When it comes to losing weight, the question arises of how many meals to eat for best results. And the answer is simpler than it seems, since there is no ideal number of meals valid for everyone, “the key is that the food you follow throughout the day is of quality and adapted to your needs and objectives, always accompanied by a healthy lifestyle”, explains Ana Sánchez Morillas, dietician- Diet Step nutritionist.
In recent decades, it was thought that eating five meals a day accelerated metabolism, since eating every three or four hours kept blood sugar levels stable and thus avoided possible hypoglycemia. But this theory has lost steam in recent years, since there is no scientific evidence to support that this guideline works to control hunger and fat loss.
According to the creator of Paso de Dietas, “sometimes, making a greater number of intakes per day is a good strategy for those with a very active metabolism, athletes, or even for those who suffer from stress or anxiety, with the intention of arriving at the next meal with less appetite and getting a better choice of food. For this reason, it is necessary to personalize the nutrition guideline, the number of meals that suit each person and of course, choose healthy options at all times ”.
Eating three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, for many people is more than enough, since each person has their own energy and nutritional requirements. Actually, it doesn’t matter so much how many times a day you eat, but the quality and quantity of what is eaten.
In consultation, a very common question, says Sánchez Morillas, is whether breakfast is mandatory. “There are people who just get up need to fill the energy stores and others, on the other hand, who spend a few hours to be able to eat some food. And either of the two options is valid. Delaying breakfast time is no problem, is one more meal. The important thing is to have a healthy and adequate breakfast, regardless of what time it is done ”.
Intermittent fasting for 12 to 16 hours is a strategy that is usually used in consultation, although it is not valid for everyone. The fasting period is increased during the night by bringing the dinner time forward and / or having breakfast later. “Letting our digestive system rest for a few hours brings benefits, such as improving glucose regulation, increasing insulin sensitivity, facilitating fat loss and even controlling appetite and satiety,” he emphasizes.
It is known that the timing and composition of the meal is the great synchronizer of our rhythms, and also that the alteration of circadian rhythms favors diabetes and obesity.
Maintain regular schedules and control the hours in which we make meals, can help us lose fat, since it intervenes in circadian regulation. That is, the light and dark cycles that naturally control our biological clock, and the activation or deactivation of our light-dependent hormones, which will determine the best time for us to eat or fast.
In the daylight hours the metabolism accelerates and it is advisable to consume most of the calories that are consumed In the whole of the day, and in the hours of darkness the metabolism slows down, it is a good time to stop eating and start fasting until the next day.
The current trend is not to guide a specific number of meals a day. To be successful in losing weight, it is essential that the person adhere to their eating plan so that it is easier for them to carry it out. It is not so much the number of meals that are eaten, but the total daily calorie balance and the quality of the food consumed.