The idea behind the “eat every 2 hours” rule is that frequent eating will keep the body in an anabolic state and keep your fat burning metabolism elevated by keeping you out of starvation mode
This myth is easy to buy into because it seems like it makes sense. By eating frequent, small meals, you’re continuously stimulating your metabolism, and thus burning more calories
In reality, if you keep eating small amounts of food throughout the day, you’ll never burn any fat – this is due to insulin.
Insulin – How it Works: Insulin is a hormone, which means it’s a substance the body produces to affect the functions of organs or tissues, and it’s made and released into the blood by the pancreas
When you eat food, insulin’s job is to break it down into basic nutrients: protein breaks down into amino acids, dietary fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into glucose, which then make their way into the bloodstream.
These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and that’s where insulin comes into play: it helps shuttle the nutrients into cells by telling the cells to open up and absorb them.
Whenever you eat food, your pancreas releases insulin into the blood. As the nutrients are slowly absorbed into cells, insulin levels drop, until finally all the nutrients are absorbed, and insulin levels then remain steady at a low, “baseline” level.
So when you’re constantly eating, you’re consistently releasing insulin, which puts your body into its “absorptive phase.”
Fat Storage: Fat cells, for example, don’t take up or store glucose. Instead, they respond to insulin by taking the fats that enter the bloodstream and turning them into fatty acids, which they store in large vacuoles – a space or vesicle within the cytoplasm of a cell, enclosed by a membrane and typically containing fluid. Thus, insulin promotes the uptake and storage of fat in our adipose tissues. While insulin levels are high, our bodies don’t digest or use fats for fuel.
In summation, insulin inhibits the breakdown of fat cells and stimulates the creation of body fat. Meaning that insulin tells the body to stop burning its fat stores and instead, absorb some of the fatty acids and glucose in the blood and turn them into more body fat.
Glucagon – Insulin, the fat-storage and blocking hormone, has a counterpart known as glucagon – a fat-burning and unlocking hormone. About four to six hours after you eat, the glucose levels in your blood decrease, triggering your pancreas to produce glucagon. This hormone signals your liver and muscle cells to change the stored glycogen back into glucose.
Insulin and Glucagon Study: The Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology conducted a study in which researchers injected one group of rats with insulin and another group of rats with glucagon. The rats that received the insulin gained body fat and ate more. The rats that received the glucagon lost body fat.