The Disaster of Eating 5-6 Meals Per Day
Be an electrician. It is easier. . . .
That was the advise of one of my first nutrition teachers. The reason he
said is that so many people read a book, follow a twitter feed or pick up
a magazine and now they are nutrition experts. At least with
electricians, people are truthful. They know that they really don’t know
and reading a book or the Electrician Blog may help, but it does not make
them an expert.
As a result of this, a number of ill-advised pieces of nutrition get
circulated. One of the biggest disasters is the notion that we should be
eating 5-6 smaller meals per day.
For starters, pick up any medical text and you will see that the pancreas
is designed to release insulin 2-3 times per day. That is the ideal. Yes,
if you eat 8 times per day, it will release insulin 8 times. Using an
analogy, the heart is capable of beating over 180 times per minute but
that is under duress, not optimal, health-inducing conditions. There is a
huge difference health wise between natural workings and continual over
working of any organ, gland or system.
Some research suggests that eating multiple, small meals in fact, creates
the groundwork for diabetes by continually overworking the pancreas (and
The extension of the 5-6 meals per day myth is that we need to feed our
muscles, lest they waste away. Also it will slow our metabolism if we do
not eat every 3 hours.
Unless your body has been deprived of food for an extended period of time
– at least one full day, the body does not go into any type of starvation
mode or anything of the like. It has also been shown that it takes 2-3
weeks on extremely low-calorie fad diets (Ex/ HCG Diet of 500 calories
per day) for your body to begin adjusting its metabolism. (From the
Textbook of Medical Physiology).
There are additional factors here that make the 5-6 meals per day notion
useless . For additional reading, please go to . . .
energy-balance-research-review.html. This article, albeit it technical,
is one of the best I have come across which dispels this notion.
Unless you are a bodybuilder or competitive athlete like Olympic swimmer,
Michael Phelps and burn some 12, 000 calories per day, a sensible eating
style and training program will go a long way to reducing fat and
increasing health. Cut out sugar, exercise intensely a couple of times
per week, increase protein and avoid as many chemically processed, un-
natural foods as possible and your inherent health will rise to the
Have you ever noticed that it is always the reasonable, steady approach
that survives the test of time?
Dr. David Orman