How much, how often?

Big meals versus small meals

By
October 24, 2011

In the recent New York Times Sunday magazine devoted to food, health reporter Gretchen Reynolds briefly noted a Purdue University study that concluded a conventional meal pattern of three squares a day was actually a perfectly reasonable way to eat.

Why is this surprising? Because, as WebMD noted, many health specialists advise eating six small meals a day to avoid overeating and encourage weight loss. The study, heavily promoted back in March, declared that eating three regular-sized, protein-rich meals a day was more satisfying (and therefore less likely to lead to overeating) than eating six smaller meals throughout the day.

Caveats: The study followed a group of men only, no women. And as Reuters noted, the National Pork Board and the American Egg Board funded the study, so it’s not surprising that the study’s authors recommended that dieters should consume lean pork and eggs.

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