How Many Times a Day Should You Eat?


Child Feeding Father

Should I eat a certain number of meals per day?

How many times a day should you eat? Great question. Before answering this for yourself, it is essential to look at your lifestyle- ask: what type of exercise do I engage in, is my job sedentary or active, do I eat meat or vegetarian? These are all considerations to decide how many times you may want to eat each day. The amount of calories you take in should be proportionate to your lifestyle and activity level, but to avoid overeating, studies suggest regular intervals may be the key.

The research says eat at regular intervals to avoid overeating

ADA spokeswoman Noralyn Mills, RD, thinks feeding the body at regular intervals helps send signals to the body that it is no longer necessary to store calories, yet when we skip meals, we affect the metabolism negatively.

Research published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrine & Metabolism supports Mills' thought that taking in meals at regularly scheduled times can affect metabolism positively by reducing the amount of insulin that may be converted to adipose tissue. Another benefit- satiation! When we "feel" full we report a satisfied sense of wellbeing.

So, how many times a day should you eat? While it still is not agreed upon by all experts, many assert that three meals per day is ideal for most people. For others, 3-5 meals at regular intervals has also been shown to balance metabolism. When deciding, keep a journal, see how you feel. Note whether your energy increases, fatigue reduces, you are maintaining your weight management goals and that you feel well. Incorporate the other lifestyle variables above and you will come up with how many times per day is ideal for you!

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