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The Five Meals a Day Plan: Why You Should be Eating Smaller Portions More Frequently

Fitday Editor
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For the past few years, you may have begun to hear more and more people talking about eating five meals a day. While it has become a popular conversation piece, you may not understand exactly how it can help you improve your health. No matter whether you're trying to lose weight, control your blood sugar or ensure proper nutritional intake, 5 meals a day may be just what the doctor ordered.

Weight Loss

One of the most important reasons why you should be eating smaller portions more frequently is because doing so can prevent the development of becoming overweight or obese. Research has found that people who eat only two or three large meals over the course of the day tend to eat more calories than people who break up their calories into five or six smaller meals. This appears to be in part due to the fact that when you eat breakfast at 7:00 in the morning, and then don't eat lunch until 1:00 in the afternoon, you are so hungry that you eat more calories that are necessary to help satiate your hunger. This overeating leads to increased calorie intake, and subsequent weight gain.

Steady Blood Sugar Levels

Another important reason why you should eat smaller portions more frequently is due to the effect that this habit can have on your blood sugar. While blood sugar is typically used most often in discussions about people with diabetes, it is also important for healthy people who do not suffer from this condition. Blood sugar helps to give you the energy and stamina you need to make it through the day. When you eat, your body breaks down the food, and the sugar that is released from food enters your bloodstream and becomes blood sugar. When you eat several small meals over the course of the day, you are getting a steady supply of blood sugar. When, in contrast, you eat only two or three large meals, you get a large dose of blood sugar, and then may not get any for another five or six hours. These large blood sugar spikes and crashes are not only the cause of feelings of fatigue, but can also wreak havoc with many of your body's natural processes.

Decreased Chance of Nutritional Deficiencies

Eating 5 meals a day may actually help to ensure you're getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your body in proper working order. Research has found that people who eat several meals through the day tend to vary their diet more than those who simply eat two or three large meals. Getting the proper amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is essential both for good health in people of all ages and genders.

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