Three Meals vs. Six Meals a Day: the Ultimate Debate
Find out if the popular six meals a day is worth the extra effort when compared to a more traditional plan of three meals a day.
Three meals vs. six meals a day: the ultimate debate
Three meals a day vs. six mini meals is the ultimate decision. And lately, this has been a hot debate in the nutrition community. The Wall Street Journal recently did a study on this and determined that there is no clear answer—both options give you almost the same results.
Why the six meals a day “diet” is popular:
Some fans of the six meals a day “diet” think this new way of eating will promote weight-loss while others just want to battle their hunger throughout their long work day. People, especially millennials, are buying into this new trend because they think eating frequently will help curb their appetite and stabilize their blood sugar—preventing fluctuations that leave them feeling hungry, causing them to gorge on fattening snacks and gain weight.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), six mini meals appeals to the sense of adventure that young people (millennials) have. Young people enjoy the rush of trying and cooking new foods—almost like a mini buffet—one that you have to cook.
Should you just stick with three meals a day?
Cooking three meals a day takes up enough time—imagine having to prepare six meals! That’s why convenience is the only major drawback to six meals a day. Also, improper portion control can be a big problem too. If you’re correctly portioning out six meals a day then it’s no problem; but, if you’re putting too much on your plate, it’s going to defeat the purpose and you run the risk of weight gain. If you’re not sure how much you should be eating if you’re on the six meals a day plan or you just don’t have that much time to prepare meals—it may be better to stick with the traditional three meals a day.
What the study says about six meals vs. three meals a day:
Eating six meals a day is a lot of work, but it appeals to busy professionals and singles who don’t cook every day. These consumers find many more healthy prepackaged options in supermarkets than those that existed just 10 years ago, according to the WSJ—making it easier for them to realistically eat six meals a day. But what’s really in those prepackaged meals? Chances are, it’s not good stuff.
Researchers say there is conflicting scientific evidence as to whether eating more frequently is a better alternative to the traditional three meals a day. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity followed 50 people who were asked to exercise at least 200 minutes a week and to eat from 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day. They were divided into two groups—one consuming three meals a day and the other trying six meals a day.
Both groups lost similar amounts of weight, but the group who consumed six meals a day reported feeling slightly less hungry throughout the day—but only slightly.
Eating six meals a day—if done right—can make you feel slightly less hungry throughout the day. However, it’s also less convenient than eating the traditional three meals a day. Both “diets” help you lose weight so it really just depends on which one fits better into your lifestyle.
What if neither of them fit into your lifestyle?
Cooking can be a hassle no matter how many meals you eat a day. It takes time to educate yourself on nutrition, shop for ingredients, cook and prepare meals. Part of the reason why our country is so overweight is because of distorted portion sizes and lack of time to cook healthy meals at home. If you don’t have enough time to do all that then you may want to consider a diet delivery program.
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Every bite you take follows this proven approach for healthy weight loss. Our program provides 1,100-1,400 calories daily with 40-50% total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20-25% of calories from healthy fats, and 30-35% from complex carbohydrates.
Through these practices, our programs can have the same effect as properly portioned healthy meals—whether they’re eaten six times a day or three times a day. Our entrees can help you control your hunger, help you lose weight AND give you more time throughout the day to spend however you’d like.