We've been told time after time that we need to eat 5, even 6 meals per day and if we don't our metabolism will slow to a crawl. We need to stoke the ol' metabolic fire by feeding the furnace at exact hourly intervals.
You've been lied to, you don't need to eat 6 meals per day if you don't want to. You can eat that many meals if that is how you enjoy eating, but don't just do it because you think you're supposed to.
When you eat multiple small meals per day you're likely to be left hungry and unsatisfied every time you eat. And the more times you eat the more times you have the opportunity to overeat.
Also, think about the amount of time it takes out of your day to eat these meals. Not to mention the time it takes to prepare them. You're a busy person and you don't have time to be preparing meals all day. So what do you do? You end up eating some pre packaged/processed junk.
If you want you can switch to less meals per day. Less meals means that you get to eat bigger meals even while eating the same calories per day. I know what you're thinking, "I don't want my metabolism to slow down by reducing my number of meals."
You're in luck, research shows that eating more frequently does not actually raise your metabolism, there is no relationship between meal frequency and metabolic rate. Furthermore, it’s important to note that while more people are eating multiple meals per day obesity rates are still rising.
A research by the University of Ottawa concluded that “There’s nothing out there to convince us that eating several small meals a day (5-6 meals) will help lose weight.” This is because of the thermic effect of food or TEF.
TEF is the process that your body goes through when you eat. Any time that you eat your metabolism rises. BUT it rises proportionally to the amount of food you eat, not due to the amount of meals. So if you eat a 300 calorie meal it will raise a certain amount. Eating 600 calories would raise it double that amount.
What matters is the total amount of calories you eat per day. If the total amount of calories you eat in a day is equal it doesn't matter how many meals you eat. I repeat it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat.
So why have you been lied to? The breakfast and processed food industry has a vested interest in you eating more often. You don’t have time to prepare healthy whole foods for 6 meals a day, so if you are supposed to eat 6 meals a day you’re likely gonna need some pre packaged and ready to go foods. So the food industry funds research projects that will come to the conclusion that you need to eat more frequently.
Don’t let the food industry tell you how many meals to eat in a day. Eat as many meals as you want and base your decision on the amount of meals you like to eat and the amount of healthy meals you have time to prepare per day.