Is eating every 2-3 hours a healthy practice? Turns out, eating six meals a day can be doing your body more harm than good. Let's dig deeper and find out why eating too many small meals throughout the day is most likely sabotaging your weight-loss goals.
For many years, health and fitness gurus have been preaching about the benefits of eating six meals a day. I have always been a fan of snacks, so I was all in favor of more meal times because who doesn't love FOOD?! While it is okay to eat a prepped meal between breakfast, lunch and dinner if one participates in an active job or sport; most sedentary jobs shouldn't bother with the three extra means and its more likely than not that one is defeating the fat burn.
The myth is that if we eat every few hours, our metabolisms will stay stimulated and therefore burn more calories throughout the day. This is a lie because we do not have control to our metabolisms no matter what time of day we eat, how much we eat, if we drink spicy lemonade, if we skip snack time, if we graze past 7pm, if we consume a donut... Nothing is going to slow down or speed up that sucker. Our metabolisms are unique, just like us! They are dependent on a number of things like genetics, hormones, how much muscle or fat we carry, etc.
The problem with grazing every few hours is the lack of fat burn. If we eat often, like every couple hours, our bodies will constantly be producing insulin and storing it, therefore never using our pre-existing energy stores. Studies have shown that leaving room for your body to fully digest lunch and grow hungry for dinner can be beneficial. What's more, you'll also savor it all the more and feel true gratification for that meal. :)
Do I endorse calorie restriction or starving yourself? NO! But is it a good idea to pay close attention to your body's true hunger? Yes. Mindlessly munching is an easy way to rack up unwanted calories and ruin your goals. By swapping six small meals for three well-portioned meals you will be training yourself to end the mindless snacking and use up energy stores that already exist. As for what the media is telling you: Your metabolism won't be "destroyed" or "damaged for life" or any of the other horror stories you read on social media. Those are all fear-mongering marketing tactics and are carefully plotted out... There is zero data to back these claims.
Overall, I am in favor of keeping it simple and eating three meals a day with the occasional snack. Life is too short to be meal prepping and taking breaks for food constantly. Slice up a cuke or pack a fiber power ball and be done with it. But please don't feel like your metabolism is shot if you miss that huge snack at 3:30pm. You'll be a-ok and your waistline will too!