Ask the Anytime Gal: Should I eat five or six meals a day?

Question: A friend of mine eats 5-6 smaller meals each day and keeps telling me that I should be doing the same. Are there actually any benefits to doing this, especially if 3 meals per day are satisfying?

Answer: Experts have been telling us to eat more frequently throughout the day for years now. And the prevailing wisdom says that increasing your meal frequency will increase your metabolism and help with weight loss. The theories behind these perceived benefits are sound, but unfortunately, much of the research conflicts with these statements. In fact, numerous studies indicate that increasing the number of meals consumed per day has very little impact on overall food intake and body composition. This makes sense since increased frequency doesn’t seem to strongly affect total daily energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate either. There may be some benefit when it comes to appetite control and satiety, but the jury is still out on this too. If your energy level waxes and wanes throughout the day, then eating more frequently may be advantageous. But if you’re satisfied eating three squares a day, then by all means, continue to do so.

About the author: Andrea Ivins is the club manager and Zumba Instructor at Anytime Fitness in Palestine, TX. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at or

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