BRO-SCIENCE MYTHBUSTERS - Not Eating Frequently Will Slow Your Metabolism
"Yo bro, you wanna get yoked?"
"Bro you know Ima all 'bout that suns out guns out life!"
"Shit yeah bro! First step is nutrition man. You gotta eat 6-8 meals a day to get shredded. If not yo metabolism will stop working 'n' stuffs."
"Shit yeah bro! It's science!"
_insert real science here_
The dogma of having to eat 6-8 meals a day has been haunting the fitness industry for decades now. For some individuals this eating method has shown results. Yet, science proves to us that eating 3 meals a day vs. 6 doesn't have much of an impact on metabolism. A review article conducted assessing 179 abstracts found no significant relation between meal frequency and weight loss .
"Bro no way bro! I've been told my who li..."
The proof is in the pudding. It may be hard to swallow because we've all felt lied to by every fitness bro we encountered. But hey, at least we don't have to go crazy trying to eat every 2 hours. 😉
What the research shows is that when calories are dropped significantly, metabolic rate declines slightly. But overall declines are based on calories, not meal frequency . What we can see is that calories are what can truly affect the metabolism, not solely eating 6-8 meals a day. Furthermore, current evidence indicates that weight gain (bulking bro) is due to caloric intake rather than eating frequency .
Had interest in intermittent fasting, but scared of the "false idea" that it will affect or halt your metabolism? Have no fear! Studies shown that in non obese humans alternative day fasting does not result in a decrease in metabolic rate after 22 days .
"But John? What if my sensitive tummy gets hungry? I can't handle the hunger pangs."
One would think that eating three meals a day versus six would leave an individual more hungry. Welp let's ask science!
"Ohhh dear nerd gods of science, is this info true? Would eating 3 meals a day leave us more hungry?"
"IT IS FALSE!" said the heavenly voice.
"OOHHH THEY HAVE SPOKEN!!"
Lower frequency of meals (3 a day) relative to higher frequency meal (14 a day [holy shit!]), when overall daily calories are the same, appear to be more satiating and produce less hunger . Meaning you won't starve by eating solely 3 meals a day as long as the caloric intake is the same.
Now for the final nail in the coffin of this fitness myth!
"Any last words before you reach the electric chair 'o' 6-8 meal a day dogma?"
"Yeah bro! MEAL PREP OR DIE MUTHER FUCKA! At least I'll lose weight and be slim bro!"
Yeahhhhh about that....
The international society of sports nutrition notes the multiple observational studies that do not suggest that eating frequency affects weight loss. Also eating frequency is positively correlated with overall caloric intake [6-7].
"NOOOOOOO!" (Cries of bro's all across the world)
And is twas that day when all the bro's in the universe cried themselves to sleep cuddling next to their favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger poster.
-"Keep on Keepin' on"
John D. Schaser
- Palmer MA, Capra S, Baines SK Association between eating frequency, weight, and health . Nutr Rev. (2009)
- Verboeket-van de Venne WP, Westerterp KR Frequency of feeding, weight reduction and energy metabolism . Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. (1993)
- Pearcey SM, de Castro JM Food intake and meal patterns of weight-stable and weight-gaining persons . Am J Clin Nutr. (2002)
- Heilbronn LK, et al Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism . Am J Clin Nutr. (2005)
- Munsters MJ, Saris WH Effects of meal frequency on metabolic profiles and substrate partitioning in lean healthy males . PLoS One. (2012)
- Howarth NC, et al Eating patterns and dietary composition in relation to BMI in younger and older adults . Int J Obes (Lond). (2007)
- Duval K, et al Physical activity is a confounding factor of the relation between eating frequency and body composition . Am J Clin Nutr. (2008)