Our body is acutely sensitive to the frequency, quantity and type of foods we eat at each meal. As our body races to digest and breakdown the different fats, proteins and carbohydrates to filter all essential vitamins and minerals we need to live, metabolic activity surges based on the exact composition of the meal. When we overeat, or eat too frequently our body never has the chance to return to an optimal metabolic state, blood sugar remains high and the stage is set for weight gain and disease.
Eating Three Meals a Day to Encourage Weight Loss
It’s not difficult to understand that eating too many calories will lead to excess weight, but many people don’t realize that eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day will cause blood sugar to remain elevated and lead to metabolic dysfunction. This can open the door to diabetes and heart disease and encourages elevated triglycerides that translate to belly fat.
The results of a study conducted at Purdue University and published in the journal Obesity confirm that overweight and obese men placed on a low calorie, higher protein diet felt satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six smaller meals. There is as a popular misconception that eating many smaller meals each day is beneficial to health and weight loss goals, but this study provides evidence to the contrary.
Properly Balanced Nutrition Leads to Weight Loss
This type of study underscores the importance of eating a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and leafy greens as the primary carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates from vegetables are closely bound with fiber and don’t cause a blood sugar surge when they’re released as glucose in the blood. This keeps blood sugar levels constant, reducing the risk of metabolic disorder while encouraging fat to be released instead of stored.
Protein is an important food source when trying to lose weight. Protein from lean meat, nuts and seeds requires more time and energy to digest which means you remain satisfied longer while using more energy for assimilation. This is the reason the study participants were able to lose more weight by eating half as many meals each day. Sugar and refined carbohydrates were restricted which helped to control the desire to eat between meals.
Meal Timing Boosts the Fat Burn Cycle
When eating with a weight loss goal in mind, it’s important to properly space meals to allow your metabolism and blood sugar to stabilize before eating again. Study participants eating three meals a day spaced meals five hours apart to allow blood sugar levels to normalize. Although this study didn’t specify when the last meal of the day was eaten, it’s important to finish eating for the day at least three hours before retiring for the night. This allows digestion to complete so the body can burn stored fat for fuel during the critical overnight hours.
The path to successful weight loss is much more than counting calories and exercising. While these are important parts of the program, it’s necessary to balance the type of foods on your menu with proper meal timing. Avoid between meal snacks and limit food to just three times a day with five hours between each meal, and stop eating after dinner to stimulate the natural release of fat. This will help to drive metabolism toward your healthy weight loss goal.