Ever taken a weight loss quiz and they ask: “Are you a grazer, or a predator?”
In other words, do you eat six meals a day, or do you eat three massive meals – and then nothing? It’s said that if you’re the former, you’ve unlocked the key to a successful slim-down. Let’s unpack the famed mystery of the Slim All-Day Snacker.
Will eating six small meals a day help your weight loss?
Yes! The grazing gazelles are onto something. “If the six meals are kept small and within your daily kilojoule needs, you will lose weight over time,” says dietician Celeste Naudé. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will keep your energy levels constant, preventing you from becoming too hungry and overeating. It’ll also keep your metabolism on track. “For this reason, skipping meals isn’t a good strategy for weight loss – it can lead to overeating and a reduction in metabolic activity, as the body moves into a fasting state,” explains Naudé. “So at least three regular meals is recommended, but some people find that six smaller meals works better for them.” The composition and size of these meals are key, says Prof Marjanne Senekal, senior lecturer in human nutrition at UCT. “Some research suggests that eating smaller, more regular meals may result in better blood glucose and cholesterol levels. However, eating the same amounts and types of food, but just spreading it over the day in six small meals, will not result in weight loss. You must also consider that being exposed to food choices six times a day may make it more difficult for you to eat less in total – this would definitely not be a good idea if you are a compulsive eater.”