- People who get full quickly and are looking to gain weight could benefit
- Those with stomach issues such as nausea or bloating should also try six meals
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While the overwhelming majority of people eat three meals a day, experts have suggested that some might be better off having six to ten smaller meals.
People who experience early satiety, or fullness, after eating small amount of food, or those who are trying to lose weight, should try having six to 10 meals a day, according to a recent report by nutritionists.
Those with gastroparesis, a rare condition involving paralysis of the stomach that means digestion happens more slowly, are also advised to.
And patients with conditions that cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or bloating, are also recommended to eat more frequently.
Studies have indicated that smaller, recurring meals reduce these symptoms.
While the overwhelming majority of people eat three meals a day, experts have suggested that some might be better off having six smaller meals
More meals are also thought to increase feelings of fullness and improve metabolism, as well as help people lose weight.
The question of how many meals a person should eat each day is one that dietitians have long debated.
But in a recent commentary by Mississippi-based expert Lindsey DeSoto, the conclusion appears to be clear: for most people, three meals is just fine.
A wealth of epidemiological evidence over the years has found that, on the whole, three balanced meals a day are most heavily associated with healthy weights and a lower risk of disease.
But Ms DeSoto says there are specific cases, as mentioned above, where little and often is better.
Metabolism is the conversion of food to energy in the body. Eating more often stimulates your metabolism, which keeps it from entering its starvation mode response.
When you go without eating for hours on end, your body’s natural reaction is to slow its metabolic rate to save energy.
For those with gastroparesis, having smaller meals may aid digestion as there is less for the stomach to break down in one go, making it more manageable.
One study of 305 patients with gastroparesis found that those who ate just 1.4 meals a day on average had higher symptom scores for stomach fullness, excessive fullness after a meal, bloating, and constipation.
The advice was based on a 2017 study published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, carried out by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
However, the researchers did note that the evidence for smaller, frequent meals is ‘sparse.’
Other purported plus of eating less and more often is also thought to keep blood sugar levels steady, which regulates energy levels throughout the day and prevents you from giving into sugary cravings.
Some experts believe athletes will also benefit from smaller, frequent meals.
So long as protein levels are adequate, it can help preserve lean muscle mass, the International Society of Sports Nutrition said.