Tag Archives: nutrient timing

Burn baby burn! The 6 meals a day myth, torched…

We’ve all heard it before, believed it at one point, or are still living by it…“Eating small meals throughout the day keeps that Metabolic fire buring!”Duh right? If we knew anything about anything it makes sense, your metabolism is heightened each time you eat, so eating more often = faster more active metabolism = more calories burned through out the day. But we have to talk about WHY your metabolic rate is raised…

It’s called TEM, or the ‘Thermic Effect of Food’…. basically, every time you eat, your Metabolic Rate is boosted above it’s baseline and energy is expended by your body (calories are burned) to digest the food you ate, convert it to energy and then dispose of it.

  • Approx. 30% of Protein calories you consume are burned via TEM
  • 15-20% of Carbohydrate calories
  • and 3-5% of Fat.

So typically 10% of your total calories in one meal are burned solely through the TEM process.

Let’s look at a 2000kcal per day diet (say 40% Protein, 30% Carb and 30% Fat) broken down into 3 different meal frequency combinations over the course of 72 hours…so 3 days of eating the exact same macronutrients, just in different proportions per sitting and times. Keep in mind that TEF = 10% of calories consumed in one sitting…

Day 1.) Two meals at 1000kcal. 
TEF is 100kcal x 2 = 200kcal

Day 2.) Four meals at 500kcal. 
TEF is 50kcal x 4 = 200kcal

Day 3.) Six meals at 333kcal. 
TEF is 33kcal x 6 = 198kcal ( Round it up alright? )

So regardless of your meal frequency, TEF and your caloric expenditure would be identical…the only real reason I see for eating 6 meals per day would be personal preference or satiety during a cut, but let’s be honest, who the hell wants to eat ‘because it’s time’ everyday for the rest of their lives? 
(…there is something to be said about specific timing of macronutrients through out the day, say based around pre/post work out intake, but this post is solely about the way food affects your metabolism…cool it haterz.)