Which person are you?
Do you prefer to graze like a gazelle or splurge and eat larger meals like the KING of the jungle.
Is there benefits with BOTH?
For some individuals snacking may help them not over eat later in the day or excessive nibbling before dinner.
For others they prefer to eat less frequently and sit down to a nice standard meal like roast beef, potatoes, veggies and a beer or a glass of wine.
If you are tracking calories or macro nutrients to hit your health and fitness goals then meal frequency will not impact long term fat loss or muscle gain.
THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD
The thermic effect of food does play a role in your metabolism and weight loss and weight gain, but not in the way that many people would have you believe.
In the end, being able to stick with your diet is more important that the actual diet you choose, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s because if you follow any approach correctly, be it intermittent fasting or eating six small meals a day, you’ll cut calories. You’ll lose weight.
The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy required to digest and process the food you eat.
It’s also referred to as “specific dynamic action” and “thermogenesis,” and research shows that it accounts for approximately 10% of total daily energy expenditure.
In this way, your metabolism does speed up when you eat, and the amount depends on several factors:
- The types of foods eaten.
As you can imagine, different foods cost different amounts of energy to process.
For example, the thermic effect is different for carbs, protein, and fats (protein costs the most energy to use and store, followed by carbs, followed by fats).
- How much food you eat in one sitting.
- Small meals result in small increases in energy expenditure and larger meals result in larger increases.
Fitness blogs can write all the listicles they want about which foods burn fat and which don’t, but it’s all a bunch of dogma.
I don’t care how much celery or tuna you eat every day–it’s not going to noticeably decrease your fat stores unless you’re also in a state of negative energy balance (a calorie deficit).
And you now know why:
Food doesn’t burn fat. Energy expenditure does.
If eating food boosts your metabolism, eating more meals should be better than fewer, then, right?
Not so Fast……
The flaw in this logic is the assumption that all meals result in more or less the same increase in energy expenditure.
The reality, though, is small meals result in a smaller, shorter metabolic spikes, and larger meals produce larger, longer lasting effects.
This is why research shows that there’s no significant difference in total energy expenditure between nibbling and gorging.
As you often read in these articles is that
- Eating adequate protein and carbs while dieting for fat loss helps preserve lean mass, which in turn helps maintain a healthy metabolism.PICK A DIET, ANY DIET!
- Every person has a dieting personality. You have to find the diet that works best for you. Don’t be discouraged if one doesn’t work. Your diet should work with your lifestyle, body and preferences. It should be something you can see yourself doing, and happily, over the long term.
Your friend, Certified PT and fat loss expert in your fitness journey,
Joe Hughes CEO of FITNSYNC
Developer of FIT N FLEXIBLE
Published Fitness Model