Meal Frequency – Stop stressing about it

by Apr 23, 2019Blog, Nutrition

There are coaches that still peddle the message that eating 6 meals per day will increase your metabolism and if you don’t eat regularly your metabolism will crash.

This dogma has been around for as long as I have been coaching but in my view has been completely debunked by a huge number of studies.

I think it might arise as a large number of PT’s are either competitive body builders or adopt a similar approach to body builders in their own nutrition.

As PT’s we need to realise that some clients might want to look like bodybuilders but often clients simply aren’t interested in achieving a 5% body fat physique and are more interested in a diet that works for them around a busy schedule.

One study by Stote (2007) took a group of normal weight adults 40-50 years through 2×8 weeks of dieting, their calories were calculated to achieve between 1,900 kcal and 2,100 kcal.

69 subjects were split into two groups (in a randomized crossover trial for those of you nerdy enough to care).

One group ate 3 meals per day and one group ate 1 meal per day.

The 1 meal per day gang had:

  • More hunger (obvs)
  • Significant decrease in body fat above 3 meals per day
  • Decreased cortisol
  • No change in resting heart rate, body temperature, and blood markers

Would I advise my PT clients to eat 1 meal per day?

Speaking personally for most of my clients, eating 1 meal per day would make it difficult to eat enough nutrients; fibre and protein particularly, so I wouldn’t advise it but it can be successful.

The “It’ll crash your metabolism” peeps might be interested in one example where a 27 year old male fasted under supervision for 382 days. With a starting weight of 206 KG he lost 125kg to reach just under 82kg.

5 years on from the study he weighs 89kg.

Metabolically broken he is not 😉

The take away point for you is that how many meals you have isn’t the factor to focus on. It’s a superfluous, achieving a caloric deficit for long enough to the lose the extra weight you have is the only thing you need to worry about.

With that knowledge seek out the support you need and find an approach you can stick to.

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