Food Calories Intake vs Times You Eat Daily vs Weight Loss/Gain

What science says about how many times you should eat a day. While checking out the position of the International Society of sports nutrition, relative to the frequency of meals based on dozens of scholarly sources.

Calories per day to increase or shed weight

So, how many times per day do you have to eat, according to research by scientists?

   In some stats: among adults that are over 20 years of age ( United States residents) 65% are overweight or obese and signs of significant improvement in this situation is not right.

In Russia, this figure is not much better, about 51% of people (data: year 2010) we weigh more than desired and dynamics and people are also not happy.

Trying to enumerate the obvious damage from excess weight in this text, it will surely make this post the most debated topics as just like changing weight and body composition depending on the frequency of meals.

We will cite as an example, the study on Americans as the one on Russian is almost the same, only a bit other clamps, and data and research on Russia are not practically present.


How many times should people eat in a day?
Children show natural need to eat smaller portions (Peck) during the day. However, upon reaching a certain age, children are accustomed to consume food in a certain way.

How much often and what we eat is affected by many factors as from the traditions of the family and the country, economy (both country and family), to genetics.

Recent studies indicate a partial genetic influence on the individual frequency of meals. According to the national food consumption survey (Nationwide Food Consumption Survey – NFCS, 1987-1988), average frequency of meals among 3182 American adults was 3.47 times per day. If you take into account all snacks, including nutritious drink.

If we discard the intermediate meals up to 70 kcal (such as tea, coffee, drinks), the number of meals decreased to 3.12 per day.

Actually, this confirms a widespread traditional 3 meals a day: the same breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Despite this fact, utritionists and trainers often advise people to eat like small portions, but much more often during the day for metabolic benefits. people have been reluctant to follow them.

Some scientists believe that, if there is a rare, but large portions, it increases the risk of obesity by increasing synthesis and fat deposit after eating.

However, the consensus of scientists did not come to conclusion; so, the debate continues as these studies are inconsistent.

How many times per day do you need to eat? does the frequency of meals has effect on your body? In the past few years, researchers wanted to influence the frequency of meals, here are some of the most interesting results.

Some early studies involving humans published about 50 years ago, evaluated the impact of food frequency on human body weight and body composition.

In some experiments, such a relationship was detected. Others refute the effect of increasing the number of meals on body weight and body composition.

Part of the research shows correlation between frequency proportional back power and composition/body mass i.e. the more meals, the less weight (other things being equal asfor example, the same number of calories).

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However, these data are called into question. Aside from the obvious genetic differences studied, there are other factors that can affect the results and conclusions.

For example, in experiments that was used to compare the total daily energy expenditure, data collected by Guinea often underestimate consumption of food.

Several studies found very much underestimating calories consumed by people with increased body weight and obesity, as well as older people who tend to underestimate it.

In the source, there are rather positive influence more frequently at mass and body composition, even considering the possibility of underestimating people, restricting food/adhering to the diet.

However, this difference is negligible and is not supported by many other studies.

If we discard the hindering factors, most studies show that, an increase in the frequency of the power supply does not play a significant role in reducing mass/body composition changes.

Experimental research: the difference in the number of meals for ordinary people, In most experimental studies involving people with overweight and obesity.

One study found out that, when the total amount of calories per day is invariable (but with a lack of calories for weight loss),there’s undetectable differences in reducing body weight, even when the frequency of meals per day is increased from one to nine.

Roughly speaking, you can have your own, for example, 1500 kcal in one go, though divided into 9 meals as there will be no difference as you lose the same way.

In year 2010, Cameron and his colleagues evaluated the effect of a hypocaloric (lack of calories for weight loss) diets for obese men and women in eight weeks.

One group of test subjects consumed food, 3 times per day (low power frequency), the other were given 3 major and 3 additional snack (high frequency).

Caloric restriction in both groups was similar (minus 700 kcal/day from the norm). It was finally recorded that, there was similar decline in body weight (about 5%), dry matter, fat and overall BMI.

There are Significant differences between the groups with varying frequency of supply in any sign of obesity. In addition to the experiments by a German scientist, there have been several studies involving people with normal body mass.

In respect to optimizing weight and body composition, there were similar to results obtained in people with overweight/obesity: an increase in the frequency of the power supply does not give any advantage.

Even if a calorie-rich diet is taken or when calorie intake helps to maintain your current body weight, an increase in the frequency of meals with 1 to 5 or 1 to 3 do not improve weight loss.

How many times a day: exceptions to the rule are children and athletes. Exception can be considered the work of Fabry and co-authors.

Researchers have shown that an increase in the thickness of the skin fold of the 10-16-year-old boys and girls was significantly greater at 3-one-off nutrition compared to 5 or 7 on the subject of food.

Between girls and boys of 6-11 years, there are significant differences that have been identified.


Interestingly, many of the communication on improving body composition while increasing food frequency were obtained in the experimental group that consisted of athletes. Thus, based on this limited information, it can be assumed that, an increase in the frequency of eating in athletes can improve body composition.

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A small number of studies involving athletes that achieved these benefits from increasing the frequency of power supply: dry muscle mass loss in a hypocaloric (lack of calories) diet, significantly improving dry muscle mass and anaerobic capacity, with substantial increase in “fat burning”.

The frequency of meals and the effect on cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin in the body as shown In the scientific literature regarding the impact of publications on far less power frequency changes in markers of health “, such as lipids and blood glucose, blood pressure, levels of hormones and cholesterol.

Gwinup and colleagues were among the first to have taken several descriptive studies, evaluating the impact of supply on animal like “herbivore” (and little) versus “predators” (rare and much).

The five (both men and women) that were in the hospital were required to consume izokalorijnaja food for 14 days according to the following scheme:

one large meal per day, 10 receptions on the day, every 2:00, three meals a day. Food like predators (one meal per day) led to increased serum lipids compared with 3 meals/day. Powered by the type of herbivores (10 times/day) caused a decrease in serum lipids:

phospholipids, esterified fatty acids and cholesterol. Later, in studies involving people with obesity, there was also significant improvement in total cholesterol, when calorie-rich food was consumed 8 times in comparison with over 17 snacking, compared with 3 meals/day.

In any study, which included 6, 890 men and 7, 776 women, age 45-75 years in the general population, cholesterol concentrations decreased significantly with increasing frequency of meals and was also adjusted for influencing variables; that is, obesity, age, physical activity and diet.

After the amendment on these variables, LDL cholesterol levels were at approximately 5% lower in people taking food more than 6 times per day as opposed to those who ate once or twice a day. Similar results were obtained by other researchers.

In a recent study on the impact of any supply frequency on health outcomes in humans, compared to traditional 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and consumption of whole foods in one portion, Each of the experiments stuck to one of the power schemes within 8 weeks of the 11-week break.

When “feeding once a day” has been observed and a significant improvement in the overall blood pressure. Scientists reported that an increase in the frequency of meals has a positive effect on glucose tolerance.

In particular, when subjects consumed 4 small servings with 40-minute interval rather than one large portion containing the same number of calories, it results to lower secretion of insulin and glucose levels.

When comparing the consumption of calorie-rich diets from 17 small servings per day (compared to 3 per day), serum insulin levels were lower at 27.9%.


However, there are several experiments involving healthy men, healthy women and women with overweight, who have shown no advantage in the cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Despite the mixed results of studies of health, such as total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and glucose tolerance, it appears that, an increase in the frequency of meals has a positive impact.


However, it is noted that experiments that revealed the benefits of increasing food frequency were relatively short-lived, and nothing is known about what happens whether there is such a positive adaptation in long-term study.

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Protein is more better absorbed in even distribution of nutrition. It is widely believed that, for one meal, the body can absorb only a limited amount of protein and need to make use their consumption during the day for the best effect, for example, when you want the enhanced protein nutrition for muscle growth.

Based on recent studies, the synthesis of muscle protein in response to a portion of food consumption is optimal 20-30 grams of high quality protein or 10-15 grams of amino acids as that is the same number of efficiently Digest for one meal.

Studies have shown that, in typical American diet, protein intake is inadequate, for example, the amount of protein per breakfast is low (approximately 10-14 grams), the main part of the falls for dinner (about 29-42 grams). Thus, the powered Americans optimizes protein synthesis only once a day during dinner.

Research on animals has shown that, equivalent distribution of protein among the three times we take food (16% protein) leads to greater overall protein synthesis and muscle mass, compared with suboptimal intake (8%) for breakfast and lunch and more optimum (27%) over dinner. I.e., protein is supposed to be better absorbed if consumed more evenly throughout the day.

To observe the real relationship between frequency of nutrition and protein status, you must use experimental models in which protein synthesis was optimized by 5-6 consumption rather than three servings.

It showed in scientific study of Paddon-Jones and colleagues in which they found that, mixed fusion protein was approximately 23% higher when consumed in three large servings of food of 800 kcal (containing about 23 grams of protein, 127 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat), complemented by three small portions of 180 kcal on 15 g essential amino acids compared with consumption in three large servings of 850 kcal.

By combining the results of several studies, we can conclude that, in the case of optimization of protein synthesis, increased frequency of food can positively influence the digestibility of the protein.


In addition, experiments with time of taking meal show the importance of protein intake before, during and after physical activity.



For ordinary people, not encumbered achievements and activities of people with overweight frequency of meals is irrelevant. You can take 1 meal a day and it can be 9 times a day as the result will be the same, everything depends on the number of calories consumed in a day, rather than the number of meals.

However, an increase in the frequency of power still has a positive effect on the normalization of pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels and insulin in the blood.


An increase in the frequency of the power supply (or rather, more uniform and frequent distribution of protein in food ) also has a positive effect on digestibility of protein needed in increased amounts, for example, for muscle growth.

Some studies have shown a positive impact on athletes as food frequency increases the body: reducing losses of dry muscle mass when “drying” (a hypocaloric diet), a significant increase in dry muscle mass and anaerobic capacity, substantial increase (fat burning)

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