3 vs. 6 meals a daily: What is better for weight loss? • illuminaija
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3 vs. 6 meals a daily: What is better for weight loss?

Endless pieces of advice are available online related to weight loss that often confuse people about the right and the wrong way to embark on a weight loss journey.

3 vs. 6 meals a daily: What is better for weight loss?

One of the most popular ones is the idea of having 3 meals and 6 meals a day.

Some people swear by having six smalls meals in a day rather than 3 square ones for effective and quick weight loss, while others just believe in the opposite.

To get a clearer picture of which is more effective, let’s dig a bit deeper into the matter to see what nutritional science has to say about these popular ways of eating for shedding kilos.

​Is six meals a day better than three?
Many nutritional experts promote the concept of six meals a day, arguing that taking small meals prevent the metabolism from slowing down and the person keeps burning fat throughout the day. However, researches carried out on the issue do not completely agree with it. Many studies indicate mixed results when it comes to the frequency of the meal and the speed of weight loss.

​Do 6 meals improve metabolic rate?
A simples answer to this question is NO. Eating smaller meals throughout the day does not increase your overall metabolic rate or help you burn more calories.

Honestly, metabolic rate is nothing but the number of calories burned by your body in a given period. Digesting meals indeed increases the metabolism a bit but the total amount of calories burned during the process depends on the amount of food you have consumed, not on the frequency. The rise in the metabolic rate is due to the thermic effect, which remains more or less the same in both types of meal planning.

​Do having frequent meals makes you feel less hungry?
Another common myth is that having 6 meals  can help to control hunger as compared to three meals. It is said that this way you would eat less unhealthy foods and stick to the diet.

However, as per a study published in the journal Obesity, having six meals in a day is not that beneficial in controlling the craving and managing the blood sugar level. Both three and six meals eating patterns have the same effect on reducing your cravings and managing the blood sugar level.

The downside of having six meals a day

Having frequent meals a day can be problematic for those suffering from eating disorders. When following six meals, one has to divide the daily total calorie count into six equal parts and consume only that many calories at a particular time. For those struggling with eating disorders, it might be difficult to stick to the calories count and they may end up eating more than usual. This would wreck their entire weight loss plan.

The verdict

There is not much difference between the two eating patterns. The outcomes are more or less the same. If you have to decide between the two, we suggest you pick the one more convenient for you. It is not necessary that the method that worked for others would work for you as well. Every individual’s weight loss journey is unique. So, stop comparing yourself and your progress with others. Focus on eating healthy, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle habit.

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