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FOTW 05.06.21 - How Many Meals Should I Eat?


Eating every 2-3 hours is an old-school thought process when it comes to nutrition. I want to again preface this post by saying that I absolutely used to believe that eating every few hours was beneficial...even necessary. I followed it, I coached it, I believed that in order to "stoke our metabolic fire" we had to continually feed the furnace. In reality, this is not how the body works. Sure, if you are in the top 1% in the world at your sport or athletic endeavor, proper meal timing might give you a slight edge, but for the normal person, even the more advanced person, eating every few hours is not necessary.


If you think about the evolution of human beings, we were routinely in situations (hunter-gatherer) where we would go extended periods of time without food. Our bodies are actually designed for that. This is why intermittent fasting has shown to have so many benefits if performed properly. What really matters is getting your entire caloric and macronutrient breakdown in a day. If your caloric goal is 2500 calories, you need to eat roughly that many calories in the day. You could do that in 10 meals or you could do that in one meal. If you choose to eat fewer meals, understand that the volume of food will increase. Just because you choose to eat two meals doesn't mean you can eat 1500 calories if your goal is 2500.


The best argument for eating every couple of hours is it keeps your cravings down and keeps you in check. If you are the type of person who gets crazy cravings and is seeing negative effects with your meals spread out, eat small but more frequent meals. If you're a busy individual, spreading your meals out will not harm you, just realize you will have to eat more food at each sitting.


The best thing you can do is choose an eating pattern that fits your schedule and that you can STICK to. My most frequent recommendation is eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a snack in-between each meal. However, if you're a breakfast skipper, that's totally okay - you just need to eat those calories later!


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