How many times a day to eat for effective weight loss? How to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass? The article reveals secrets for men and girls.
Eating 6 times a day or more accelerates metabolism no more effectively than the usual three meals a day. If a fractional meal helps you feel better, it is perfectly acceptable and healthy, but not as a means of losing or gaining weight.
The effect of eating frequency on metabolism
The ironclad argument, “Increase the frequency of food intake to speed up metabolism,” implies that fractional meals increase metabolism.
However, studies of meal frequency found no difference between fractional and standard meals. Only in one case was it found that weight loss on a low-calorie diet also changes with changes in the frequency of meals. Based on the data obtained, the scientists concluded that the influence of the frequency of food intake on the regulation of body weight is most likely possible, but at the expense of achieving a balance of calories (energy) consumed. In other words, there is no significant association between meal frequency and weight loss.
With a change in the frequency of food intake and while maintaining the amount of calories consumed, the metabolic rate does not change, as does weight loss. And with a decrease in the amount of calories consumed, the metabolic rate decreases slightly. In this case, metabolism slows down not from changes in the frequency of food intake, but from a reduction in energy consumption.
However, this issue is controversial, as evidenced by another recently published study. In it, scientists, comparing 2 groups of men, one of whom ate three times a day, and the second – 14 for 36 hours, did not notice any differences in the metabolic rate, except that those who were on three meals a day had a slightly higher energy expenditure in the state rest.
See also: The essence and types of a low-carb diet
Effects of fractional nutrition on muscle gain in men
There are few studies showing the dependence of muscle gain on the frequency of eating. But one way or another, it is now generally accepted that weight gain in men and women is possible due to an increase in calories consumed, and not due to an increase in the number of meals.
Effects of fasting on metabolism
The assertion that the metabolic rate must be maintained by continually adding energy in the form of food suggests that metabolism slows down during periods of fasting.
Fasting for 36 hours leads to an increase in metabolism, which remains consistently high over the next 72 hours. However, adrenaline levels increase after 72 hours of fasting, not after 36. And over the next 48 hours, high levels of adrenaline in the blood contribute to the release of more heat from the body (i.e., the level of thermogenesis increases).
It was found that in obese people, alternating the usual diet with fasting days does not reduce the metabolic rate after 22 days of observation. And this despite the fact that on regular meal days, they take in twice as much food to compensate for the calorie deficit on unloading days!
Research among Muslims during Ramadan also confirmed that there is no difference between fasting and non-fasting. Other scientific studies show us that a lean diet with a stable amount of calories is beneficial for people with health problems. In this case, the metabolic rate does not change significantly.
Possible causes and confirmed data
Numerous studies have found a link between eating frequency and obesity, confirming that fractional meals are common for thin people, and rare ones for obese people. However, the studies looked at body mass index (BMI) rather than the relationship with muscle mass. But the trend towards an increase in both BMI and muscle mass with increasing meals is nevertheless evident.
Eating frequency affects weight loss. However, the effect can only be noticed when negative factors such as smoking, alcohol and stress are excluded.
In addition, scientists have found that the more often you eat, the fewer calories you consume.
Read also: Rating of the best components of fat burners – effective weight loss
Thermal effect of food
The thermic effect of food, which also requires energy for the body to digest and obtain energy, is considered by some scientists to be an important factor in controlling weight gain in the long term.
An irregular diet, regardless of the frequency of meals, reduces the thermal effect of food.
Exercise is considered by scientists to be an essential factor in diversity, as it helps to expend a lot of energy and suppresses appetite.
Research shows an indirect link between eating frequency and weight gain, suggesting that gaining weight can only be achieved by increasing the number of calories consumed. A lower meal frequency may be associated with a lower BMI (while maintaining the same calorie intake) through exercise.
There is, however, too much reason to believe that meal frequency does not affect metabolism in any way. Metabolic rate and weight fluctuations cause very different indicators and habits.
Frequent meals can be beneficial for maintaining muscle mass. When comparing the results of two groups of men eating 3 times a day versus 14 times, the scientists found that with the same number of calories consumed and no difference in metabolic rate, the group that eats less meals with high protein content oxidizes protein 17% faster than the group. with 14 meals a day. However, later the researchers came to the conclusion that with 4 meals a day, these differences disappear. And there is no difference in weight loss when consuming 80% of casein protein in one meal versus 4 meals of whey protein at 25% DV. Casein protein is superior to whey protein in terms of nitrogen retention time. Whey protein has higher protein oxidation and synthesis rates, but casein still provides more efficient nitrogen retention in muscle mass.
While it is theoretically possible that more meals can promote nitrogen retention, recent research has confirmed that fasting protein is more effective for building muscle. However, this can be combined by taking on an empty stomach for slow absorption and as often as possible.
One of the aforementioned studies highlighted the fact that glycemic control with three meals a day is easier to achieve than with 14. The same was confirmed when comparing 2 meals a day and 12 meals a day.
It was also noted that three meals a day relatively fractional (in particular, 14 meals a day), while maintaining the same daily calorie content, seems to be more satisfying and less likely to cause hunger.