… I’d like to see evidence that this major life-shift is worth the results?

If someone told me hey u can only sleep in 3 hours shifts now 3x a day I’d want to see a damn good reason why. If not scientific studies at least some major anecdotal evidence. Eating is definitely more flexible than sleep but still, it’s pretty major. So where is this 5-8 meal a day thing on the priority list? I think how much you eat is #1, what you eat is #2, and when you eat would be #3.[/quote]

Breakfast
Lunch
Pre-workout meal
Post-workout meal
Dinner

5 meals…spread out every 2-4 hours. Nothing life changing or earth shattering about it.


#9

Imagine trying to eat like 5k calories in 3 meals…gl!


#10

So it is true that whether you eat 10 meals a day or 1 meal a day, that it does not affect the metabolism?


#11

[quote]Phate89 wrote:
I see.

But why do i see many fitness professionals say to never speak meals, even if you had a binge or some crap.

Even on this site i remember a while back someone wrote an article on nutrition and it said never to skip meals even if you ate like crap

if it doesn’t affect your metabolism if you skip meals, but as long as you get in total calorie intake, whats the point? Why shouldn’t you not be able to skip meals other than insulin control, getting enough protein, etc.[/quote]

Well, eating small meals every few hours balances everything out. For instance, it makes it a lot easier to eat a “high” calorie diet this way, like bmitch said. Instead of eating large meals a day to get to a certain caloric amount, by spreading out the intake over the course of the day, it doesn’t force the body to work as much, even though it’s working more frequently.

Plus, I enjoyed eating every 2-3 hours. Hell, I would even eat a peanut butter sandwich during some of my classes. It just seamed a slight bit more natural to smaller portions spread out over the course of the day.


#12

I went from eating 6 meals to eating very little during the day and eating alot at night (aka The Warrior Diet). I adjusted within a day or two and had a great amount of energy, but I couldn’t gain mass.

It was a great diet for health and energy, but not so for building mass. If one didn’t care about building muscle or increasing strength as quick as possible, then eating the Warrior Diet way isn’t bad at all.


#13

[quote]Phate89 wrote:
So it is true that whether you eat 10 meals a day or 1 meal a day, that it does not affect the metabolism?[/quote]

I think the metabolic difference between eating 3 meals and 6 meals is probably marginal and its benefits are most likely exaggerated. 3 meals with snacks is probably fine for “normal” people. However, if you’re bodybuilding and downing a lot of calories you need to split it up.

People might think this is crazy, but eating 1 meal a day actually seems more normal if you think about it. When humans evolved they probably didn’t eat everyday, because they only ate what they hunted down. Look in the wild…are lions eating every 3-4 hours? Obviously not.

That being said, I wouldn’t recommend eating 1 meal a day. Those humans had no choice. I think our bodies were built to last for a while without food. That’s why we have so many fat people everywhere. Our bodies were built to survive the wild where food is scarce and we now live in a world where you can get food from picking up a phone. That’s a formula for trouble!


#14

bmitch is right about those who have higher calorie requirements. Plus, its often touted by many of the top coaches to have nutrients spread throughout the day so that they’re more bioavailable for the body.

Plus, there’s the whole concept of meal timing and separation (P+C, P+F). If meals were separated according to those guidelines, then someone would shortchange themselves either fat (necessary for many functions) or carbs (necessary for growth and energy). The multiple meals a day give flexibility with this type of eating. Personally, I eat 7-8 times/day.


#15

[quote]Phate89 wrote:
Came across some studies that state meal frequency does not affect energy balance

he results demonstrate that the meal frequency did not influence the energy balance.

there is no evidence that weight loss on hypoenergetic regimens is altered by meal frequency.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9353602&dopt=Abstract

This longer-term study could not confirm the potential benefits of increased meal frequency

Thoughts?
[/quote]

I read a study about this.
There were two groups of people:

One group had six 200 calorie meals/day spaced out about every 3 hours.

The second group and two 600 calorie meals/day.

Results: They both lost the same amount of weight but the people who ate the six 200 calorie meals lost far less muscle mass and a hell of a lot more fat.

I apologize I have no idea where this study is but it makes sense. I think eating 6-8 times a day as opposed to 3 is beneficial when bulking but especially when cutting. It doesn’t speed up your metabolism which I’ve read in countless articles.


#16

So then how can someone with a naturally slow metabolism speed up their metabolism…? Training? HOT-ROX? More cardio?


#17

[quote]49ersFan81 wrote:
So then how can someone with a naturally slow metabolism speed up their metabolism…? Training? HOT-ROX? More cardio?
[/quote]

Exercise.

Weight training…steady state cardio…hitt…w/e


#18

[quote]49ersFan81 wrote:
So then how can someone with a naturally slow metabolism speed up their metabolism…? Training? HOT-ROX? More cardio?
[/quote]

I am very surprised that “having more muscle mass” has not occurred to you.


#19

I dont know about total metabolism. I do know that energy balance, when it comes to fatloss, needs to be regulated on a hour by hour blocks rather then by 24 hour blocks. Studies have been on this.

total Hours spent with a calorie excess and hours spent in the negative can effect your progress towards some goals.


#20

I’m surprised nobody mentioned the body alleged limited ability to process nutrients efficiently when eating “big meals”.