How many meals should you really eat in a day?

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, everyone seems to be an expert. So many people have an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do, and it can be difficult to know who to trust. Even things like how many meals you should eat per day spark a lot of debate, and it makes us wonder who’s right? Do you stick to the three meal structure that’s widely accepted as breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or do you add more smaller opportunities to eat throughout the day?

How many meals should you really eat in a day?

The mealtime routine

Since you were a child, you probably learned to follow a specific structure when it came to mealtimes. When you woke up in the morning, you ate breakfast, followed by lunch several hours later at midday. Then, you finished off your day with dinner sometime in the late afternoon or early evening, with the opportunity for snacks both before and after your final meal.

This is something that most people are familiar with, but apparently, it might not be the right way to live a healthy lifestyle. According to some experts, you’re better off having five or six smaller meals spread out evenly through the day to ensure your metabolism never slows down. Is that actually the case though?

Changing your metabolism

The faster your metabolism is, the likelier you are to lose weight. That’s because your body is burning off calories quicker, leaving you free to indulge in more of the sweet stuff without your waistline taking a hit. Considering how beneficial a faster metabolism is, you should surely want to do anything you can to improve it, right? While that’s true, it’s hard to say whether an increased number of smaller meals can actually achieve that.

The idea that this would work first came about because it was discovered that eating meals raises a person’s metabolism. The change was minor, but still notable enough to start a theory about how many meals we should eat. Unfortunately, research hasn’t been as conclusive as people had hoped. All they found was that the rate a person’s metabolism increased was down to how much food they consumed during a meal.

How many meals should you really eat in a day?

No concrete evidence

As a result of this, it was found that there was no difference with metabolism rates when people ate six smaller meals compared to three larger ones. Some scientists argued that fewer meals a day destabilized your blood sugar levels and put you at risk of rapid highs or lows. However, they didn’t have the evidence to back it up.

Instead, it was discovered that people who eat three larger meals a day generally have lower blood sugar levels, and are also more likely to feel satiated. Considering that reducing feelings of hunger are often crucial to avoiding weight gain, that last point is a pretty important one.

So, despite what some people had hoped, there is no significant benefit to eating more often throughout the day. While it probably won’t hurt you to have more frequent meals, you’re best off sticking to the routine you’ve always known.