The notion that eating six smaller meals a day will help you lose weight has been so widely proselytized that it’s considered a dieting given. But that gospel isn’t actually a good idea for most men.
“Smaller meals are less likely to trigger a satiety response, instead keeping you hungrier over the course of the day,” says nutritional advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D., creator of The Metashred Diet, the most effective fat loss plan in Men’s Health history.
According to Roussell, we’re lead to believe that consistent hunger is a sign your metabolism has somehow been stoked by these smaller, frequent meals. “In reality, your hunger is a signal that the meal wasn’t enough,” he says. “This may make you more likely to overeat over the course of your six or more meals, putting you in a caloric surplus. You’re better off having fewer, more satisfying meals as a method of calorie control.”
As for your metabolism, eating more food does increase the amount of calories you burn, simply because your body burns calories anytime it digests food. However, that increase will not exceed the extra food consumed, says Roussell.
Instead, shift your focus from the meal size and frequency to what’s on your plate. Roussell notes that the body best responds to peaks and valleys when it comes to food ingestion, particularly protein. The best way to achieve this is by trying to ingest at least 30g of protein per meal and spacing out your meals over longer periods of time.
To get a complete 28-day rapid weight loss meal plan—one guy lost 22 pounds in a month!—check out The Metashred Diet. There are tons of protein-packed and satisfying meals to keep you feeling fuller for longer.