Little Meals, Big Boost?

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Many people have started eating six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three, hoping to boost their metabolism. Health professionals have differing opinions, making this a subject of much debate.
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According to an article from 101weightloss.com, eating 5 to 6 smaller meals daily will "definitely boost your metabolism." This is a very confident claim for a subject that hasn't been heavily studied. I noticed many magazine articles also claimed mini-meals as their secret to a faster metabolism. While they backed up their claims with some general science, they did not go into detail. Other sources had different opinions. Writer, Krisha McCoy, from Everyday Health concluded that your metabolism will be maintained no matter how many meals as long as you don't go too many hours without food and enter in starvation mode. An article on Medicinenet.com says that while there is not enough evidence to determine if there's a difference, one thing we do know is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Both of these sources said at the top that they were reviewed by health professionals.

So, while there may not be a clear answer, it seems that we can rely more on the last couple sources that say multiple smaller meals throughout the day do not boost your metabolism as some sources claim. Whether you're eating 3 meals or 6, what's important is the total number of calories consumed and making sure to start your day off with a healthy breakfast.

Sources
http://www.101weightloss.com/articles/eat-six-meals-a-day-2.htm
http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/boosting-metabolism-with-mini-meals.aspx
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56254

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Perhaps the most important factor in a person's dieting is their attitude. With a constant conscious effort to eat much differently than normal, by changing the traditional three meals a day regimen, a person might develop healthier habits. If eating become a higher priority, as it was a more frequent part of their thinking, perhaps they would be more apt to change the way in which they eat. The actual health effects of six meals rather than three might not be the diet, but simply the effect of a lifestyle change.

I would agree that the claims are bold without much actual evidence. They would need to study the effect of six meals vs. three much more to say that it will improve your metabolism. I think it could work though, but it really would be most greatly effected by the kind of food you are eating. If you eat small healthy meals, it could work just as well in six meals or three. If your diet is unhealthy, more meals would probably increase the problem. I think more studying of this would be interesting to see what the results are.

I agree that it seems like a lot of people who make statements about this have no evidence and that can confuse people. One piece of evidence that I have heard supporting the beneficial 6 meals theory is if the 3 meals are high in carbs in which case, the blood sugar will spike and then fall severely in between meals, which can result in metabolic issues. If someone is balancing their meals, there really shouldn't be a difference for your metabolism.

Perhaps people find it difficult to accept that the reason they are unhealthy, is because of themselves. So when a new diet comes out like this one, they are truly convinced that the only reason they were unhealthy to begin with is due to the fact that they typically eat three meals a day. So clearly if they switch to eating six meals a day then that will magically solve all the problems. Plus, who wouldn't want to eat more often and get healthier at the same time! It's a very appealing diet indeed. So appealing that even though there is little evidence supporting it, people are still willing to believe in it and try it out.

This diet sounds like the placebo effect to me. As we read in the first few chapters, something doesn't actually have to be legitimate for it to work for some people; because just thinking it makes your body react to it and it actually does help and make a difference. Also, there could be other factors at work that raises these people's metabolism. Between exercise and lifting weights, those could have a big effect on a person's metabolism. So all though this is an appealing idea, and may possibly work for some people, there may well be many more factors at work.

I personally believe that eating 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day is a more effective way to achieve weight loss. It gives your body the opportunity to properly digest what is being consumed, instead of it sitting in your stomach and essentially slowing your body down. However I do agree that what you eat across these various meals is what's important. Watching calories, saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol are significant for overall health. But overall, to achieve optimum weight loss a proper diet and exercise are key.

This was really interesting. I had always heard about eating multiple smaller meals being better. I guess what I like about eating bigger meals and then snacking in between is that I tend to be less hungry throughout the day, but I can understand why that wouldn't increase metabolism. The other debate I always hear about is fat vs. carbs. I've always had the opinion that balancing a diet is more important than trying to cut certain things out and that exercise is the key behind any successful diet, but I'm always interested in reading opinions one way or the other.

Many variables have to be taken into consideration before you can actually make the claim that 6 meals is better then 3. Although eating small meals less often seems to be the right idea test should be conducted over periods of times to determine what the real factors are. If someone is attempting to lose weight the simplest way that seems always to withstand any of these tests or diets is basic exercise and managing splurging on a consistent basis. Control eating habits and exercise regularly results are bound to happen maybe not as fast but it would be the safest and healthiest route.

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This page contains a single entry by besse066 published on February 5, 2012 11:53 AM.

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