Myth: You need to eat every two to three hours to optimally lose fat and get shredded.
Mythbuster: Jamie Hale
This is another common belief held by bodybuilders that often does more harm than good. I mean, who the hell wants to carry around Tupperware containers full of rice and chicken all the time? It’s just so damn inconvenient. The reason most bodybuilders eat every couple of hours is because…well, because someone told them to. But if they did some research, they’d see that resting energy expenditure isn’t really decreased at all! In fact, there was a study done a while back that showed subjects who did a three-day fast — absolutely no food — had their resting energy expenditure rate actually increase.
Now I’ve experimented on myself and on my bodybuilder clients with a variety of meal frequency plans and have even tried a couple of 37-hour fasts for experimental purposes. And honestly, I haven’t seen that much of a difference between three meals and seven meals a day, if the calories are equal.
The important thing to know is that after you eat a meal, you’re still in a “fed state” and absorbing nutrients for six to ten hours after that meal.
True, after about four to six hours you do get an increase in gluconeogenesis, the generation of glucose from non-carbohydrate substances, which is a good reason to eat some more protein to stop any muscle breakdown. But eating seven meals is still ridiculous to me.
My bodybuilders have had great success eating three to five meals per day. As long as macronutrients and energy intake are equal, there really is no difference in the outcome. Of course, it’s up to what you like. If you want to eat more often, that’s fine.
But I’ll leave the Tupperware at home.