Are Two Meals A Day Better Than Three?
The average person eats three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. For years, we’ve been told that eating frequent, smaller meals will boost your metabolism; this is, quite simply, a myth. These days, the debate we often see from our community of curious members is whether two meals a day are better than three. We’ve dissected the latest science to find out the truth.
There may be benefits to skipping meals
TRE (time-restricted eating) is a form of intermittent fasting and a fantastic method of improving your metabolic health. TRE is the practice of consuming all of your daily calories within a window of time, giving your body the ability to rest and repair during fasting periods.
Although the topic is often debated, Dr Satchin Panda found that a 12 hour period away from food is enough to give your body significant benefits. Research is at a relatively early stage, however there is mounting evidence that TRE benefits humans through:
- improved insulin response, reducing type 2 diabetes risk;
- better quality of sleep;
- reduction in inflammatory arthritis;
- maintenance of muscle mass with weight loss;
- reduced risk of brain disease, such as Parkinson’s and dementia; and
- lower risk of some forms of cancer.
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Two meals a day vs three meals a day
Although TRE has extensive health benefits and you may wish to start your eating window later in the day, or end it earlier, there is no evidence to suggest that skipping an entire meal (eating two each day, rather than three in the same window of time) has either a positive or negative effect on your health, providing the overall calorie intake remains the same.
However, many people find it easier to eat two meals over three, while on a calorie restricted diet, like The Very Fast 800, for the following reasons:
- Allows for bigger, more calorie-dense meals; when you’re eating two meals a day, over three, each meal will be bigger to achieve your daily calorie intake.
- Helps to reduce snacking habits; some studies support this by recognising that eating meals less frequently can reduce cravings throughout the day.
- Promotes a smaller eating window; for those looking to reduce their eating window to 10 or even 8 hours, it’s far easier to do so when eating fewer meals each day.
On the other hand, it can often be difficult to ensure you’re hitting nutritional targets when only eating two meals a day; if you prefer to eat two meals a day over three, it’s important to plan each meal with precision to ensure you’re getting the right balance of both calories and protein, which can often be hard to achieve. Without, most people experience fatigue, hunger cravings and muscle loss.
Luckily, the Online Programme now has a solution to help! Our members requested Two Meal a Day plans and The Fast 800 in-house nutritionist has been working incredibly hard to make this possible. Our Two Meal a Day plans have been launched and you can now give them a go with our 7 day free trial. Whether you’re looking to enjoy two or three meal a day plans, you can do so knowing that you’re reaching the right amount of key nutrients and getting optimal results.
I’ve designed these plans, like all of our meal plans, to deliver maximum nutritional bang for buck. When only consuming two meals a day, a balance of calories and protein between both of these meals is especially important to ensure you stay fuller for longer and are energised throughout your day, while still maintaining muscle mass.
Ultimately, these meal plans are designed for your success!
Gabi, The Fast 800 Nutritionist and Recipe Developer
The optimal fasting window
The best hours to fast are the ones that best fit with your lifestyle. We recommend, based on evidence presented by Dr Satchin Panda, that you fast each evening for at least 12 hours. This gives us enough time for our bodies to repair overnight, along with enough hours to run down stores of glycogen and begin burning fat, instead of sugar – otherwise known as flipping the metabolic switch.
It all comes down to you
If you find that you wake up hungry, eat a breakfast high in protein, healthy fats and fibre to avoid hunger spikes throughout the morning. This may also prevent overeating when it comes to your first meal of the day. However, if you find that your hunger doesn’t kick in until later in the day, there’s no need for you to force down breakfast. Regardless of what suits you, The Fast 800 meal plans, available on the Online Programme have been designed to help you stay full throughout the day, following a Mediterranean-style diet that can keep your glucose levels in check and boost weight loss.
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