T Nation

For Fat Loss: Many Meals or Fasting?

I told someone that is trying to lose weight to eat every few hours (5-6 small meals throughout the day) because it would help to speed up their metabolism. Then I received this comment from a third party:

“No, it doesn’t, sorry. It makes absolutely zero difference in your metabolism to eat many times a day. The only good thing that it does to you is that it helps avoiding binging. In fact, studies show that fasting accelerates your metabolism, and there are whole diets, like primal, that take advantage of this.”

Have I been wrong in telling people that eating this way helps speed up your metabolism? I mean, I’ve read it in enough articles on different sites to think it does…

The general consensus is that if calories are equal then it doesn’t matter how many meals they’re spread over.

Depends on your goals. You think you can get in 200-400g of protein with at least half from whole food…from just a couple meals a day? I would have a hard time and that would be a lot to stomach. But everyone is different so what do i know lol, just my opinion.

smaller meals might help your stomach from feeling stretched then empty.

fasting periods might help blunt hunger.

Doesn’t matter much for me.

[quote]Jeff607 wrote:
I told someone that is trying to lose weight to eat every few hours (5-6 small meals throughout the day) because it would help to speed up their metabolism. Then I received this comment from a third party:

“No, it doesn’t, sorry. It makes absolutely zero difference in your metabolism to eat many times a day. The only good thing that it does to you is that it helps avoiding binging. In fact, studies show that fasting accelerates your metabolism, and there are whole diets, like primal, that take advantage of this.”

Have I been wrong in telling people that eating this way helps speed up your metabolism? I mean, I’ve read it in enough articles on different sites to think it does…[/quote]

Yes, you’ve been wrong.

The intent of more small meals is to even out blood sugar, not increase metabolism.

In the end it has to match the individuals preferences. If you told him to eat a specific amount of nutrients a day, but didn’t tell him in how many meals to consume them, he’ll naturally eat as frequent as necessary. I suggest you try that. I know for me, fasting is where its at. I feel SO much better when I do it. I think the simple fact of letting my digestive system take a break for 16 hours helps it out tremendously.

For a bodybuilder carrying a lot of mass more frequent meals give the body a steady flow of nutrients. Gives him a better chance of holding onto muscle whilst in a caloric deficit. If weight loss in any form is the goal than it wont really matter when the calories are consumed so long as nothing completely insane is done.

[quote]K-Man32 wrote:
Depends on your goals. You think you can get in 200-400g of protein with at least half from whole food…from just a couple meals a day? I would have a hard time and that would be a lot to stomach. But everyone is different so what do i know lol, just my opinion.[/quote]

I don’t think it would be that hard. In fact, when I eat fewer meals, I tend to have more total calories for the day. When I get hungry enough, I can pretty easily down 1.5 pounds of chicken breast.

[quote]Fezzik wrote:

[quote]K-Man32 wrote:
Depends on your goals. You think you can get in 200-400g of protein with at least half from whole food…from just a couple meals a day? I would have a hard time and that would be a lot to stomach. But everyone is different so what do i know lol, just my opinion.[/quote]

I don’t think it would be that hard. In fact, when I eat fewer meals, I tend to have more total calories for the day. When I get hungry enough, I can pretty easily down 1.5 pounds of chicken breast.[/quote]

Yeah it wouldn’t be, its just i have been out of protein powder for the last 2 months. So i have been shoveling food lately and i was just expressing my frustration when i posted this lol. Some days are easy some hard.

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
For a bodybuilder carrying a lot of mass more frequent meals give the body a steady flow of nutrients. Gives him a better chance of holding onto muscle whilst in a caloric deficit. If weight loss in any form is the goal than it wont really matter when the calories are consumed so long as nothing completely insane is done. [/quote]

This.

No diet where there is negative calorie balance will “accelerate metabolism.”

Do people actually understand what metabolism is?

In my experience, resting energy expenditure will drop after 3 weeks of dieting no matter what.

My understanding of the question was, “does eating the same number of calories/macro ratios each day broken up into multiple meals or less frequent larger meals create a variation in the speed of your metabolism?” The answer is no. That being said, there are pros and cons to both methods, especially depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

When I am dieting, I personally prefer less frequent, larger meals. When I am gaining, I prefer to eat more frequently to accommodate the higher number of calories.

While dieting, I like to eat 3 square meals + BCAAs in between + peri-workout +Metabolic Drive before bed. The BCAAs take the edge off of my hunger along with the obvious effect of adding aminos. This approach has worked well for me in terms of holding onto mass.