You’ve probably heard that eating smaller meals, several times a day will stimulate your metabolism, and keep it revved to burn more calories throughout your day.
The New York Times points out that although some studies have found modest health benefits to eating smaller meals, the research usually involved extremes.
Many weight-loss books and fad diets claim six meals a day is a more realistic approach.
But will it really make a difference?
The New York Times states:
“As long as total caloric and nutrient intake stays the same, then metabolism, at the end of the day, should stay the same as well. One study that carefully demonstrated this, published in 2009 in The British Journal of Nutrition, involved groups of overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to very strict low-calorie diets and followed for eight weeks. Each subject consumed the same number of calories per day, but one group took in three meals a day and the other six.
Both groups lost significant and equivalent amounts of weight. There was no difference between them in fat loss, appetite control or measurements of hormones that signal hunger and satiety. Other studies have had similar results.”
Exercise, on the other hand, seems to effectively increase metabolism according to studies.