With obesity becoming more common around the world, you may have heard about the importance of eating small portions. No matter if you are concerned about your weight, your energy level or nutritional deficiencies, eating small portions can help maintain your optimal health. Research has shown that adults who eat multiple small meals every day tend to eat better, and weigh less, than those who eat fewer but larger high calorie meals.
Decreased Caloric Intake
One of the most important reasons that you should eat small portions is that by doing so, you are decreasing the number of calories you are putting in your body each day, thereby reducing your chances of developing obesity. While you may believe that it doesn't matter how many or what size meals you eat, but rather the total amount of food you eat each day that contributes to obesity, research has actually found that people who eat only two to three large meals per day are much more likely to become overweight than those who eat more frequent, smaller meals.
Burning the right fuel at the right time
The human body relies on two main food-related fuel sources for energy, carbohydrates and fat. Cells in the body make decisions on which to burn depending on what is available. Stored fat fills the need when you’re hungry, while carbs provide quick energy after a meal or during exercise. When cells make the right decision at the right time, blood sugar levels maintain normal ranges. However, when the energy supply exceeds demand – either because of overeating or lack of exercise – cells become confused about which fuel to choose. According to Deborah Muoio, PhD, a Duke researcher who studies metabolic diseases, there is growing evidence to suggest a link between cells choosing the wrong fuel source, and diseases associated with poor blood sugar control, such as diabetes.
Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day will also help to maintain constant blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar helps to give you energy throughout the day. Therefore, a low blood sugar makes you feel tired, sluggish and slow. Each time you eat, your body releases blood sugar from the food. If you eat small meals frequently, you will receive a steady stream of blood sugar, thereby preventing blood sugar "crashes." In contrast, if you eat larger portions only once or twice per day, your blood sugar will spike much higher after eating these meals, and similarly will crash a short while later. This can be especially dangerous to people who suffer from diabetes or other insulin-related conditions.
Prevent Metabolism Crash
Another reason why it is important to eat small portions more frequently is that by doing so, you will help to keep your metabolism running strong. Your metabolism is a function of your body that works to digest food. By eating frequently, your metabolism will be working regularly, and therefore will maintain its ability to do work. In contrast, when you eat large meals at a more infrequent rate, your metabolism experiences large chunks of time when it is not active. When this happens, your metabolism begins to the slow the pace at which it works. This can result in substantial weight gain, and many potentially even lead to the development of obesity.
With all these health benefits from shrinking your portion size and increasing your frequency of eating, why not give it a try!