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How often should I eat if I want to lose weight?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
If you want to lose weight, less really is more in the energy equation. Give your body less and it will work more efficiently, producing higher energy. Put another way, in order to get the right amount of food without overwhelming the body and forcing it to store energy in the form of fat, you should aim to break up your eating into about three-hour increments. Regular meals spaced about every three to four hours apart help keep the metabolism running in high gear. They also trigger the body to use good calories for fuel and give up the fat. This explains why someone who cuts back on overall calories may struggle to make excess fat go away. The body senses the reduction in calories, goes into survival mode, and holds tightly onto its fat. When food intake is spread throughout the day, however, this tells your body it's getting plenty of energy and can let go of that fat! Simply knowing that you get to eat again in a few hours has hidden benefits; you won't have that last-meal mentality that can lead you to overeat.

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Frequency of eating is very important. The more often you eat the better for your metabolic rate however total calories daily must trump everything for weight loss. In an ideal world we would all eat 6 small meals per day of mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with a small daily amount of lean protein; however this isn't a perfect world and we all have to improvise one way or another. Eat frequently to assist in weight loss but your total calories must be less than your daily need to truly lose weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.