How many meals you have each day can help you get a six pack by boosting your metabolism and minimising fat storage, but it can also have the opposite effect if done incorrectly. This is because your body’s preferred source of energy is glucose, which is stored in muscle and your liver, but because there is only a limited amount of space the excess has to go somewhere else. If you’re a man it tends to go to your stomach, if you’re a woman it tends to go to your thighs.
Either way it goes there as fat.
To put in another way, imagine you need 2,500 calories a day but your muscles and liver can only store about 400 calories worth of glucose. As you go about your day this store empties in about 3 hours, less the more physical activity you’re doing, so if you have a 400 calorie meal there is room to store it all.
If you eat six meals a day, each 400 calories, every three hours, there will always be sufficient room.
On the other hand, if you aim for 2,500 calories a day but only eat 3 meals, that’s more like 800 calories per meal. But your muscle / liver store only has room for 400, which means the excess 400 calories has only one place to go – your fat stores.
Some people get all their calories in 2 or even 1 meal a day and wonder why their calorie-controlled diet isn’t working properly.
But this isn’t the only reason to control how many meals you eat.
In order to get the meal you’ve just eaten from your stomach and into storage, your body releases insulin. The bigger the meal, the more insulin is required. The unfortunate side-effect of all this insulin sending everything into storage is that for a couple of hours you’ll feel very tired, lethargic and unable to concentrate. If you eat smaller, more frequent meals however, less insulin is required and so the negative effect it has on your energy levels is also less.
As if all that wasn’t enough to convince you to be more aware of how many meals you have, there’s more. Getting a six pack isn’t just about getting enough protein, getting the right amount of calories, or lowering body fat, it also involves getting the right nutrients. By this I mean vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The smaller the meal, the more efficiently this is done. And the more often we get them throughout the day the better.
All it takes is to divide your total daily calorie needs by six and then eat that many calories every 3 hours, each containing the correct proportion of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
As always, leave a comment if you’ve any questions or feedback.