For centuries, humans have consumed three large meals a day. If we talk about benefits of eating small new research suggests that consuming smaller, more frequent meals may be better for your health, including possibly lowering your risk of obesity and chronic disease or helping you live longer. If you’re not sure about the benefits of eating small, frequent meals just yet, here are five unexpected benefits of eating small, frequent meals to consider before making the switch from three large meals per day to several small ones throughout the day.
Unexpected Benefits of Eating Small
1) It controls cravings
it’s easy to overeat when you have a whole bagel sitting in front of you. But with six mini bagels on your plate, you can focus on eating one at a time and really enjoy each flavor. And before you know it you’ve reached your limit. The same holds true for food—if it’s all there staring at you in front of your face it can be harder to moderate portions because we feel like we have to finish what’s in front of us before we move onto something else.
So serving smaller portions more frequently helps control that tendency. Plus, it allows our bodies to register satiety cues faster so we don’t keep snacking after our stomach is full. This is especially important for dieters who tend to go overboard on forbidden foods once they start thinking about them again after a long period of deprivation. When they finally get back in touch with their favorite treats they want to binge eat them rather than just indulge every now and then as part of an overall healthy diet plan.
By controlling how often you eat these foods and by keeping portion sizes small (even if they are rich) you can make sure those kinds of cravings stay under control while still enjoying your favorite snacks or meals from time-to-time.
2) Better metabolism
Our bodies work hard to digest food. From cracking open nuts and breaking down fats, to converting proteins into amino acids and sugars into simple carbohydrates—our digestion system is extremely efficient. Unfortunately, it’s also energy-consuming: a single meal can burn up to 50% of our daily caloric intake!
By eating small portions throughout the day instead of three larger meals or a couple huge feasts, you can significantly decrease your energy expenditure. This means your body will burn calories more efficiently at rest (while you sleep) and during activity (during your workout)—ultimately resulting in better overall metabolic health. In fact, studies show that people who eat frequent meals have up to a 5% lower risk for metabolic syndrome—that’s decreased risk for diabetes and heart disease!
3) Improves digestion
Stomach acid is strongest in two phases: when you first wake up and when you finish eating. The one-to-two hour period between meals allows stomach acid to flow out of your stomach and into your small intestine to aid digestion—something that’s hard to do if food has been sitting in your gut for longer periods. If a meal sits too long in your stomach, it will actually digest itself (promoting bloating and gas), rather than enter your small intestine for nutrient absorption.
Smaller, more frequent meals allow for optimal digestion at all times. In fact, one study found that splitting a single large meal into four smaller ones resulted in greater fat loss after 12 weeks. But we’re not just talking about weight loss here; improving digestion can also improve immunity and keep skin clear.
4) Increases energy
No one likes waking up sluggish after a full night’s sleep—but if you consistently eat too large a meal at dinnertime, you’re setting yourself up for just that. Remember that eating small meals frequently helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
This means that your energy will remain more constant throughout the day and won’t be as likely to drop dramatically late in the evening. If you’re having trouble powering through to morning (or late into afternoon), try switching from three big meals to five or six smaller ones instead. As long as you eat approximately every two-and-half hours, your body should have enough fuel on hand for consistent energy throughout the day.
5) Healthier lifestyle
It’s true that eating more frequently makes it easier to eat a healthy diet. According to a number of studies, small meals can prevent overeating and help you consume fewer calories overall. If you usually skip breakfast, make sure to eat some fruit and drink lots of water upon waking. Snack throughout your day on nutritious items like carrots or yogurt instead of less healthy fare like sweets or chips. You’ll end up with a healthier lifestyle by eating small meals often.
Not only are small frequent meals good for weight management, but they may also reduce your risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. One study found that increased meal frequency was linked to lower fasting glucose levels in pre-diabetic people.
Another report showed that cancer patients who ate three or four times daily experienced greater reductions in fatigue than those who ate only twice daily. The research isn’t conclusive at present time, but there are plenty of reasons why eating smaller amounts regularly might be good for you!
Always remember – Paragraph 3: Whatever approach you take with your food intake, just remember to always pay attention to what you eat.