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I have heard here and there that instead of consuming 3 largish meals (the traditional 3 meals a day), that consuming several smaller meals throughout the day is beneficial for health (and weight loss).

How true is this statement? What are the biological advantages, if any, of such a diet?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

One rationale is that smaller meals will cause less insulin secretion compared to a larger meal. With less circulating insulin over the time, insulin will be under the threshold required to activate the adipogenic program in the white adipose tissue. So, you will burn ingested carbohydrates instead of converting them in fat despite the same caloric intake. See for instance Munster and Saris, Plos One 2012.

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From a practical point of view many patients miss the feeling of being full. They don't eat because they are hungry but to feel the satisfaction. So many patients end up eating more, then with 3 meals a day. Also there is still a argument if a steady insulin level is beneficial for non-diabetics. So good for weight loss - yes, but good for health - don't know. – NeoDevlin Jun 25 '13 at 17:35
thank you NeoDevlin, nice addition. – Gianpaolo R Jun 26 '13 at 6:44
Thank you both - answered my question very nicely. – user3795 Jun 27 '13 at 12:20

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