How Many Meals Should You Be Eating Daily

Mia Johnson
Mia Johnson 6 Min Read

In the world of fitness and bodybuilding, there aren’t many topics that are so debated as the one about how many meals we should eat daily to build muscles and gain strength. Of course, this topic is also frequent among those who are trying to lose weight or to simply eat as healthy as possible. Let’s see what the truth really is.

Myth or truth: Frequent meals – faster metabolism

Many people who eat 5 meals a day say that it helps them speed up their metabolism and lose more weight. In other words, it will help them gain muscle and lose fat if they eat every 2-3 hours. The idea behind this is that the process of metabolism burns calories, so if we eat more often, we’ll burn more calories. Still, if you eat the same number of calories throughout the day, there won’t be differences in the metabolic speed. In other words, it won’t matter if you have 2, 4 or even 7 meals a day, as long as you eat the same number of calories.

So, if you are aiming at weight loss, don’t force yourself to have 6 meals, thinking this alone will help you lose weight. It’s better to concentrate on the overall number of calories you eat throughout the day. The way you distribute that number depends on your habits, but the number has to be lower than usual if you want to get rid of excess weight.

It’s the same result when it comes to building muscle mass – there won’t be any difference in muscle mass whether you eat 2, 4 or 6 meals a day. The only type of people with whom more research on this matter should be done are athletes who lift weights on regular basis. For everybody else, there is so significant difference in results.

So, how many meals should you eat?

As the number of meals in itself isn’t that important for faster metabolism and fat loss, the question is – how many meals a day is best for you then?

One important factor in deciding is the calorie intake. If you tend to have a lower daily calorie intake, you will probably eat a lot of unhealthy snacks to keep yourself full if you try to have 5 or 6 meals a day. Similarly, if you have a higher daily calorie intake, you will feel stuffed if you try to put all those calories into only 2 or 3 meals a day. Actually, the most important factor that influences weight loss is the number of calories you eat. Surgical procedures like gastric sleeve aim to reduce the number of calories you eat, helping you lose weight more effectively and permanently. In other words, keep in mind the number of calories when choosing the number of meals. In short, it’s back again to your habits, preferences and your lifestyle. If you take them into consideration when deciding on the number of meals, you will make the right choice.

Another way to decide on the number of meals is:  whatever will help you stick to your diet best! In other words, if you enjoy eating every 2-3 hours, then, by all means, keep doing it. It won’t speed up your metabolism, but it will help you stick to your regime. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy cutting your meals into so many smaller parts and you feel fuller after 2 or 3 bigger meals, then listen to your body and stick to what suits you. Your personal lifestyle will affect the number of meals you will eat – do whatever is more practical to you.

The last meal of the day

No matter how many meals a day you eat, there is another myth on what you should and shouldn’t eat after 6, 7 or 8 p.m. It has been said that carbs or proteins that you eat after that time in the evening don’t get processed properly and turn into fat, so you should avoid them. Well, that’s another misconception. Your body doesn’t care what time it is; it will process food the same way no matter when you eat. Again, the number of calories throughout the day is what really counts, not the time when you eat.

Final words

In essence, don’t focus on the number of meals too much. It’s better to pay attention to what you eat. The number of meals should only depend on what is practical for you as a person – that way, it will be another aid for losing weight.

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"Mia Johnson is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at the Monash University where she graduated with honors. Soon after, she went on to attend a post-graduate programme and perfected herself in the area of journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourn, she now lives in Sidney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden. As an avid reader of the Divine Magazine, she decided to contribute with an article related to healthy dieting and regular exercise. Having written multiple articles on the topic of weight loss and being a fitness junky herself, she strives to educate readers on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. To gain a deeper insight into the type articles she writes, you can visit https://www.clippings.me/miajohnson