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    Question trouble with 5-6 meals a day

    So we all know that 5-6 meals a day are the optimal amount of meals per day. However, I was curious as to how many people actually make it to 5-6 meals a day? Also.. if you skip or miss meals or are having hunger pains, do you still workout?
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    If you can get all your calories in 2-3 meals then there is no problem.

    The "you must eat 5-6 meals" a day is not based in fact.
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    5-6 meals is best, but its not like it will kill your gains if you get fewer.

    More frequent meals helps maitain a steady, constant insuliin level which is important.

    It also helps to increase protein used for muscle rather than energy by consuming it in small amounts often rather than big amounts.

    It also helps increase the metabolism via thermogenesis. This helps reduce excess fat.

    It also helps to reduce fat by giving your body just what it needs, all time, rather than too much a couple times a day.

    How much fat you gain still depends on total calories, but frequent meals will help shift the bar towards muscle sythesis rather than fat storage.
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    If you can get all your calories in 2-3 meals then there is no problem.

    The "you must eat 5-6 meals" a day is not based in fact.
    yeah, i was using that term lightly.... I was asking more along the lines of when you havent taken in your total calorie intake, do you still attempt to do your workout? I am currently in the transition of moving to eating more frequently but there are instances where I wont make my necessary calorie requirements and would still like to work out. I was just curious as to others who may continue to workout and what effects they see on their body if they do.
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    Originally Posted by gynuine69 View Post
    yeah, i was using that term lightly.... I was asking more along the lines of when you havent taken in your total calorie intake, do you still attempt to do your workout? I am currently in the transition of moving to eating more frequently but there are instances where I wont make my necessary calorie requirements and would still like to work out. I was just curious as to others who may continue to workout and what effects they see on their body if they do.
    I've workout on days when I didn't get enough food. Didn't really notice any difference, just hungry.

    You can always make your calories. I would rather grab a double cheesburger from McDonalds then go under maintenance.
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    “More frequent meals helps maitain a steady, constant insuliin level which is important. “

    Why is it important to keep insulin levels steady? If your getting tired during the day maybe you are eating to many insulin spiking foods? Keeping insulin levels high all day seems like a path to diabetes.

    “It also helps to increase protein used for muscle rather than energy by consuming it in small amounts often rather than big amounts.”

    I’m not sure what you mean. You have a source?

    “It also helps increase the metabolism via thermogenesis. This helps reduce excess fat.”

    Any increase in metabolism is immaterial. Why does everyone want a fast metabolism any ways?

    “It also helps to reduce fat by giving your body just what it needs, all time, rather than too much a couple times a day.”

    No evidence to support this statement. Your saying if I eat at maintenance with 2 meals a day I would gain fat compared to eating the same calories over 5 meals?
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    “More frequent meals helps maitain a steady, constant insuliin level which is important. “

    Why is it important to keep insulin levels steady? If your getting tired during the day maybe you are eating to many insulin spiking foods? Keeping insulin levels high all day seems like a path to diabetes.

    “It also helps to increase protein used for muscle rather than energy by consuming it in small amounts often rather than big amounts.”

    I’m not sure what you mean. You have a source?

    “It also helps increase the metabolism via thermogenesis. This helps reduce excess fat.”

    Any increase in metabolism is immaterial. Why does everyone want a fast metabolism any ways?

    “It also helps to reduce fat by giving your body just what it needs, all time, rather than too much a couple times a day.”

    No evidence to support this statement. Your saying if I eat at maintenance with 2 meals a day I would gain fat compared to eating the same calories over 5 meals?
    the number of meals you eat is more associated to getting back results. eating 5-6 meals a day is optimal for your metabolism and getting the results you want for two reasons. 1) it takes about 2 hours to digest each meal which in turn burns more fat, and 2) protein (amino acids) lasts about three hours in your bloodstream before being dumped from your body or used as some kind of energy.
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    Originally Posted by gynuine69 View Post
    the number of meals you eat is more associated to getting back results. eating 5-6 meals a day is optimal for your metabolism and getting the results you want for two reasons. 1) it takes about 2 hours to digest each meal which in turn burns more fat, and 2) protein (amino acids) lasts about three hours in your bloodstream before being dumped from your body or used as some kind of energy.
    Even if these theory's are true, I can't imagine the impact being anything but minimal.
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    Even if these theory's are true, I can't imagine the impact being anything but minimal.
    although you are playing the "devil's advocate" ill tickle your fancy anyways. Its a known fact that the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn off calories. It is also a known fact that the more you eat, the faster you speed your metabolism up to increase calorie burning. If you eat twice a day and are able to fit your total calorie intake within these two meals, Ill be sure to have my sisters bread with you because your metabolic and gene make up is like no one on this earth.
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    Originally Posted by gynuine69 View Post
    although you are playing the "devil's advocate" ill tickle your fancy anyways. Its a known fact that the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn off calories. It is also a known fact that the more you eat, the faster you speed your metabolism up to increase calorie burning. If you eat twice a day and are able to fit your total calorie intake within these two meals, Ill be sure to have my sisters bread with you because your metabolic and gene make up is like no one on this earth.
    So you want a faster metabolism so you can burn more calories? Couldn't a person just eat less?

    Its not a known "fact" your metabolism increases with more meals. Its a theory. In fact the only study I saw only showed a minimal increase in metabolism.


    I can eat well over 1,000 calories at one meal. Its really not that hard.
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    So you want a faster metabolism so you can burn more calories? Couldn't a person just eat less?

    Its not a known "fact" your metabolism increases with more meals. Its a theory. In fact the only study I saw only showed a minimal increase in metabolism.


    I can eat well over 1,000 calories at one meal. Its really not that hard.
    I'd second this. I've read studies where the difference is very small and isn't going to contribute a whole lot. What it's going to boil down to moreso is total calories taken in during the day.

    The primary reason to eat 5-6 meals a day is to help keep blood sugar levels more stable and prevent hunger. Your body isn't going to start catabolizing itself if you go 5 hours without food.
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    I think ShannonClark has hit the nail on the head there.
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post
    “More frequent meals helps maitain a steady, constant insuliin level which is important. “

    Why is it important to keep insulin levels steady? If your getting tired during the day maybe you are eating to many insulin spiking foods? Keeping insulin levels high all day seems like a path to diabetes.

    “It also helps to increase protein used for muscle rather than energy by consuming it in small amounts often rather than big amounts.”

    I’m not sure what you mean. You have a source?

    “It also helps increase the metabolism via thermogenesis. This helps reduce excess fat.”

    Any increase in metabolism is immaterial. Why does everyone want a fast metabolism any ways?

    “It also helps to reduce fat by giving your body just what it needs, all time, rather than too much a couple times a day.”

    No evidence to support this statement. Your saying if I eat at maintenance with 2 meals a day I would gain fat compared to eating the same calories over 5 meals?
    No evidence?????? IT is definitely a factor. Go read any text on fat loss that is worth half a ****. Eating smaller portions more frequently is most certainly a factor.

    You dont even need that... Just think about it. Less frequent meals = lower overall, and less steady insulin levels which is a negative factor by itself.

    You know that protein isnt stored -- your body takes what it can use at a that time. Your body ca use alot more at certain times, like after a workout, hence PWO shakes. But certain amounts of aminos are constantly being used. Eating meals more frequently provided your body with a more steady supply of protein. IF meal timeing didnt matter, then why would taking a slow absorbing shake be important. Why would a PWO shake be important?

    You could just eat a massive breakfast & dinner and get the same results.
    Last edited by Mtguy8787; 12-20-2006 at 10:22 PM.
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    I think that is more to keep people on a specific diet without snacking in between - it curbs hunger.
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    Things have really changed. Bob Hoffman ate just one meal a day and lived to be in his 80s. And, he was a weight lifting coach. I usually eat three meals a day with a protein bar and a protein shake between those meals. With my work schedule that is the best I can do.
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    Eating more frequently does NOT make you have high insulin levels all day - it PREVENTS insulin spikes, by keeping a steady stream of food in your system without ever having a large meal.

    While the benefit to athletes/bodybuilders of frequent small meals is unproven (you are correct in that, as far as I've discovered), the benefit to anyone who is insulin resistent of eating more often is widely accepted in the medical community - and is part of the way diabetes is managed.

    Bodybuilders just borrowed it from the diabetics.

    But for healthy individuals, really, a larger meal does not cause much of an insulin spike and so is not as much of a concern.


    However, if you are bulking on a huge amount of cals (over 4k) then more meals becomes the an effective way to consume that much food and be sure your body will use most of it.
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    jesus ira, you're a pain in the ass. if you want to eat 2 times a day and eat 1000 calories a meal, then knock yourself out; that is not ideal by any means. that's actually one of the most ridiculous things i've heard in a long damn time. eating frequently will keep your glycogen levels up. when glycogen levels are depleted then your body looks for alternate forms of engergy to burn, (MAYBE MUSCLE?!) and if you think you will keep the same metabolic rate from eating twice comapred to eating six times you kinda make me sick.
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    BTW, if you may not be completely catabolic if you don't eat for 5 hours but you certainly are on your way, and you definitely are becoming less anabolic the longer you go without eating.
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    Originally Posted by Mtguy8787 View Post
    5-6 meals is best, but its not like it will kill your gains if you get fewer.

    More frequent meals helps maitain a steady, constant insuliin level which is important.
    Unless it's carbs or sugar, in which case your insulin and mood is fluctuating all the time. "Complex" (a chain of polysaccharides) and "simple" both break down into sugar (a single monosaccharide molecule) anyway

    It also helps to increase protein used for muscle rather than energy by consuming it in small amounts often rather than big amounts.
    What's the difference? Regardless of when you consume and how much you consume albeit big meals or small meals, the body doesn't discriminate and will use up what it needs and excrete the rest. It's built to survive. Protein is only used for energy in severe cases such as anorexic or catabolic patients, NOT when people wait longer than 3 hours when eating.

    It also helps increase the metabolism via thermogenesis. This helps reduce excess fat.
    This is not a proven fact and has in fact proven to be invalid. Again, regardless of when and how much you consume, the body burns and stores the same amounts, without a change in the metabolic rate. Athletes have a faster metabolism than sedentary people because they train, simple as that.

    It also helps to reduce fat by giving your body just what it needs, all time, rather than too much a couple times a day.

    How much fat you gain still depends on total calories, but frequent meals will help shift the bar towards muscle sythesis rather than fat storage.
    No, no, no. Many people get by on three large meals and one post workout just fine. We have an inbuilt hunger/appetite control influenced by leptin and other hormones which help tell us when we've had enough (but sugar can blunt this response). 6 meals a day does nothing except make you obsess about food.
    The last bit is the worst of all. Food or meal timing/frequency doesn't influence body composition. Training shifts a change in hormonal production which does.
    Last edited by Max Protein; 12-21-2006 at 04:17 AM. Reason: More info needed
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  20. #20
    Goodbye CC IraHays's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by empresscat View Post
    Eating more frequently does NOT make you have high insulin levels all day - it PREVENTS insulin spikes, by keeping a steady stream of food in your system without ever having a large meal.

    While the benefit to athletes/bodybuilders of frequent small meals is unproven (you are correct in that, as far as I've discovered), the benefit to anyone who is insulin resistent of eating more often is widely accepted in the medical community - and is part of the way diabetes is managed.

    I would think the main effect on insulin levels would be the type of food you eat. If you ate a high carb diet throughout 5-6 meals a day you would have an elevated insulin level all day.

    You wouldn't have to worry about keeping insulin levels steady if you ate a low carb diet, they would always be low, no matter how many times you ate. This is why people on low-carb diets do not get tired after a large meal. It baffels me why anyone with diabetes would not eat a low carb diet.
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    Originally Posted by tb_06 View Post
    jesus ira, you're a pain in the ass. if you want to eat 2 times a day and eat 1000 calories a meal, then knock yourself out; that is not ideal by any means. that's actually one of the most ridiculous things i've heard in a long damn time. eating frequently will keep your glycogen levels up. when glycogen levels are depleted then your body looks for alternate forms of engergy to burn, (MAYBE MUSCLE?!) and if you think you will keep the same metabolic rate from eating twice comapred to eating six times you kinda make me sick.

    I don't know why I'm a pain in the ass?

    For the record, I have no problem with people eating 6 meals a day. There are some reasons to do this, but catabolism and increasing your metabolism just aren't some of those reasons.

    BTW, your liver stores glycogen, if your worried about depleting it, just have some carbs after your work out.
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    140 down, 5% to go. exhibita's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gynuine69 View Post
    So we all know that 5-6 meals a day are the optimal amount of meals per day. However, I was curious as to how many people actually make it to 5-6 meals a day? Also.. if you skip or miss meals or are having hunger pains, do you still workout?

    To answer your question in a sidetracked thread...

    I make it to between 8 and 10 meals a day. Just about every 2 hours.

    Mainly this is because I have a small stomach, and also because I found (for me) that eating that way makes it easier for me to stay strict with my diet and avoid things like binges.

    I had a gastric bypass surgery a year and a half ago. My stomach is about 16oz right now. That means max meal size for me (with clean foods) is about 500 or less calories.

    I can (and do) get more calories depending on what I eat. For example, I can eat 2 cups of cooked oats..as long as I eat nothing else with it. I am -stuffed- at the end of it though. If I add a scoop of whey to it, the max calories there are 700. That's about the limit though.

    The flip side of that is I can only eat about 350 calories of a dense protein. 2/3 of a chicken breast will have me holding my stomach as if I ate a thanksgiving meal.

    I've -tried- eating enough in three meals with a small snack. No go. I cannot get above 2400 calories that way. This will work for me while cutting, but if I want to eat enough to put on mass, my minimum is 3300 (though 3900 is what i do). 3900 in 8 meals a day is about 500 calories per meal. It is -very- difficult for me to do, so sometimes I do more meals.

    I -like- eating more often/smaller meals. Not only do I feel great doing so, I do not experience hunger. It helps with the 'food is fuel' thoughts. I have also found I have more enegry through the day, more consistant energy. I do not think this is plecebo effect either. I have also noticed I do not yawn in the late part of the day at work, when I am eating like this.

    I have also noticed an increase in things like my leg bouncing and the speed I walk.

    I think there is alot to be said for constantly being in a 'fed state'..though I also say that I think it depends on your own body. Some folks might not be able to deal with eating like that, or just might not feel right. I think , like with everything we do, you need to listen to how your body reacts.
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  23. #23
    Registered User v4lu3s's Avatar
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    i do not have scientific evidence, only watching what happened when my wife went from 3 meals a day to 6 meals a day. she did not change her workout, she did not significantly change her caloric intake or the foods she ate. But she did start losing fat and went from 23% body fat to 15% in less than 8 weeks.

    My own theory is that several large meals creates a feast/famine situation and your body is more prone to storing fat when you eat less frequently. The more frequently you eat the more you train your body to expect constant and frequent food, leading to a situation where you are not going to store fat since food appears to be more plentiful. In addition having food always in your stomach does burn more calories as you are digesting constantly.

    I know for myself if I miss one of my bigger meals my workouts do tend to suffer some.
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    Originally Posted by IraHays View Post

    BTW, your liver stores glycogen, if your worried about depleting it, just have some carbs after your work out.

    Not just your liver, but your muscles and other organs as well. (For example: Your brain -depends- on glycogen to keep you thinking clearly. If it does not get enough, you get stupid ( dizzy, fuddlebrained..etc. - hypoglycemic symptoms))


    Your liver is just the most giving of the organs when it comes to glycogen. When you sleep, your liver gives up its glycogen to body to fuel it through the night. This is why breakfast is so important. The liver will also toss out glycogen to keep your blood sugar levels even. In short, your liver tosses out glycogen whenever and for whatever reason. Sort of like the guy at the strip bar who pays for everything
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  25. #25
    Self proclaimed sorcerer Bnizzle163's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tb_06 View Post
    BTW, if you may not be completely catabolic if you don't eat for 5 hours but you certainly are on your way, and you definitely are becoming less anabolic the longer you go without eating.
    Yes, i would second this based on my opinion. It's a better idea to remain AS anabolic as possible when building muscle tissue is your intended goal. Let's also not forget about starvation mode, where your body tends to store calories as fat when it doesnt have proper nutrients every few hours. Again not a "FACT" persay, but i will definately agree i've seen MUCH better results in the gym eating every 2-3 hours vs. typical 3 meal a day diet.
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    I rarely ever get hungry from eating 6-7 times a day. I can't remember the last time my stomach made the growling noise. I used to only eat like 4 times a day and was so hungry all the time because of the long periods in between meals.
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  27. #27
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    i eat at

    7:45
    10:30
    1:00
    3:30
    6:30 or 7:00
    9:30 or 10:00

    2 meals are protein drinks rest are food, its hard to cook it all by urself but its worth it, i gotten my best gains from eating like this
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  28. #28
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    2 meals are protein drinks rest are food, its hard to cook it all by urself but its worth it, i gotten my best gains from eating like this[/QUOTE]

    i agree that it is hard to stay on top of your meals when you are cooking either 5-8 meals a day or even pre-cooking them. but stay on top of that, because we love to eat. :-p
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  29. #29
    Superman Punch! gainmusclefast's Avatar
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    yea i like knowing what im gonna eat everyday, its great when u plan em ahead of time
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  30. #30
    One day... halftrees's Avatar
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    I eat 6-7 meals per day... but thats simply because I need to eat a ton to gain any muscle and I dont have a huge appitite so I eat small meals spread out instead of 3 huge meals. Arnold never ate more than 3 times per day...
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