T Nation

Meal Frequency and Meal Size

I used to be very strict about eating every 2-3 hours which equaled to 6-7 meals/day. It happened on rare occasions that I exceeded the 3 hours but NEVER more than 4 hours. John Berardi was a strong advocate and his theories seemed to make sense.

Now, behind Thib’s support, many believe that as long as you are getting in the same amount of calories/nutrients it is just as good if not better. I have tried this methodology also of late, eating 4 big meals a day, and being very full after. I’ve had good results with both methods.

What I don’t understand about the eating 3 big meals per day theory is does all the food get digested and used as nutrients? Doesn’t the excess get stored as fat? I thought the reasoning behind Berardi and eating 6-7 meals/days is that your digestive system can only process so much food in 1 eating session which is why it is better to spread out the meals.

Please explain, I must be missing something. Thanks

uhh…from my understanding, eating several small meals a day is supposed to increase your metabolism, so you end up burning more calories a day as opposed to eating a few larger meals. Thus, you end up gaining weight when you only eat a few meals, because your body just simply isn’t burning those extra calories. I don’t really think it has to do with “excess nutrients,” but then again I’m not 100% sure.

I just stopped carring, to be honest. Only thing I’m worried about is protein intake. More than 200g per day? Excellent. More than 300? Very good. If there are some cookies on the table, or ice cream in the fridge, I don’t care, I just eat it if I want to, it all helps in upping the calories. Healthy veggies and fruit ever present.

When I feel like trimming down a bit in a few years, I’ll have to be more careful of course, but till then…

Only thing I avoid is alcohol, that makes me feel lousy and less a man.

I too have done both - successfully too.

The difference in the physique is not really noticeable in those who are anything less than stage ready IMO.

The main things are positive nitrogen balance and steady insulin secretion. Large infrequent meals will/can cause larger spikes in insulin.

However the nitrogen balance thing was mostly based on Whey - as it is being metabolised for approximately 3 hours, the idea is to consume some every 3 hours to induce a positive nitrogen balance and increase protein synthesis. it is true, it works… but of course unless on the ‘VD’ one will be using a range of proteins. if you eat 4 larger meals which constitute of slow/low GI/insulin index carbs, (fibre of course), healthy fats and a small amount of satfat, plenty of meat - you will likely be good for 4 hours
(4hours x 4meals = 16 waking hours).

However when needing to get WELL into single digits, one needs to utilise all the principles that may give a 1/2 percent one can - so it would be advised to eat very frequently - sometimes upwards of 10x a day.

JMO anyway… :wink: