I’ve always wondered how many times I should eat a day to lose weight? When you are looking to lose weight, you should focus on taking care of the quantity and quality of what you are eating and the number of times you are eating.
Most people should eat at least three times a day; if you lead a very active life, you can make up to 6 small meals. That can keep them full and reduce your appetite. It will be of great help if you want to lose weight. If you eat fewer meals, you run the risk of binge eating and unhealthy food choices.
This article will explain how many meals you should eat a day to lose weight fast, if it is 3 or 5 meals a day, and we will clear up the truth of those myths about losing weight.
There is no scientific evidence to prove that eating more meals helps you lose weight. The number of meals will depend on each person because they have factors that determine the intake if they do physical activity, how their hormones, and the balance between what you eat and what you spend.
If you want to reduce your body fat, choose to fast intermittently to lose weight. There is no specific number of meals, but it is a combination of a healthy diet and physical activity.
How many meals should you eat to lose weight quickly?
It is a fact that when you consume a more significant number of daily meals, there is better regulation of energy intake each day. That translates into an important aspect that favors weight loss.
When it comes to knowing how many meals you are going to consume daily, the vital thing will be to find the exact number that will allow you to feel good, not be hungry, gain health, and of course, lose weight. Keep in mind that you will also achieve this through other factors such as age, physical constitution, and rhythm of life.
Five meals a day
During the last years, every nutritionist in the world recommended consuming five meals a day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner. This rhythm will help you lose weight, because between meals, there is not so much time, and therefore you will not be so hungry.
However, if you are firm in eating your five daily meals, but you do not adapt to the allowed amounts or healthy foods, you will get overloaded with the digestive system and getting fat.
The explanation for eating five times a day is that if you eat in moderation for more times during the day:
- Your metabolism accelerates by spending more hours digesting food, and therefore your body will be working.
- Your body will not suffer from hunger, which is why our bodies store fat, and you will not consume the right amount of food because of desire.
Therefore, eating five times a day will help you control your appetite, but it is not an indication that you will lose weight. This routine of eating five meals a day is useful for fast metabolism or active metabolism. These people are often hungry and burn more energy; it is also adaptable for children because they follow a similar pattern.
The general recommendation tends to be five meals a day, distributed in 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), plus a mid-morning meal and a mid-afternoon meal.
Three meals a day
According to an article published in the Harvard Health Publishing magazine, three meals a day are enough to keep you full and in perfect health. This feeding pattern is useful for people who lead a quiet life, work at home, or sleep a lot. They would not need to consume more than three meals a day, as long as they are complete and balanced. This routine favors, because when the digestion of a meal is finishing, we will consume the next meal. What is very important for good feeding is that the meals should contain raw and cooked vegetables, proteins, healthy fats. We recommend you to drink an infusion at mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Should I eat 3 or 5 meals a day?
According to a scientific study carried out by Dr. K. Ohkawara, M. Cornier, W. M. Kohrt, and E. L. Melanson, eating more meals a day helps control hunger more. Many more studies that have been conducted in recent years have concluded that eating more meals throughout the day helps to control weight better.
So eating this way and in moderation satisfies you and avoids possible binge eating.
However, other analyses show that eating a more significant number of meals a day is not associated with decreased energy consumption nor improved weight.
After studying these two analyses, one concludes that there is no specific answer to this question because many factors come into play to succeed with these eating patterns, such as age, sex, and the person’s physical activity.
It becomes evident and determining that eating more frequently helps to control appetite and decrease the sensation of hunger. Also that what makes the difference is to consume healthy food and to practice physical exercise. There is a relationship between the calories you consume through food and the calories you spend.
If you consume more than the necessary calories, you will gain weight. If, on the contrary, you consume less than you need, the body absorbs the reserves it has, and you will lose weight.
Then eat 3, 4, 5, or 6 times a day. It will take you to lose weight only if you exercise, burn more calories than you consume, and control your caloric expenditure.
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Tips to lose weight without counting calories
Drink water on an empty stomach and before each meal
- Forget about counting calories and products that are light; consume natural and unprocessed foods.
- Reduce sugar, eliminate refined flours, and processed fats.
- Choose foods such as coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, cocoa beans, spirulina, pollen, hemp, maca.
- Do not consume juices or sweetened drinks or foods that contain them. These foods alter the levels of glucose in the organism producing the accumulation of fat.
- Chew your food well; eat each meal slowly.
- Do not choose a single meal and obsess over that type of food. Eat it for a week and then change it if you do not feel good about it.
Myths and truths about food and what makes you thin
Eating on a small plate
To lose weight, use a small plate to serve your food. That will reduce the amount of food you eat. Your brain will associate that you are eating more food.
Although there is no scientific evidence that confirms this trick, it is clear that the plate’s size is not related to weight loss. We recommend using this trick because we trick our brains and get full sooner. But what is important here is not the container in which the food is, but knowing what you are eating and whether it is beneficial for your organism.
Drinking a glass of water with lemon on an empty stomach
According to this statement, drinking a glass of water with lemon on an empty stomach helps release toxins, maintain blood pH and metabolism, and strengthen the immune system.
First of all, that is not true because no lemon juice or other citrus fruit juice in a warm or cold fast, in the way you want to take it, will ever help you eliminate toxins because we do not generate toxins.
When we speak of detoxification, we are referring to the elimination of waste products from our organism. These are eliminated naturally, so there is no relation between the lemon and improve the excretion.
Consuming carbohydrates after 6 pm
According to this myth, consuming carbohydrates from 6 pm or at night causes them to be stored in your body because you don’t spend them.
That is not true, because by not exercising, our bodies store carbohydrates as fat. The time does not influence since our bodies ingest carbohydrates in the same way; it does not matter how we eat them.
What influences fat accumulation is the balance of the food, independent of the time you eat it.
Liquid calories do not count.
When we talk about calories, we only think about the food we chew. We must bear in mind that soft drinks, juices, sweetened drinks, and alcohol contain many kilocalories.
We consume them throughout the day, so it is much easier for the sugars and fats in these liquids to be processed. An excellent example of this is :
Sugared soft drinks always have a direct relationship with obesity.
- Sugared juices.
- The smoothies.
Besides, these liquid calories are more comfortable to digest, apart from the fact that they are empty calories that do not provide energy.
The “diet” products help to lose weight.
These low-calorie products are not related to weight loss. Studies show that eating them can help you gain weight because they encourage you to eat more sugar in other foods. According to an article published in Harvard Health by Holly Strawbridge, the excessive use of artificial sweeteners can negatively affect our health.
Fats get you fatter
People said that saturated fats such as butter raised cholesterol levels, representing a danger to consumers. But this is not entirely true; the risk of consuming these and the sugars is in excess. The excess of these nutrients causes overweight and several diseases.
On the other hand, fats are indispensable for metabolic development, as the Omega 3 fatty acids. In short, consuming fats in excess does not make you fat, but it does represent a danger to your health.
A lot of cardio exercises make you lose weight.
Cardio helps you lose weight, but doing too much for hours won’t help you achieve your goal. On the contrary, the body adapts to the rhythm you are giving to, obtaining more resistance. Still, the energy expenditure with intense exercise begins to reduce.
We recommend walking at a lively pace, which accelerates your breathing and heart rate.
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Myths about the amount of food to lose weight
Eating more times and less quantity make you lose weight
This advice is beneficial if you have a healthy diet. However, if we make more unhealthy meals and smaller quantities, we will not benefit.
A scientific study meal intake related to weight loss was carried out by Dr. B. J. Schoenfeld, A. A. Aragon, and J. W. Krieger. This study concluded that the frequency of meals without healthy eating has no real effect on the metabolic rate or the total amount of fat lost.
Eating often is necessary to balance blood sugar levels.
People say that eating large amounts of food can lead to high and low blood sugars. They also say that when you eat smaller, more frequent meals, your blood sugar stabilizes. According to studies, eating less and more lowers average blood glucose, but you get higher blood glucose spikes.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
This sentence is not entirely correct. It has been shown that there is less chance of being obese at breakfast compared to those who do not. But it has not been proven that it is the breakfast itself that helps you lose weight. Instead, it is related to maintaining healthy habits, since it will allow you to control your sugar throughout the morning.
Tips for establishing your meal schedule
- It makes three meals a day and two snacks: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
- Do not let more than 1-hour pass after getting up for breakfast.
- Consume seasonal fruits; they are more accessible and cheaper.
- Do not forget any food of the day. For this, put the alarm to your smartphone.
- Just as you set your sleeping schedule, set your dinner schedule too, try not to spend less than 30 minutes to go to sleep, the most recommended is 2 hours.
- Establish a schedule for eating your meals, ideally no more than 5 hours of fasting.
Recommended foods for the five daily meals
It is advisable to respect the five daily meals and take healthy snacks. A healthy diet is based on carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals, represented in different dishes.
To maintain your energy throughout the day, consume carbohydrates like:
- Wholemeal bread.
- Fresh fruits.
- Wholemeal toast.
We recommend consuming these carbohydrates with a protein like a yogurt, milk, cheese, or egg.
The time indicated is approximately 11 o’clock; consume a snack as:
- Dry fruits.
- Fresh fruits.
- Energy bars.
It is the biggest meal of the day, where you will consume 50% of the calories; try to eat:
- Red meat.
- White meat.
- Soy derivatives.
Eat a snack based on nuts and fresh fruit; between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Don’t eat just before you go to bed because you won’t have good digestion. Ideally, you should eat 3 hours before sleeping to metabolize and burn the food you eat.
To lose weight quickly, the amount of food you eat will depend on several factors, such as your diet, your body, and the physical activity you do. You have already learned about the myths that you must understand to lose weight and what time you should eat your food and what kind of food.
The times you should eat a day to lose weight faster have not been established. Everything will depend on your pace of life. If you are an active person, you will have to eat five times a day, but if you are a person with a quiet life pace, we recommend making three meals a day.