Eating more frequently

Meal frequency is a variable that can be manipulated as part of a nutrition strategy, particularly when it comes to hunger management.

An increased meal frequency (4-6 meal per day) is often touted as the best way to reduce hunger because of the decreased duration in between meals.

Instead of six hours between meals that is typical when eating three meals per day (ie. 7am, 1pm, 7pm), this might be reduced to 3-4 hours.

However, it’s worth recognising that this approach doesn’t necessarily reduce the total duration of hunger across the day, instead it reduces the duration of each hunger phase, of which there are more.

This approach tends to work well with people who are well-organised with their food intake to ensure they have access to the right meals, particularly snacks.

Many personal trainers are very diligent with their food intake, hence they manage a high-frequency meal intake quite well.

This has lead to somewhat of a bias towards this style of eating from the fitness industry, even if we don’t realise it.

An increase in meal frequency can benefit muscle growth when the goal is muscle gain, as protein intake triggers muscle protein synthesis.

However, when the goal is primarily fat loss it’s more important to develop nutrition strategy that best facilitates the required energy deficit.

Tom Fitzgerald