What science says about the myth of the five daily meals to lose weight

It is a topic, almost a mantra: to do five meals a day is the best strategy in terms of the frequency of food intake to lose weight and reduce body fat because this prevents snacking between hours and avoid slowing metabolism.
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It is as common as hearing that breakfast is the most important meal or that you have to drink two liters of water a day to stay hydrated. But these two claims have been recently challenged under the premise that if we rely on the available scientific evidence, there is no evidence that a strict rule is necessarily best for all.
Is it the same with the idea that five meals a day is the best way to organize our food? Is it really a mistake to not eat anything between breakfast and lunch?

What Nutritionists Say

According to dietician-nutritionist Juan Revenga , the same thing happens. "They are recurrent , more or less complacent hosepipes that are in everyone's mouth and that can help on certain occasions and at the same time be out of context in others.With which their generalization, as it is done, is absurd , meaningless and in some cases may be counterproductive. "

As we said before and Revenga recalls , with the scientific evidence available in hand, we can not conclude categorically that making five meals a day is the best .
For example, this study, which analyzed the effect of meal frequency on body fat in middle-aged men, found that at the same amount of calories eaten more meals avoided the accumulation of body fat .
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However, other studies (such as this one ) have suggested that making more than three meals a day can have an effect on obesity and overweight in youth and adults. Third parties in discord are studies that have not found a significant relationship between number of meals and obesity or overweight.

The (supposed) benefits of making five meals

Let's start with the obvious: the advantages or disadvantages of doing five meals a day depend entirely on what foods you consume in those foods . It should not have to be said, but it never hurts: if your five meals a day are going to be junk food or processed foods rich in salt and sugar, for example, you can go where you came with your supposed good habit because it will not suit you you're welcome. The same you can do five meals that three, one or eight.
That being said, as we say, there is no solid evidence that making five meals a day is necessarily beneficial, despite what you have heard machenily repeating your whole life.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

It is a common place that having a good breakfast is very important because it helps to start the metabolism from the first hour of the day and thus helps you to lose weight. Some studies indicate that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be obese than people who eat breakfast.
But it should be remembered that correlation does not imply causality, that is, that two things happen together does not mean that one is caused by the other. In this case, there is no evidence that skipping breakfast causes obesity . The relationship between both facts is usually associated with people who skip breakfast in general follow a less healthy diet, which would be the true cause of obesity.
In any case, there is no evidence that breakfast really awakens our metabolism or is necessary to be healthy. In this case, the general advice is that if you are hungry in the morning, have breakfast, and if not, do not eat breakfast , but in any case keep a healthy and balanced diet for the rest of the day.

Eating frequently activates metabolism

Eating smaller servings more often causes the body to keep the metabolism active and thus consume more calories . This is another myth associated with the frequency of meals.
It is true that digesting meals activates the metabolism, is a phenomenon called thermal effect. This myth suggests that if instead of eating larger rations less often we eat the same thing divided into more meals, the body will need more energy to process it and thus increase the burning of calories.
Several studies have concluded that this assumption is erroneous, and that what is relevant when calculating the thermal effect of what we eat is the total amount of what we eat in the day regardless of the number of meals we make.

Eating more often regulates blood sugar levels

Especially important for people with sugar problems, such as diabetes: it is common to hear that if you eat less frequently, sugar levels are kept better controlled .
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At this point, the first thing is that if you have any pathology of this type, always follow the recommendations of your endocrine before making decisions on your own.
That said, some studies suggest that this is not so, and that the blood sugar levels of people who eat more meals a day do not show very sharp peaks, but are generally higher than those of people who eat less times but more abundant.

That eating does not become a focus of anxiety

When we talk about food, something that depends on our health in the short, medium and long term, we must also take into account that each has its own relationship with food, and that this should be as positive and satisfying as possible . Personal preferences and circumstances should not be overlooked.
It is often said that making more meals less copious increases the feeling of satiety and reduces hunger. This can be a major benefit for anyone trying to change their habits, eat healthier and lose weight: it will prevent you from eating anything or eat too much the next time you sit down at the table.
On the other hand, ideally, in your day to day you plan your meals throughout the day. This can be a light and pleasant task for some people, but a source of distress for others, who may prefer to limit themselves to three meals instead of five and save effort .
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Conclusion...

In this case, our conclusion is that there is no conclusion beyond that there is no strict rule that suits us all .
The best recommendation is that you do not obsess about the number of meals, but that you eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you no longer have it , planning to maintain a complete and balanced diet according to your needs and surrounding you with healthy food so that the task to feed you well is easy and appetizing.
What do you think ? Are you one of those who prefer to include lunch and snack in the meal plan of the day? More than five? Or are you one that does not complicate yourself more than necessary and you only make three? Tell us in the comments and explain why it works best to do it your way.
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