Impact of Meal Frequency on Fat Burning and Hunger Perception

This article is based on the following study: Effects of Increased Meal Frequency on Fat Oxidation and Perceived Hunger

This study aimed to understand the effects of eating three meals a day versus six meals a day on fat burning and feelings of hunger. The idea of consuming more frequent, smaller meals as a strategy for weight control is commonly suggested, but there is limited scientific evidence on how it affects factors related to weight regulation.

Lean individuals (7 males and 8 females) participated in the study, which involved staying in a specialized room that measures energy expenditure. They were randomly assigned to follow either a three-meal (3M) or six-meal (6M) per day eating pattern. Both diets provided the same amount of energy and were balanced in terms of nutrition. The participants rated their hunger, fullness, and desire to eat throughout the day using visual scales, and these ratings were measured and compared between the two meal frequency conditions.

The results showed that there were no significant differences in overall energy expenditure, respiratory quotient (a measure of substrate utilization), or fat burning over the 24-hour period between the two meal patterns. However, participants reported higher levels of hunger and a stronger desire to eat when consuming six meals compared to three meals.

In conclusion, increasing meal frequency from three to six meals per day did not have a noticeable impact on the amount of fat burned over a 24-hour period. However, it appeared to increase feelings of hunger and the desire to eat.

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