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The Bodybuilding Professor
Bryan haycock is an exercise physiologist, university instructor, writer, and consultant for the bodybuilding industry.
Should You Eat 6 Meals Per Day?
Q. Is it really necessary to eat six meals a day rather than three meals for building muscle or losing fat?
A. The short answer is no, but I’m horrible at giving short answers. For fat loss, eating more often (assuming total calories remain the same) only benefits already-lean individuals. Because a lean person can’t provide as much fuel from stored fat (i.e., ~31 kcal per pound of body fat per day), the frequent elevation in insulin and energy from each meal helps to protect muscle tissue from breakdown. It doesn’t accelerate fat loss, however. For fat individuals, it makes no difference at all how many meals they eat during the day. Fat loss depends on total caloric intake and caloric expenditure. Muscle loss doesn’t become significant until body fat levels drop below what can be mobilized to meet daily requirements. When calories are above maintenance, eating more frequently does nothing beneficial except perhaps making it easier for those of us who just can’t cram down really large meals.