How many meals you eat per day or the amount of calories you ingest, can be deceiving and become confusing when working towards a lean and healthy physique. Eating more meals throughout the day will not make you fat if you are choosing healthy foods along with proper portion sizes. It's best to understand the concept of how the body uses food for energy and how it affects metabolism. Overeating and not eating enough can both negatively affect your metabolism and can lead to increased fat stores and weight gain. 

Portion sizes are immensely (no pun intended) to blame for the percentage of fat Americans in the United States, even when fewer meals are eaten over the course of one day. The reason being is that our body can only use so much food at one time and simply stated, if we overeat, whether it's healthy food or not, our body will store the excess which translates into, aka…becoming fat. Conversely, eating smaller meals allows food to be used for immediate energy with less excess remaining which will result in less fat stores. Eating smaller portions of food throughout the day helps the body to work more effectively and efficiently. 

Another culprit to gaining weight and storing fat is skipping meals or not eating enough. The body needs food for energy and if it's not being fed, our metabolism has to be slowed down to conserve energy. To maintain a lean physique the goal should be to keep your metabolism revved up, not slowed down! Eating has a metabolic cost which means every time the body is fed, our metabolism increases during the digestion process burning more calories. Feeding your body frequently throughout the day will not only keep your energy stable it will also keep your metabolism revved up and both of these contribute to maintaining a healthy lean physique.

Most nutrition experts recommend eating 5 to 6 small meals on a daily basis for avery individuals and some athletes may need more. Specific portions and amounts of daily food intake will vary depending on the goals and energy needs of the individual. 

By Liza Hughes RN
Lifestyle Coach to Women

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