While many may assume that a large number of meals is a bad thing for you, nothing could be further from the truth. Having consistent meals throughout the day actually promotes fat burning and muscle growth in a variety of ways. It is, in fact, the lack of consistent meals that can be burdening on the body. Quite often, those who do not take in enough calories or nutrients are at much higher risk of gaining weight. Those who instead maintain high meal frequency usually see a positive effect in their weight loss and muscle cultivation. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, pay attention to the concepts in this article. By understanding why frequent meals help you access the body you desire, you have a stronger chance of success.
When you eat more your metabolism rises. Of course, this is not true universally. You cannot simply eat twenty-four hours per day and assume that your metabolism is working at its highest level. Instead, the metabolism tends to work best within a three-hour range. You must give your metabolism time to burn and utilize the calories. If given calories at the proper timing (three out increments) the metabolism will stay at sufficient levels to burn calories at its optimal rate. By keeping your metabolism high, you are more likely to shed fat faster.
Prevents Binging Relapse
Binging often occurs after the first month of a new diet and workout regimen. Yet, relapse into binging habits can occur at almost any point during an otherwise healthy lifestyle. By eating frequent and consistently healthy and fulfilling meals, one can avoid relapsing into binging habits. When we sleep for long periods of time and then skip our first meal, it is very likely that we will make poor food choices. Often this is manifested in a trip to a fast-food joint or the ordering of a pizza. We eat these large portions because we have deprived our bodies and we crave fulfillment. There are also longer-term binging triggers. When we cut out too many calories early on in the dieting process, or remove an entire food group, our bodies will often let us know we need something. Unfortunately, our body is not a great communicator. Often we will misinterpret the need or a particular nutrient (or general calorie addition) as a need for far more food than is necessary. With a steady stream of proportioned meals throughout one’s day, one can avoid both long and short-term binging situations.
When our bodies are given a consistent stream of calories, it is like fueling your car every hour. Your body feeds of the energy it is given and with that feeding comes more usable energy. Those who already have an active lifestyle can then enjoy the surplus of energy brought on by consistent reserves. Consistent meals means there is less likelihood of drowsy afternoons, groggy evening, or difficult to maintain mornings. Instead, the body feels consistently energized and capable of working at its optimum levels. Once again, portions are very important when you commit to frequent meals. Over-consuming protein or carbohydrates can send energy levels plummeting as the body’s blood-sugar levels rise.
Consistent meals mean anabolic reaction. An anabolic reaction means the muscles in your body are more likely to grow because the constant flow of amino acids to the muscle cells. The cells of your muscles live and thrive off the amino acids found in protein-rich foods and many vegetables. The amino cycle tends to run for two-and-one-half to three hours. Thus, the six-meal day is perfect for keeping a consistent supply of amino acids to be sent to the muscles. No matter how many aminos you put into your body in one sitting, it cannot make up for the fact that they will still be gone in three hours. Protein that is unutilized does you know good as far as muscle growth. Thus, a healthy stream of protein, rather than loading up in single meals is a key to success.
Prevent Muscle Decay
The frequent consumption of portioned meals is also Anti-Catabolic. This means that by eating more frequently your body can fight off muscle breakdown. One of the biggest concerns for those who are attempting to build larger muscle is muscle breakdown. Many work very hard to build up the muscle fibers and muscle groupings just to find out that they cannot sustain the muscle due to a poor nitrogen balance. When you eat inconsistently or infrequently, your body will go into a catabolic state, meaning you are quite literally eating yourself. Constant intake of calories and protein means that your body will avoid having to resort from using the all-important muscles.
When you eat smaller portions, your body can better absorb the nutrients that lie within the meal. When you over-consume, you are essentially throwing calories and proteins away for nothing. It is like pouring yourself a glass of water, and then pouring another six ounces into that same glass. What will happen to the six extra ounces? It is quite clear that they will go nowhere but on the counter. You certainly will not be drinking them. This is the same principle when talking about nutrient absorption. Small, frequent meals mean optimal absorption while larger and infrequent meals mean wasted effort.
Portion Control = Weight Loss
Just as important as eating frequent meals is eating the right amount per meal. As stated above, it does little-to-no good to be layering on extra nutrients and calories when the body cannot utilize them. More importantly, while the nutrients are being wasted, the carbohydrates and sugars are being stored away. Your body rarely turns down an opportunity to use calories. However, when you already have enough calories for a single sitting, your body often decides to turn these calories into fat. 2400-2500 calories per day for men and 1500-1600 calories for women is the optimal amount of calories per day. Of course, those who are in specific training or partake in very high levels of activity can up their amounts. Knowing exactly how much you burn can help you decide the amount to intake. Nevertheless, always be careful with your intake amount and remember to adjust your meals in relation to your general activity.