Six Meals vs. One Meal a Day: Which is Effective in Weight Loss?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

You probably heard about ridiculous diet fads that promise to help dieters lose enormous amounts of weight with the littlest effort possible. It’s no secret that crash diets of any kind are not a healthy way to lose weight. Most crash diets are designed to starve the body and force it to burn stored fat. However, the body will react differently; it will go on “starvation mode,” wherein the brain triggers the body to hold on to as much fat as it can to survive the lack of food.

Six Meals Diet

The popular six mini meals diet has long been regarded as the healthier way to lose weight. Unlike the traditional three meals per day, dieters eat six mini meals throughout the day to satiate the body and prevent overeating. This diet is designed for those prone to snacking. The meals are spread out in four-hour intervals throughout the day.

The concept behind the six mini meals diet is that snacking, as long as it is healthy, keeps the metabolic rate speedy and the body slim. It’s geared to stabilize blood sugar levels. Our blood sugar level is not static. It spikes and dips throughout the day. If the blood sugar dips, we crave for sugary treats. This is the body’s way of normalizing the glucose in the blood. 4 hours after eating something, the body has already digested what you ate. At the five-hour mark, blood sugar level will dip. The brain will then signal the body to eat whatever it can get its hands on. And most times, we turn to calorific, fat-laden snacks to ease hunger pangs. This will inevitably lead to weight gain.

Some dieters also claim that six mini meals help the body burn more fat, curb cravings, and prevent unhealthy snacking. However, while there are scientific researches that may indicate the efficacy of this diet, there is no concrete evidence that meal frequency affects a person’s weight.

Benefits of Six Meals Diet

Six meals diet do have several health benefits. As long as you eat healthy, low-calorie meals per day, you will lose weight—or at the very least—maintain a healthy weight. The body isn’t starved so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of food. This prevents the dreaded “starvation mode” that triggers the body to hold on to as much fat as possible. When there’s food constantly digested by the body, the metabolism is kicking in. If you’re prone to snacking, the six meals diet will help train you to eat healthier snacks so you don’t gain weight.

One Meal Diet

If you’re the kind who’s used to the traditional three-meals-per-day diet, then the one-day diet might sound a bit extreme. It is. The concept is simple; you lose weight by eating just once a day. The principle behind this diet fad is the total opposite of the six-meals-per-day diet.

The idea behind the one meal diet is that it “trains” your body to want less food. When you eat less, you lose weight. The rule of this diet is just as straightforward, you choose the time of the day to eat as much food as you can. But you only eat once.

Benefits of One Meal Diet

The beauty of the one meal diet is that you don’t have to keep track of your progress. You go in, you lose weight — it’s that easy… at least in theory. This diet might not be for everyone but it promises to increase mental alertness, suppress appetite, maintain your goal weight, and burn off stored fat in the body. The one meal diet also helps purify the body of toxins and gets rid of water weight so you don’t bloat.

Which is Better: Six Meals Diet or One Meal Diet?

So if you pit these diet fads together, which one is the most effective? The result might surprise you, neither. Most nutrition experts and diet gurus agree that how much food you put on your plate is not important. It doesn’t matter how many times you eat per day. It’s the kind of food you choose that counts the most, especially if you want to lose weight in the healthiest way possible.

We hate it to say it, but a well-planned balanced meal coupled with exercise is still the best way to lose weight. Eating more fruits and vegetables are perfect for those prone to snacking. The quality of food, the calorie content, and the portion size ultimately makes the difference.

That said, if you’re committed to try the six meals diet or the one meal diet, it’s best to consult your doctor and/or nutritionist first to discuss the risks.

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