2 meals a day or 3?

Right now, I feel like it's easier to stay under my caloric budget if I eat 2 big meals a day than if I eat 3 smaller ones. However, I wonder if this is only temporary. Bigger meals stretch your stomach over time (I think), causing you to eat even more to feel satiated. So I'm not sure if 2 big meals a day is a good long-term strategy.

Anyone got personal experiences with this, or better yet, links to relevant studies?

Comments

  • It's called TRE (time restricted eating) or intermittent fasting. It's a pretty popular and successful weightloss technique. There is a meta analysis here - you have to create an account, but it's free. Also, google Jason Fung - or search for him on YouTube.

    Personal experience: I read Fast800 in December 2019, for the first month I ate one or sometimes two meals a day, eating to satiety at least once a day, sticking to nutrient dense, low carb foods. I ate between 500-1300kcal a day, averaging probably around 800.After that I moved to a more standard low carb/ketogenic diet, naturally fasting - and I did a few extended fasts. I still usually only eat once or twice a day, whenever I get hungry.



  • @maxb

    If eating 2 meals per day works for you (and you're not binge eating and meeting your nutrient needs) then feel free to continue this dietary pattern. Your stomach is designed to stretch... As long as you aren't eating to the point of discomfort, it's unlikely that you will forcibly increase your stomach size.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • @jefmcg
    @Susan_RD_101

    ... Never mind. It turns out I miscalculated my calories and was actually way over budget during those 2MAD days. So I'll be sticking with 3MAD.

    I don't know how 1MAD people do it. Going hungry all day until dinner. Seems rough.

  • You aren't hungry all the time. If you aren't sugar fuelled, you aren't on an blood sugar roller-coaster. I eat when I am hungry and it's convenient.

    But hunger is in waves. You get hungry, but if you can ignore it for a few minutes, it goes away again, for hours. I am hungry about as many times a day when I fast (multiday) as I was when I ate 3 meals and 2 snacks. Back then, I would eat and the hunger would go away. Now I wait, and it does.

    If you are mainly carbohydrate fuelled, fasting is much harder.

  • @maxb

    I encourage people to ask the following question:

    "Does the way you eat enhance your lifestyle or has it become the focus of your life?"

    At the end of the day, the goal of eating well is to feel awesome and do awesome things. As long as your diet supports this (and you're meeting your nutrient needs) you're good to go!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Diets do not work. Change your lifestyle and decide how you want to eat the rest of your life. Enjoying the stuff you love now and then. Thats the only way you will change your body.fasting is a short term solution, but will go right back to where you are at.

  • @Onedayatatime

    Look at my pictures above. Fasting works, and works better than calorie restriction. I've been maintaining for 18 months, no problem.

    CI/CO is a short term solution, it's why almost everyone is fat these days. I have lost weight many times that way, only to put it back on as soon as I stop focussing on diet. Fasting is a lifelong solution.

  • This will sound simplistic, but most folks I have ever met that did NOT have a weight issue seemed to follow two basic themes - (1) eat when you're hungry (ignore the clock) and (2) Stop when you're full. I have problems with both of these.

  • Honestly it’s the law of thermodynamics. Weight gain is a surplus, weight loss is a deficit. It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat a day. Fasting doesn’t defy the law of thermodynamics. its all calories in calories out. The reason fasting works is because it’s harder to eat in a surplus with only 1 or 2 meals a day. Whether you realize it or not this is literally all weight gain, maintenance or loss is. This is literally how the human body works. Food is energy. It’s either stored or used. It’s called energy balance. You will lose the same amount of weight whether it’s 10 meals a day or 1 if calories are equal.


  • @ConcordTom

    It's helpful to remember that the food industry is designed to make you want to eat, even when you're not hungry.

    If you struggle with overeating certain foods, I suggest thinking of ways you can add a lot of physical space between you and the food (with the ideal being only going out to buy one item of the food when a craving hits).

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • edited January 4

    @D33

    People say "1st law of thermodynamics" as if it's some great insight, rather than stating the obvious. Yes, I lost weight because I ate less than burnt, but so?

    It's like asking why the audience at a show is getting smaller. Yes, it's because more people left than entered, but that is not useful. You want to know why they left.

    Or asking why these men are different sizes!

    Yeah, one obviously ate a lot more excess than the other, but you don't think that's the reason he's so tall. Or do you? Do you think you could grow that tall if you ate a lot?

    And a pregnant woman has certainly been eating more than she is burning. I guess that is why her belly is so large.

    No, in both cases it's hormones, controlling the appetites and driving the growth. As it was with me.

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