How many times to eat a day is something that most people are carrying out a weight loss process.
One of the most frequent rumors you often hear is that eating five times a day or more is the number one rule for losing weight.
One of the fundamentals is that eating five times a day helps change your basal metabolic rate. However, this is not entirely true.
This article aims to compare how many times to eat a day; and conclude if eating 5 or 3 times a day has a real impact on losing weight.
Eat 5 Times A Day – Yes Or No To Lose Weight?
When the goal is to lose weight, eating five times a day could help you. But not for a metabolism issue or other reasons.
Most studies advise eating at least 4-5 times a day to lose weight for satiety. (3,4) To lose weight, it is better to focus on the quality of your meals and not on the number of times you have to eat per day.
Losing weight by eating three times a day is possible. However, the feeling of hunger or anxiety about food, in this case, is usually more excellent.
On the other hand, it is not true that eating five times a day accelerates the basal metabolism. This is one of the myths that various studies have disproved.
Is it better to eat five times a day or 3?
Research states that changes and irregular patterns in the number of meals eaten per day can be a long-term cause of overweight or obesity. (3,4,5)
In other words, to lose weight, you can eat both 5 or 3 times a day. The important thing is to keep this amount constant.
The total intake of calories per day is much more important than counting the number of times they are eaten (1).
If you choose to eat five times a day, it is more important to minimize your portions. If you eat five times a day but more, you can almost double the calories.
Avoiding simple carbohydrates is more important than eating 5 or 3 times a day.
One of the critical points to losing weight is knowing how to select the type of food you eat correctly.
The simple carbohydrates – sugar, honey, sweets cause increased hunger. This will make you eat more times per day without thinking.
Replace sugar with foods rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates: vegetables, whole wheat flour, legumes, and cereals are foods that cause a more excellent sensation of fullness in the long term. If you eat both 3 and 5 times a day, including these foods is essential to reduce the feeling of hunger.
Eating more for breakfast does not help you lose weight.
While the importance of breakfast cannot be denied, eating more for breakfast will not help you lose weight.
It is common to believe that eating more in the morning is better to eat more because all the calories are going to be burned. Like after six o’clock in the afternoon, even a low-calorie salad will cause weight gain.
Based on this rule, breakfast should be the most important meal of the day, and; eliminating it from the diet is a cardinal sin. However, research shows that this is not the case.
In a study where two groups of people ate the same amount of calories, one more at night and one more in the morning had similar results on body weight.
In short, if you are looking to achieve an ideal weight, forget about eating more for breakfast or eating more times per day.
Intermittent fasting for weight loss
There are methods such as intermittent fasting, where breakfast is avoided and meals are avoided.
The intermittent fasting strategy is to eat the same number of times a day but for a short period. In this case, the number of times you have to eat in the day is not reduced, but the schedules are modified.
There are several types of fasting; a beginner is recommended to eat about four times a day. These methods are effective for losing weight and have other benefits as well.
Eating five times is not the most important thing to losing weight.
Science does not confirm that eating five times a day greatly influences losing weight. (1,4,5,6)
If it’s easier for you to eat five times a day and control your calories this way, consider this option. But it is not a key factor.
Eat five times a day frozen pizzas or chocolate cakes several times a day; it is not the best weight loss strategy. Suppose you are looking for good results. The ideal is to combine a healthy diet with exercise. Regulating the number of total calories eaten in the day is essential.
How many times a day should I eat if I exercise?
If you do any sports activity, it is essential to regulate the hours of the day when you eat to achieve a correct contribution of energy in each training.
It is advisable to eat carbohydrates and proteins at least 1 hour before and immediately after training to increase muscle mass.
When the goal is to lose weight, it is recommended not to eat large amounts of carbohydrates an hour before training. When exercising, the body will first use the energy from carbohydrates.
When these are finished, it will begin to use the fat reserves. If we save the first step, the results in losing weight will be enhanced.
Note: this method must be carried out accompanied by a sports professional. Otherwise, there is a risk of hypoglycemia, dizziness, or fainting.
- Studies claim that eating 3 or 5 times a day and losing weight is possible.
- The important thing about losing weight is the number of times you eat per day and the quality of the food, and creating a caloric deficit.
- Eating five times a day can help relieve hunger pangs.
- Avoiding excess sugar is essential to prevent the number of times and calories eaten per day.
- Breakfast should be one more meal, and you should not eat more at this time if you want to lose weight.