T Nation

Why is 6 Meals a Day Better?


#1

Hey Guys,

I was just curious why you guys think eating 6 times a day is superior to eating 3 times a day?

Apart from the supposed metabolic benefits of eating more than 3 times a day, is it really a more efficient means of burning fat?

I heard that eating often, especially when your not hungry, can send the wrong signal to the leptin hormones (The hormones stored in fat cells, that tell your brain when and when not to burn fat), that tells your body to stop burning fat.

What are your thoughts on this?

Peace


#2

My thoughts are that your should google.


#3

It’s a proven method.
It’s been proven by millions.
It’s been proven personally.

Also, once you get used to 6 smaller meals a day and work hard… you won’t have to force yourself to eat; your brain and your body will welcome it.

As for the leptin hormone thing you mentioned… it sounds like thats what happens when you DON’T eat often enough.


#4

I find that I’m hungry every 2 1/2 hours anyway, so I haven’t ever really questioned it. I would also look at it more from a muscle prevention standpoint, rather than a fat loss one. if you’re eating 6 meals a day, then you aren’t giving your body enough time between meals to breakdown muscle for fuel.

Another thing is that eating all the protein you need to build/maintain muscle in only 3 sittings would lead to a large portion of it being synthesized into glycogen. In terms of fat loss, I’ve never really experienced any benefit to eating smaller meals more often.


#5

Eating 6 meals a day is really just more convenient in the following few ways:

  • Keeps your insulin from spiking
  • Much easier to get more food and nutrients in with 6 meals then 3
  • Much easier to have a cheat meal that wont effect you as badly as if you were eating only 3 meals
  • Both 3 and 6 meals have been used with success with people in the past and now
  • Also with 3 meals people tend to get more hungry inbetween meals and binge eat at their next meal possibly with junk food.
  • As for metabolism being elevated I haven’t seen studies that confirm this. The idea that your bodies metabolism becomes significantly higher when you eat more often is just not confirmed.

3-4 meals is ok if you aren’t trying to gain weight. However gaining weight on 3 meals is much more innuficien then 6.


#6

When start gaining some actual size you might find that you need to eat 6 or more times a day to get in enough calories and protein to fuel continued growth.


#7

cool, thanks for the input homeys:)


#8

the truth is eating 6x per day isn’t any better or worse than eating 3x per day. it all depends of personal preference. as long as the calories / macros are the same, it makes no difference.

so the question is, do you want to eat smaller meals more often, or larger meals less often?

Edit: also, that leptin thing you mentioned is bullshit, don’t worry about it.


#9

Leanest and most muscular natural dude at my gym eats 3x per day.

Just sayin’.

Do what works for you and don’t get caught up.


#10

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
the truth is eating 6x per day isn’t any better or worse than eating 3x per day. it all depends of personal preference. as long as the calories / macros are the same, it makes no difference.

so the question is, do you want to eat smaller meals more often, or larger meals less often?

[/quote]

I disagree with this for many of the reasons already stated.

To go to the extreme by your logic one could eat one meal at 3,000 cals and have the same metoblic/physical effects as 5-6 meals/day.


#11

[quote]gi2eg wrote:
Leanest and most muscular natural dude at my gym eats 3x per day.

Just sayin’.

Do what works for you and don’t get caught up.[/quote]

and your point? there are always those that defy convention yet show great results.

A guy on my staff usually skips breakfast, eats cookies for lunch along with some other crap, and is 6% BF at 165 lbs.

The fact is, that majority of people that I’ve met with over the years that have a weight to lose are; skipping breakfast, small lunch and big dinner.


#12

I’ve read conflicting information regarding many meals versus fewer meals. I have come away with the conclusion that, neither matters if your macro breakdown and total calories are insufficient, and that the biggest reason to eat 6+ times a day is because it physically enables you to ingest more food.

If you only need 3000 calories to grow, you could just as well accomplish that in 3 meals(+a shake or two)


#13

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
JMoUCF87 wrote:
the truth is eating 6x per day isn’t any better or worse than eating 3x per day. it all depends of personal preference. as long as the calories / macros are the same, it makes no difference.

so the question is, do you want to eat smaller meals more often, or larger meals less often?

I disagree with this for many of the reasons already stated.

To go to the extreme by your logic one could eat one meal at 3,000 cals and have the same metoblic/physical effects as 5-6 meals/day.

[/quote]

you are obviously ignorant of what is known as the “slippery slope fallacy”. nobody said eat 1x per day. i said eating 6x offers no advantage over 3x.

using your logic, eating 100x per day would make you totally jacked an’ swole!

try being a little less dogmatic please.


#14

Why do we need to take it to the extreme?

JMs last post sums up my thoughts exactly…


#15

Here’s one for you JMoU, What are the effects of feeling hungry? For instance, eating three meals a day but being hungry for long periods of time before eating again. On the flip side, eating every couple of hours consuming the same number of kcals, but not experiencing the feelings of hunger. How do these feelings of hunger effect what’s going on in terms of hormones?


#16

Eating 6x a is a useful strategy if you have difficulty meeting your calorie goals.

Nothing more, nothing less.


#17

[quote]JMoUCF87 wrote:
jehovasfitness wrote:
JMoUCF87 wrote:
the truth is eating 6x per day isn’t any better or worse than eating 3x per day. it all depends of personal preference. as long as the calories / macros are the same, it makes no difference.

so the question is, do you want to eat smaller meals more often, or larger meals less often?

I disagree with this for many of the reasons already stated.

To go to the extreme by your logic one could eat one meal at 3,000 cals and have the same metoblic/physical effects as 5-6 meals/day.

you are obviously ignorant of what is known as the “slippery slope fallacy”. nobody said eat 1x per day. i said eating 6x offers no advantage over 3x.

using your logic, eating 100x per day would make you totally jacked an’ swole!

try being a little less dogmatic please.[/quote]

Sorry, but your logic is flawed. What constitutes eating at 1000 x per day? at that rate you could just say the act of swallowing food is eating, as in each swallow.

I stand by my above statement, and would like you to poke a logically flaw in it.

Look, 3 times a day is a pretty good start, I’m not arguing that. But it’s clearly more beneficial for fat loss and muscle gain to eat a little more frequently than that.

Even Berardi has showed studies to prove that eating more frequently, improves cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body comp, etc.


#18

and obviously, to use your 100x per day example, there’s a point of diminishing return. But there’s clear evidence to support eating more frequently.

2 meals is better than 1, 3 better than 2, 4 better than 3, etc.

now, in extreme dieting cases where calories are severely restricted, using something such as BCAAs to fill in larger gaps without food, could be valuable.


#19

What about the notion of the change in plasma amino acid levels being even more important than the elevation itself?


#20

[quote]latenight_lifter wrote:
Here’s one for you JMoU, What are the effects of feeling hungry? For instance, eating three meals a day but being hungry for long periods of time before eating again. On the flip side, eating every couple of hours consuming the same number of kcals, but not experiencing the feelings of hunger. How do these feelings of hunger effect what’s going on in terms of hormones?

[/quote]

to the best of my knowledge, hunger hormones have nothing to do with losing/gaining fat (unless you get so hungry that you end up eating everything in sight)

besides, if you’re eating large meals, you often won’t get hungry until much later than if you eat a small, less filling meal.

you must also consider why you eat. do you eat because your body is telling you that you need to? or do you eat because “it’s been 2 hours” or “because I’m bored”?

often what we think is “hunger” has more to do with habit (“12:00, it’s time for lunch”) than it does with actual physiological feedback.