Wondering why all the hype about being told to eat 5-6 small meals a day to lose weight?
Most people base their food intake on a three meals a day routine. However, some experts say that replacing three larger meals with five or six smaller ones is more effective for anyone trying to lose weight. While this may fly in the face of accepted wisdom, there are sound reasons why eating smaller portions, but more often, makes sense. Here's why you should eat 5-6 small meals a day to lose weight.
1. Appetite Control
How often do you end up snacking between meals because you're hungry? When you eat 5-6 small meals a day to lose weight, you avoid the hunger pangs that encourage you to grab a quick unhealthy snack. Stick to unrefined carbs like brown rice, vegetables, and lean protein, and you'll be taking in a steady supply of energy. Miss out on meals, a typical dieting tactic, and you'll be so hungry that you'll binge on chocolate or crisps. The end result is that you actually consume more calories, fail to lose weight, become disheartened, and snack even more.
2. Maintain Energy Levels
We often grab sugary snacks to keep us going until lunch or dinner. In many cases, we need this boost because breakfast or lunch was also full of refined carbs or sugar. It's a vicious circle, and bad for your energy levels, which are constantly up and down. Eating small meals five or six times throughout the day helps you avoid this cycle, and releases a constant supply of energy that will prevent you from needing to snack.
Eating a big meal is equally unhelpful to your system because it uses up a lot of energy for digestion. This is why we often feel sleepy after a heavy lunch. Again, smaller but more frequent meals help you avoid this tiredness, which we often respond to with yet more sugary snacks in an attempt to bring our energy levels up again.
3. Increased Metabolism
A typical mistake made by unsuccessful dieters is to skip meals, or spread them as far apart as possible. This is bad news for your metabolism, which thinks you're starving and slows down to maintain your energy. Eating throughout the day, including when you get up and before going to bed, will help you avoid starvation mode, but remember that it must be small portions.
4. Balance Your Hormones
The hormonal system is complex, with several of them being connected with hunger and metabolism. We've all heard of insulin, usually in connection with diabetes. But it's also involved with weight loss. Eating less often causes insulin to rise quickly when we eat. This not only causes fat storage, but the subsequent crash makes us want sugary food. A less well-known hormone is ghrelin. Going a long time without food increases the production of ghrelin and makes people hungry. No hope of weight loss if all this happens.
5. Better Digestion
The body doesn't like to digest huge meals, so a regular intake of smaller portions allows your digestive system to function better and absorb more nutrients. This approach can be especially beneficial to anyone with digestive problems.
If you find dieting a struggle because you are hungry too often or enjoy snacking, why not give this regimen a try. Just remember – success is in portion control.