In the world of nutrition different practices have come and gone, others have always remained. One of the principles I’ve always stood by is high meal frequency, eating every 2-4 hours.
I thought I’d give you a brief overview of why missing meals is to always be avoided!
Muscle Protein Synthesis
There is no questioning the fact that eating more frequent meals which are high in protein aids overall muscle protein synthesis activity. Even if the same protein intake is achieved throughout the day, eating it in smaller more regular intervals has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle protein synthesis.
This is crucial for those on a fat loss transformation or lean mass phase because ultimately you want to do everything possible to retain quality tissue. Do not allow yourself to go past the 4 hour window without eating a high protein meal!
Blood Sugar Disruption
By frequently “topping up” your nutrient into throughout the day it’s far more likely you’re going to experience more stable blood sugar levels. For instance, if you don’t eat for 6 hours you usually feel extremely hungry, low on energy and sometimes even nauseous. The kind of feeling when you wake up in the morning in need of food! None of these feelings are conducive to high performance in the gym or even in day to day life.
Provided the composition of your meals are correct for your needs in terms of fibre, protein, EFAs and quality carbohydrates then more regular meals should help stabilize your blood sugar levels. As a result you should feel more satisfied and energized, making you less likely to:
- Perform badly in the gym and therefore fail to progress
- Feel the need to cheat because you’re cravings go through the roof
If you’re missing meals that means you’re going to have to double up or even triple up on meals later to achieve your required macro and micro nutrients for the day. The issue with this is that your digestive system isn’t necessarily going to cope as well when you’re taking this volume of food in all at the same time.
In my experience people report far better digestion and less gastric discomfort when they’re consuming smaller, but more frequent meals.
by Neil Hill