Don’t believe the hype, dieters. Eating five meals a day won’t make you any skinnier, a new study shows.
Researchers from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom found that despite the popular belief that eating multiple small meals a day will help you lose weight, counting calories is the most effective way to drop pounds. “The size of frequency of the meal doesn’t affect the calories we burn a day,” said the study’s lead researcher Dr. Milan Kumar, according to Medical News Today. “But what matters most for losing weight is counting calories.”
The study, which analyzed 24 women of varying weights, analyzed the number of calories burned by those who ate two meals a day when compared to those who ate five meals, and found no measurable difference in metabolism. Both groups burned the same amount of calories per day. The study also found that eating multiple times a day can increase health risk for the obese. The obese women in the study who ate five meals a day actually increased the likelihood of inflammation linked to diabetes and heart disease.
For decades, scientists have been producing research that disproves the theory that eating several small meals a day increases metabolism and helps you drop weight quicker. As far back as 1993, researchers have found metabolic rate is not effected by the frequency of meals. Despite this information, frequency is often still touted as the best way to shrink your waistline.