T Nation

Meal frequency

Two opinions

      "How regularly you eat doesn't matter"

–> CT himself mentioned that the traditional ‘6 meals per day’ is not necessary - total macro nutrients per day count and eating every few hours is not needed
–> Ori Hofmekler states the same things and advocates only one meal per day in his ‘warrior diet’ (http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/the_warrior_diet_an_interview_with_penthouse_editor_ori_hofmekler)

           "Small(er) and more frequent meals are better"

–> Dr. Clay Hyght says the opposite to CT in his ebook ‘set your metabolism on fire’. He uses sumo wrestlers as an example; they eat but once per day and the body spills the excess food over into fat stores.
–> Nearly every other coach out there advocates regular meals as well

Anyone have any opinions? I’d love to believe I can eat four times a day rather than six times, but its not easy when so many people preach regular meals.

I do not agree that one meal a day is optimal for body composition - as this WILL cause an excess of insulin and blood glucose, and DOES set off the ‘starvation’ hormones.

I have seen it time and time again.

However i know that 6-10 meals is not necessary to get to the upper single digit BF (whether it is beneficial when getting to 3% is yet to be determined by myself) - although it is necessary to make sure one has boosts in blood/amino levels at regular intervals in the day.

From a recent conversation with BBB, and preceding my reading of the para workout protocol utilising hyperaminoacidemia - it seems that the anabolic effect of a high blood amino level is not from a steady state (as previously thought and a large factor in frequent dosing of protein) but from rises in the level - from lower to higher. This would need less frequent and highly bioavailable dosing - HOWEVER insulin still needs to be regulated, so either a low carb diet is used or a glucose/insulin controlled diet is - with more frequent meals (of CHO at least).

personally find that 6+ ‘meals’ is NOT necessary to great results - but i am yet to see 3% as well as to try to modulate my HA level differently - so will be able to comment a little more indepth then.


Try them both and see, but there’s lots of scientific evidence not to hand which states that you don’t need to eat regular meals. I follow my own rules its what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. I just don’t think I could have my amount of cals i need in less than 5 meals.

ALthough Lyle McdDonald will state that you only need 3-4 meals (not even) as long as the calories are there, I like to think that bioavailablility of nurtrients are higher when meals are separated. I agree iwth brook about the body composition comment and lets be honest. Are you willing to eat 4-5k a day in two meals based primarily out of “clean” food (yes, I realize that might start another debate; that’s why I used quotes).

DC along with many who have followed JB’s advice from Massive Eating find the nutrient separation to be effective (I think Vegita just had a recent thread on this) and that’s only possible with many meals. If you are dieting, then 4x is fine. Heck, if you’re building and don’t care as much about body comp, then 4x is fine, albeit difficult.

I’m of the smaller, more frequent meals. As my daily total end up around 4700-5000cal spread across 7-8 meals. Yay dining hall.

Thanks for the responses.
Anyone else with even anecdotal evidence regarding fewer meals a day having no negative outcome on body composition would be interesting. Of course, four meals a day is very doable for pretty much everyone, however its the 6-8 meals a day that I struggle with during the working week (4500cal/d)

I was eating two to three meals a day and changed to four to six meals a day. Nothing else was changed and I saw a change for the positive in my body composition. Ever since I have had a goal of at least four meals but shoot for five to six.


If you can eat 3500-4000 clean calories in a single sitting you’re much more of a man then I am.