Do Regular Meals Help You To Burn Fat And Promote Lean Muscle Mass?

Current understanding implies that an increased meal frequency may not significantly support weight loss. The body of knowledge is relatively limited though and food diary under reporting from participants of the studies i.e. they may be eating too bigger portions (bigger than they actually admit to) to promote weight loss, may be an issue.

What studies do suggest is when energy/calorie intake is reduced, increased meal frequency may decrease hunger, reduce nitrogen (protein) loss, promote lipid oxidation (fat burning), and reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, and improve the insulin response enhancing muscle development and energy levels.

Therefore regular meals may not directly support weight loss, the answer to this is calorie control and energy expenditure, but it may well optimise body composition and boost fat burning. It does seem as though regular meals will support fat burning (if total calorie intake is controlled), aid muscle development through stabalising insulin and reducing protein breakdown, plus small, frequent calorie controlled meals probably reduce the onset of hunger. So for now at least, try to stick to 3 main meals and 3 calorie controlled snacks in between to optimise fat burning and muscle development.


La Bounty, P, M., Campbell, B, I., Wilson, J., Galvan, E., Berardi, J. et al. (2011). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Meal Frequency. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 8:4.

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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