- Eating often can reduce the size of your meals
- It enables your body to burn more calories
- It can help you have a flatter stomach
Which one of these are you: the one who eats big meals in huge gaps, or the one who eats small and frequent meals? Well, what may exactly work for you is something that only you can decide. But if you want nutritionists' advice, they will want you to go for the latter. Having said that, it is important to listen to your body and not follow anything because it is an expert's opinion.
Lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, in his Facebook live, has previously said that eating small and frequent meals can increase the load on your digestive system. Coutinho is of the opinion that one should fast every now and then and avoid eating when not hungry.
The benefits of eating small and frequent meals
Nutritionist Vandita Jain, eating small and frequent meals can help in keeping the metabolism intact. "For weight management, it is important to keep the metabolism in equilibrium. Eating every 2-3 hours maintains body processes and metabolism remains intact," she says.
This kind of eating pattern, she says, can also be beneficial for people on a weight loss plan or those with diabetes. "Keeping long gaps in between meals can lead to low energy, poor concentration, acid reflux, fluctuations in blood sugar, sluggish metabolism, food cravings, etc. A person who is not aiming at weight loss and does not have any underlying medical condition can have three main meals and two snacks in between meals," Jain recommends.
Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar recommends that one must eat after every 2 hours. "When you eat every 2 hours, it's a given that you will eat small. So the number of calories you consume at one time will be very small. When our body gets a regular dose of small number of calories often through the day, it feels reassured and loved," she writes in her book Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight.
She goes on to explain that every time you, your body has to work at breaking the food down, digesting it and absorbing it. "It means more calorie burning. The process is known as Diet Induced Thermogenesis. The more often you eat, the more you can utilise DIT," she adds.
Now eating too often may instantly give you the impression of weight gain. However, whenever you taking up eating small and frequent meals, the first thing that drops is the size of your meal.
"When our body gets fewer calories at a time, they are utilised better and not stored as fat. Also, because the body is feeling reassured with a regular intake of calories and nutrients, it sees no reason to store body fat," Diwekar adds.
According to the Mumbai-based nutritionist, eating small and frequent meals will lead to:
- A conducive environment in the body to burn fat
- Fewer calories converted to fat
- Less dependence on stimulants
- Smarter thinking, because the brain gets regular flow of sugar
- Flatter stomach, no need to hold on to fat stores
People are currently in lockdown and have the time to introduce some changes in the diet and adapt their body according to them. Try eating small and frequent meals and let us know if they work for you.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative Medicine)
(Vandita Jain is Delhi-based Nutritionist)
(Rujuta Diwekar is a nutritionist based in Mumbai)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.