Does eating more often a day lose weight more? Well, in nutrition the control of body weight is based on energy balance. Specifically, when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure, excess energy is stored, mainly as triglycerides in adipose tissue. On the other hand, a change in energy balance favoring the expense over intake results in loss of body mass.
In addition, several nutritional factors can affect energy storage or expenditure. One of these mitigating factors, theorized by some researchers and professionals, is the frequency of meals. The hypothesis has been raised that eating small and frequent meals increases fat loss.
Purported benefits of increased food frequency
Some researchers theorize that the relationship between food frequency and adiposity are inversely proportional. Potential benefit mechanisms of a higher dietary frequency include better appetite control, improved glucose homeostasis, and increased thermal effect of food.
In addition to having potential applications for functional capacity, there is speculation an increase or improvement in lean mass maintenance, which would possibly help in weight control due to improvements in resting metabolic rate.
The study on eating more often a day loses more weight
As much as the effects of a higher dietary frequency seem to be promising, randomized clinical trials on the subject are very controversial. The small number of individuals in the studies and the low statistical power may be responsible for these contradictory findings.
With this, a meta-analysis was made to elucidate these effects of food frequency. An article entitled “
Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: meta-analysis
” aimed to evaluate data from the scientific literature regarding food frequency and its effects in relation to changes in muscle mass and fat mass.
The study included 15 randomized clinical trials, finding frequencies of ≤ 3 meals per day compared to ≥ 3 meals per day, with assessments of body composition before and after the study.
In conclusion, the meta-analysis showed that there is a positive relationship between the number of meals consumed and improvements in body composition. The conclusion was attributed due to the results of a single study, and when this study was removed from the analysis, the impact of meal frequency on body composition was not significant.
The results of this meta-analysis showed that the impact of food frequency was not significant in changes in body composition.
In view of this, the most important factors for changes in body composition are the individual’s adhering to dietary prescription and tota energy balancel. With this, the number of daily meals consumed should be a choice based on the particularities of the individual evaluated.
SCHOENFELD, B. Jon; ARAGON, Albert A. KRIEGER, J. W. Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis. Nutrition Reviews, [S .L.], v. 73, n. 2, p. 69-82, Jan. 14. 2015. Available in: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuu017