Fact or Fiction: 6 small meals better than 2 large ones?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

food portions
Eating six small meals a day does lead to weight loss, but it seems the real benefit comes from eating two larger meals.

Those living a healthy lifestyle often run into the same dietary advice: eat six small meals a day in place of three large ones. It may seem tedious, but the method tends to kick up the body’s metabolism – the chemical processes by which we grow and make energy – to better shed those greasy pounds. Well, according to a new study, multiple small meals may be a great way to lose weight, but the real key to a healthy body lies in two large portions of food!

In the experiment, researchers selected 54 people suffering from type 2 diabetes – a condition where the body has difficulty removing sugar from the blood – and stripped 500 calories from their diet. While half of the volunteers were instructed to eat a small breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with three snacks in between, the rest were told to eat a large breakfast and lunch, while skipping dinner altogether.

By the end of the 12-week trial, both groups lost weight and had less fat around their livers – the organ that cleans our blood and helps with digestion. However, the group that ate two meals a day lost more weight and demonstrated relatively lower blood sugar levels, which is great news for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Wow, so does this mean we should all pass up dinner in the evening?

According to experts, it just wouldn’t be practical to skip dinner. Instead, people who want to improve their diets should consider making dinner the smallest meal of the day, especially because that’s generally when we’re the least active. In general, though, your best bet is to watch your portions, and only eat to satisfy your hunger.