Many weight-loss experts and clinics recommend “grazing”— eating many small meals during the day— for promoting weight loss. Supposedly, frequent eating increases metabolic rate, reduces hunger, improves blood sugar control, and cuts body fat.
University of Missouri researchers studied the effects of meal frequency (using three meals per day as the standard) on appetite, energy intake, and hormones that affect appetite and metabolic rate. Eating more frequently had no effect on any variable. However, eating fewer than three meals per day increased appetite and food intake. Three meals per day are optimal for appetite control and weight loss. (Journal of Nutrition, published online)