How Many Times Should I Eat Per Day?

Are you always hungry even if you’re eating enough? Don’t worry; many people feel this way. This begs the question, how many times should you eat per day? Experts have proposed an expansive variety of answers to this question. The two most common arguments are three large meals a day or five to six smaller meals throughout the day. Some experts even recommend incorporating supplements in your diet, such as EAAs vs. BCAAs.

Three Large Meals a Day

This approach is the one most commonly preached by parents in traditional households. Families are encouraged to sit down three times a day at the table and enjoy a meal together. However, some people are still left hungry even after eating in this manner. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, some people may not be able to eat large amounts in one sitting. Every single body is different, and each body processes nutrients in a different way. Some people digest food slower than others or have smaller stomach capacities, which only allows them to eat a limited amount of food in one sitting. For this reason, they often end up not eating enough and feel hungry again soon after.

Another reason why people may have hunger pangs soon after having a meal is that they have a speedy metabolism. They could eat plenty in one sitting and then burn it all very quickly. This is also what happens when we exercise or play sports shortly after having a meal. Strenuous work, even mental work like studying, can burn all our stored energy away. For this reason, some people may feel hungry more often than others.

People who do not find sufficiency in having three large meals in one day may need to alter their eating patterns. Another option is to have three large meals with two to three moderately sized snacks or even sitting down for five smaller full meals in a day.

Eating Five to Six Smaller Meals per Day

Are you always hungry? Switch to this alternate meal pattern! Eating more meals a day helps in many ways.

By eating more meals throughout the day in smaller proportions, you are providing your body with the constant supply of nutrients it needs. The demand for energy is higher in athletes, students, and people who are always on the go. The five to six meal system provides them with the energy they need to get through the day without feeling overwhelmed by hunger.

Eating more, smaller meals throughout the day ensures you’re never starving. Thus, this means you’re unlikely to overeat in one sitting. Never feeling excessive hunger can also speed up your metabolism and help you live a healthier lifestyle overall.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

If you are eating all your meals and still feel tired, your meals may not be giving you the nutrition you need. There is a significant difference in how many calories you consume and how many nutrients you take in a day. Calories can be good or bad. For example, junk food has a lot of ‘bad’ calories that lack nutrients. However, if you’re eating healthy foods, like lean meat or fruit, you’re feeding your body ‘good’ calories. These will easily burn off without converting to stored fat and are loaded with nutrients that you need.

Nutrients are vital for healthy body function. They nourish our organs and keep us alive. When we eat plenty of good food and very little unhealthy food, our bodies remain full of nutrients. This means our muscles are less likely to cramp up, and we are unlikely to be fatigued. If you’re feeling lethargic and tensed up, it is possible that you are not eating healthy, balanced meals.

Your meals should contain sufficient protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. The daily requirement of each is different for everyone and directly correlates with a person’s age, build, and daily routine.

Protein and Amino Acids

Lack of protein in one’s diet is the primary cause of hunger. Proteins are formed from amino acids. This is why a lack of protein in our diets means we must take supplements.  There are two main types of amino acid supplements in the market today, EAAs and BCAAs.

EAAs and BCAAs

EAA stands for essential amino acids. These cannot be produced by the body, which is why you must rely on your diet for them. There are nine essential amino acids, and we cannot function without them. EAA supplements consist of all these amino acids.

BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. These are very important for cell function and consist of three of the most important amino acids. The body cannot make them, either.

Most people agree that EAAs are a better supplement to take because it provides the body with all nine amino acids that it otherwise cannot make. While BCAA supplements are also useful, they only provide three of the nine vital amino acids, so it makes more sense to take all nine!

Conclusion

The question still stands. How many meals should you have in a day? The answer is simple: choose what works best for you! Every individual has a different routine and varying levels of energy expenditure. Also, different people need different amounts of energy to get through the day.  Whatever eating timetable you choose, make sure you take your meals with a bit of everything.

Make sure you eat enough of everything after checking how much you need in accordance with your body build. If you ever feel, however, like you are not getting enough protein in your meals, try out an amino acid supplement, such as EAAs vs. BCAAs. These are particularly important for people who exercise often and do weight training professionally.

Image credit: Eat Per Day via Anna Kucher/shutterstock

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