Weight Loss Benefits of Eating Multiple Small Meals

There's great debate within the weight loss community regarding the weight loss benefits of eating multiple small meals. By eating small meals every 3 hours, a dieter avoids overeating during the three "regular size" meals. On the other hand, choosing to eat multiple small meals each day requires a great amount of self-control. Choosing to control caloric intake must be carefully planned with the help of your doctor or a reputable source of information. Balancing nutrients and calories helps you keep your strength up and retain good health while still losing weight.

  1. The Basics of Weight Loss

    • There are valuable benefits to eating multiple small meals each day. Increased metabolism, increased energy and spreading out calories over the course of the day can benefit a committed dieter. However, there is a basic premise to weight loss that never changes regardless of the diet. To lose weight, a person must eat fewer calories than are burned each day. Ramping up the body with frequent exercise and plenty of water will help. Consuming more frequent meals with a methodic plan to prevent overeating can help you feel better throughout the day and increase awareness of proper diet and nutrition. Weight loss with any dieting plan should always incorporate plenty of water as well as regular exercise.


    • The original train of thought was that more frequent eating boosted the metabolism by providing an energy source at regular intervals during the day. Skipping a meal sends the body into a preservation mode that slows down burning the excess fat stores of the body. A frequent energy source (in the form of multiple small meals) requires the body to rev up to process the foods using a process called the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food refers to the body's expenditure of energy to chew, swallow and process foods. Proteins require the most work to break down and fats burn the least amount of energy. The body's processes are kept at a more even keel, without the blood sugar spikes associated with hunger. This balance equalizes the body and allows for consistent efficient function for everything, including metabolism.

    Meal Frequency

    • By choosing to have five to six small meals each day, you're teaching your body to never be hungry. You won't have the blood sugar swings caused by hunger, nor will you experience the cravings that can derail even the most carefully planned diet. Eating more frequent meals also spaces out caloric intake over the course of the day. Eating more frequent meals requires more discipline than consuming three regular meals each day. You must carefully control portions to prevent overeating and space meal intake at even intervals throughout the day to avoid snacking. Some individuals find that using smaller plates and keeping a concise food journal helps monitor the foods eaten throughout the day.

    Portion Control and Balanced Diet

    • Weight loss with any dieting or plan will never happen without portion control. Overeating at three meals each day often places people in the obese category. Overeating at five to six meals will create a dieter's worst nightmare. Your aim is to split calorie consumption evenly throughout the day. Meals should be well thought out and balanced with adequate amounts of nutrients. Throw out the sodas and chips. Include a mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fat with every meal. For example, instead of consuming an entire turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch, only eat half and include a favorite fruit. Save the other half of the sandwich for your next meal three hours later, incorporating another snack-type food with this meal. Some good choices are cottage cheese, applesauce or some crunchy vegetables such as carrots or celery.


    • Choosing to consume three large meals a day in favor of more frequent smaller meals doesn't eliminate the need for snacks. Snacks have a different meaning using this meal plan. Snacks should ultimately be a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Snacks aren't a single item when eating smaller meals. Instead, a snack should be a combination of two to three healthy foods in moderate portions that will fill your up for the next three hours. For example, a healthy snack might include a bowl of oatmeal and an apple. Pair healthy foods like whole-wheat crackers with applesauce, and fruits and vegetables with nuts and seeds for proteins.

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