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Eating more might add up to weighing less

Fitness Answer Man

Fitness Answer Man

June 23, 2008

The most basic element of fitness nutrition is meal frequency. The ever popular "3 squares" a day concept doesn't cut it anymore. The consensus of researchers is that eating four to six smaller meals a day is most effective for fat loss and muscle building. This is possible, and yes, it does make sense. Let me explain.

Eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours will do a number of things to help you reach your goals. It will keep the nutrient flow to your muscles steady and stable throughout the day. When eating only two to three meals, you force your body to go without essential nutrients for six- to eight-hour periods. You need a steady, constant release of protein, carbs and fats throughout the day. Once you start feeling hungry, it's too late. Your body already has started tapping into your muscles for the nutrients it needs to maintain balance.

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Another benefit to eating more frequently is that you will use more of the calories you eat. Your body will metabolize the food that you consume at say, Meal No. 1, in time for Meal No. 2. Increasing the rate at which your body metabolizes food is the same thing as increasing your metabolism.

Goodbye slow metabolisms!

When eating two to three infrequent meals, your body metabolizes that food slower. It doesn't know the next time it's going to get fed. So it stores more calories as body fat.

One last benefit of frequent eating is that you won't have to feel starved between meals. Lets face it, when eating only lunch and dinner, by 10:30 a.m. you're hungry, and when the 12:30 p.m. lunchtime rolls around you eat enough to feed a small country. But, like clockwork, 3:30 p.m. rolls around, and you're hungry again. By dinner you can't wait to eat everything on the table, and maybe even the table itself.

The point is, frequent eating will help you control these cravings.

Eating six meals a day takes planning. The menu for the next day should be predetermined, and cooked in advance if possible. With today's availability of Meal Replacement Powders, bars, and on-the-go supplements, it's easier than ever. Good luck, and good eating.

Chad Smith is a local certified personal trainer and fitness expert. He can be reached via e-mail at fitnessanswerman@live.com.

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