Unanswered Does multiple meals provide more benefit than eating 1-2 times a day?

bell1986

bell1986

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Hi guys.

I have currently been doing 2 meals per day. I use to do the classic 5-6 small meals a day but i genuinely find larger meals less frequent so much better. I always felt hungry on the small meals and it's less hassle prepping this and i feel far more satiated.

Recently i have been doing a meal at 5pm and another meal at 9pm and then i fast from 10 - 5pm the next day (So a 17 hour fast). My 2 meals are a fair size and meet my calorie needs to be in a 'daily' surplus (Around 300 calories over maintenance)

If your meeting a 'daily' intake is that all that really matters? If your hitting your macros in those 2 meals then will you just progress at the same rate?

Anyone else running a similar idea?

Thanks!
 
Harishusain

Harishusain

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Everyone responds differently. The current approach has shifted from more frequent/smaller meals to fewer sittings and bigger servings. Eat enough protein with your meal to meet the leucine threshold (minimum 2.5-3 grams) to stimulate MPS, once you have met the threshold, eating more won't increase MPS or prolong it, it usually has a 3-4 hour refractory period.

I'm personally having 4 meals a day, 50-60g Protein in each (Roughly 200g of chicken breast), first two meals (before the gym) are with a GDA and constitute 2/3rd of my daily carb intake roughly. Fat intake is spread out almost evenly throughout the day (minus when I indulge in a steak dinner). Seems to work well for me. But that's just my two cents, figure out what works for you and run with it !
 
Harishusain

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Also worth mentioning, the quality and ratios of your macros will affect results, plenty research out there to back this up. For example, fat can either come from a tub of fish oil, or a tub of icecream, now if you're a hardcore IIFYM fan and it works for you, again, run with it bruh. But personally I not only look better but FEEL better if I source my fat intake from almonds/cashews/fish oil. Same goes for protein sources, I'll always prefer getting it from a nice lean cut of beef over a pack of processed burger patties.

As for ratios, protein has a thermogenic effect and is not biologically convenient for the body to convert into glucose. a higher % protein means less chances of your calories being stored in adipose tissue. Fat is necessary for regulating healthy hormone levels which is imperative to gaining/cutting, and calories, some do well on high carb low fat while others the opposite. That's something you'll have to figure out with time buddy, all the best!
 
The Solution

The Solution

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The real answer is it depends.

What is your goal?
Are you trying to maximize muscle protein synthesis, or are you just wanting to live a healthy lifestyle by reaching macros and targets? If you want to truly get the most bang for your buck with MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) it would be best to split meals up containing around 2.5-3g leucine, allowing protein levels to reach their refractory stages before being spiked again, and then eating another meal.

At the end of the day it will come down to personal preference. Will there be benefits to fasting? Of course. Is there benefits to spreading out your meal intake to say 3-4 meals? Absolutely. What you adhere to best, and can follow through with on a daily basis by being consistent will always reign supreme.

Some good cliffs:
  1. To maximize the MPS response, ~2.5g of leucine is required. This is known as the “leucine threshold”.
  2. A meal containing 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (g/kg BW) from a high-quality protein source will allow an individual to hit the leucine threshold. For most people this is somewhere between 20–40g.
  3. When MPS is “spiked” in response to a protein feeding, it will drop back to baseline within 2–3 hours. This drop will occur regardless of whether protein or amino acids continue to be fed and leucine remains high
Here is a good powerpoint on Optimal Protein Intake for MPS


There are also some great YT videos explaining this as well

Great articles:
 
Resolve10

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If your meeting a 'daily' intake is that all that really matters? If your hitting your macros in those 2 meals then will you just progress at the same rate?
Bolded above does end up really being the big factor.

When losing weight/cutting I think it’s even less of a matter of importance.

When gaining I think theoretically it could hold some weight to have more meals to serve some benefit, but research isn’t really there to fully support or dismiss this yet.
 

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