Health Myths Debunked: Does eating 6 small meals a day speed up your metabolism?

by | Aug 26, 2016 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

At Noom, we’re dedicated keeping up with the latest scientific evidence to help equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed in your healthy lifestyle journey. So, today we’re kicking off a new monthly “Health Myths Debunked” series, where we’ll demystify one common idea or belief that’s seen, heard, or talked about in the health and wellness scene each month.

Does eating 6 small meals a day speed up your metabolism?

We get this question a lot!

Let’s take a look at whether this popular belief has any merit at all.

The Myth

Eating 6 small meals a day will speed up your metabolism.

The Background

Our metabolism is often described as a furnace — it’s what converts food into the energy our bodies use to fuel our daily lives. This has lead to the idea that eating more often will “fuel the fire” and keep our metabolism revved throughout the day.

The Facts

Your metabolic rate is mainly determined by factors like your age, sex, race, genetics, and more — not how often you eat. And whether you’re eating or not, your metabolism is constantly working. In fact, it takes about 24 hours without food for your metabolism to show any signs of slowing down! While there may be other possible benefits of eating more regularly throughout the day, like weight control, blood sugar regulation, satiety, and more, there is no evidence that eating 6 small meals a day versus 3 larger ones, for example, will speed up your metabolism or help you lose more weight.

The Bottom Line

If you consider yourself a snacker, perhaps planning 6 smaller meals a day can help keep your appetite at bay. If you consider yourself a volume or “hearty” meal eater, eating 3 larger meals a day may help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Find what works for you!

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