A recent article outlining the history and cultural influences that have shaped modern day eating habits argues that the construct of “three square meals a day” we follow today might be more about tradition than nutrition.
The three meals a day framework in America originated from our country’s early European settlers, who were raised to believe that sitting down to eat their meals together three times a day was more “civilized” than the more natural eat-when-you-need-to-eat meal timing they observed in native tribes. This tradition of scheduled mealtimes remains with many of us today.
Over time, as portions and caloric intake at mealtimes have increased, so too has our collective waistline. As a way to trigger a more active metabolism and manage weight, one recommendation for staving off between meal cravings is to eat little meals often (E.L.M.O).
But a 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed there was no weight or hormonal difference between a group of people who ate 3 meals a day and another group who ate 6 meals a day, all having equal caloric intake.
So what should you do?
Don’t think about your eating habits so structurally. The three meals a day schedule is just that – a schedule. It works for some, but isn’t a hard rule.
Instead, focus on HOW you’re getting your calories instead of when. Fueling your body with the right nutrients when your body needs them, rather then when you’ve been told to schedule them, is the best way to increase your metabolism, and prevent over-eating.
Stay Koko Fit!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer