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Five Meals a Day: Fact or Fiction?

I know what you’re thinking: I HAVE to eat five meals a day so I can get healthy. Let me tell you something, that’s not necessarily true. You don’t HAVE to. In fact, you may not NEED to. I’ll explain in a minute. This has been a BIG debate as to which is better for you if you’re trying to get healthier and lose weight. Eat 3 meals a day! Or eat smaller meals 5-6 times a day! Sometimes when people are told to eat 5-6 meals a day, they have a tendency to have a nervous breakdown. And vice versa. Let’s break it down

What are the benefits of eating 5-6 times a day? ● More energy (or at least consistent) ● Less hunger overall ● Possible decrease in food cravings ● Potential control of blood sugar levels This sounds great right? What about the negatives? ● Takes a good amount of planning ● Takes a good amount of preparation ● Takes a good amount of persistence

This type of eating will all depend on YOU and YOUR lifestyle. For some people this may not be a realistic lifestyle depending on your eating habits, activity level, and even your job alone. The Bottom Line Can eating 5 times a day help you lose weight? Yes, it can, but only if you “do it the right way.” And I say this loosely. For example, having a slice of pizza and coke pre-portioned out for five meals a day may not be the best way to go. In regards to general health and weight loss, the timing of your meals is of less significance than your choice of quality, portion sizes, and overall caloric intake. What is this in practice? It can be anything from snacking on fruit rather than candy to having whole foods rather than fast, convenient meals. These small decisions will ultimately positively benefit your weight loss more than just following the clock. Per the golden standard, we recommend you talk to your doctor or dietitian each time before making any changes to your diet. What works for someone else might not be the best plan for you, especially if you have a medical condition. Written by Arda Buyuktimkin MS, RD, LD

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