Do you like to eat little and often, or do you prefer to ‘pig out’ once or twice a day? If you tend to eat big meals, you may find several health benefits by switching to 5 or 6 small meals, spread evenly through the day.
Many weight loss experts counsel that you should eat small meals throughout the day, rather than a couple of large meals. Small and often boosts the metabolism, and keeps blood sugar levels balanced, so you shouldn’t get an attack of the ‘munchies,’ as you never go very long between meals. This method of eating is often termed ‘grazing.’
Eating little and often helps the digestive system to work at its best, as it can be more efficient if it hasn’t got a mountain of food to process. The body is an efficient and prudent machine, and always keeps in mind that starvation could be just around the corner.
Therefore, if you eat more calories than your body needs at that time, it will store the extra energy in fat cells for later. By grazing, you’re not adding to the fat bank, so instead of adding to the balance, your body will be forced to make a withdrawal and burn off existing fat stores, which will boost your weight loss.
Grazing means that your body is getting regular intakes of protein, which is needed to maintain muscles and vital organs. Muscles burn off more calories than fat, so by building up muscles, you’re using more of the calories you eat. And if you have smaller meals, you won’t be ‘full to bursting’ and therefore unable to get up and start burning off the energy you’ve just taken in.
According to a study published in the ‘British Medical Journal,’ it appears that eating small and often is also good for your heart. People who ate six small meals had average cholesterol readings of 5 per cent lower than those who ate two large meals. The grazers also had lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Researchers attributed this result to increased metabolism, although they are not absolutely sure why this should be.
The main advantage of eating small meals, whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, is that you’ll have more energy, because your body is getting a constant supply of fuel, albeit in small doses. Hunger pangs will be a thing of the past. You’ll feel better and look better, and that’s a bonus we can all appreciate!