MYTH 1 Keep The Metabolism “Stoked”
The most common argument that is used to for eating as often as possible is that it increased your metabolism. After all there is a thermogenic effect of food, meaning it costs the body energy to digest foods. The energy cost is fairly significant at around 7% of total calories consumed being used just to digest the food itself. This means that every 1000 calories eaten around 70 are used in the digestion of those calories. The reality is that studies have clearly shown that the thermogenic effect of food relates to the size of the meal much more than the frequency. This means that the larger a meal is the higher the thermogenic effect is.
MYTH 2 Protein!
We’ve been told you should feed your muscles every 2-3 hours to prevent that losing muscle. The reality is that protein takes several hours to digest. Even 30g of pure whey can take over 3 hours to fully digest and be assimilated for use. If you look at a typical meal of an 8 oz chicken breast the digestion rate can easily increase to 6 or more hours. A few other factors that can slow down the digestion process are how much fat and dietary fiber are in the meal.
MYTH 3 Since You Are Eating So Often You Will Not Get Hungry
This can be true or it can be the complete opposite. If you are eating snacks that are higher in simple sugars, low in fat, protein, or both then your body’s rapid rise in insulin will actually make you hungrier. If your snacks are balanced, micronutrient rich, and higher in fiber then yes they can absolutely help you control hunger.
MYTH 4 I Will Not Have Energy If I Do Not Eat Every 2-3 Hours
This argument is similar to the above myth and is dispelled the same way.
What Is Best Then?
If eating for overall health, longevity, and fat loss the most important aspect is to consume the appropriate amount of calories and macronutrients within a 24 hour period. For most people who are working out regularly this may be a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a shake or a snack after your workout. The bottom line is that you are going to want to eat in a manner that fits your lifestyle.