A lot of nutrition advice involves a kernel of truth and a lot of exaggeration. Let’s take “eat small, frequent meals.” The reasoning goes something like this, each time you eat, your metabolism is stoked. The scientific term is the thermic effect of food. The problem with this advice is that it greenlights eating way too often, the increased “burn” is offset by increased calories. In reality, the increased calories often exceed the sight burn. The other issues with small frequent meals is that it overrides using hunger to guide us and connecting to our body’s signals. Although the advice suggests small, frequent meals, what I see is a snackathon where there are more “fun” foods than nutritious ones.
So, what do I suggest? First, pay attention to your total eating time in the day. A starting point is to condense your eating to 12 hours. Twelve hours from your first bite, of breakfast, to your last bite of food, for the day. Once you’re down to 12 hours, 4 feedings is a good number. Have your 3 main meals and one afternoon snack. And this snack doesn’t have to be a snack food. It could be nuts or jerky but it also could be a cup of soup or bone broth, a couple of boiled eggs, shrimp cocktail etc.
Small frequent meals often results in eating all the time and we all know that’s bullshit, right?