Healthy Eating: Should you have 6 Meals or 3 Meals a Day for Weight Loss?
Healthy eating and healthy living revolves around having sufficient food (read: a balanced diet!). But how many meals should you have per day? Healthy eating is a key component of weight loss and muscle building for those who want to maintain a healthy weight. Our strength and conditioning expert, Arnav Sarkar lays out the benefits of three meals versus six meals. He also tells you when you should have three meals and six meals for optimal health benefits.
As per popular belief “going more than three hours without eating anything would lead to a drop in energy levels, loss of lean muscle tissue, increased fat storing, etc,” says Arnav. Hence it was always important to eat every three hours. So, three good meals in a day is a good option since fasting experts reveal that six meals is responsible for body fat and poor hormones.
“One of the major claims for three meals a day being better for fat loss is that it helps to keep insulin and blood sugar levels low and thus bodyfat is lower. In my personal opinion, however, this is where most people make a major mistake. They do not take the total caloric intake into calculation,” explains Arnav.
Arnav Sarkar elaborates the benefits of eating 3 meals a day:
Easy to follow in the long term - All offices, schools and colleges give people time to have breakfast, lunch and dinner — meals that you can eat at home. There are also those who do not feel like eating first thing in the morning, and generally do not feel like eating till lunch. If this is the case, then do keep in mind that breakfast does not have be eaten immediately upon waking up. You can eat your breakfast even a couple of hours after waking up. So no need to miss breakfast altogether.
Allows you to eat bigger meals - This is where six meals a day becomes a problem for those who love to eat big and are trying to lose weight. Six small meals never make one mentally feel like they have eaten a meal, they always feel that they are snacking, and thus mentally are always craving for a meal.
Teaches you to control hunger better - In most cases, eating six times a day tends to make one eat more, since they tend to mentally crave food every 2-3 hours whether they are actually hungry or not. So when they decide to eat only three times a day, they slowly start to control their hunger better as they now go longer without food and develop better mental control.
Arnav Sarkar elaborates the benefits of eating 6 meals a day:
Ideal for eating a lot of calories - If you need to eat a lot of calories to gain weight or because you are an athlete who burns a lot of calories, then frequent meals is ideal for you.
Great to follow when trying to consume high amounts of protein - Our bodies were not designed to be able to digest 70-80 gms or more of protein in one meal easily. It’s always best for most people to keep protein to about 15-40 gms at each serving, and maybe a bit more for really big guys who exercise a lot.
Great to follow when trying to consume large amounts of carbs.
Helps avoid drops in energy/sugar levels - Some people truly cannot go on for more than 3-4 hours without eating anything and still be able to perform well. For these people, smaller frequent servings work well and help to keep their energy/sugar levels stable.
Arnav has chalked out and elaborated the importance of three meals and six meals; it is up to you to decide what are your needs and which meal will supplement it.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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