Eating Three Meals a Day Isn't As Healthy As We Think

Wednesday 11th March 2015

Most people eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as part of a rigid routine. However, experts have expressed a warning that eating three meals a day like this could be causing damage to our health.

The study states that there is in fact no evidence to suggest that eating three set meals every day is advantageous for the body's energy needs. Apparently, fasting and skipping meals may actually be more beneficial for our health than following strict patterns of eating.

Abigail Carroll, Historian, told a journalist that the three meals most people eat each day are cultural rules enforced by European settlers on Native Americans. Her publication 'Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal' tells of how the settlers consumed meals at certain times and this was considered more civilised than natives, who had varied eating patterns in accordance with season changes. Their eating patterns also incorporated fasting.

Carroll said that this pattern is now believed to be healthy, when there isn't any evidence to back the assumption up.

She claims that breakfast is named as the most imperative meal of the day mainly on the part of advertising promotions by juice and cereal companies.

In 2014, the University of Bath carried out a study that found whether a person consumed breakfast or not had no impact on the amount of calories they ate in one day. Those who had breakfast did burn more calories than the people who didn't, but they burned off the calories later on in the day, so the net calorie consumption was no different.

Research from the University of Alabama found that whether a person eats breakfast or skips it made no difference to people who were actively trying to lose weight.

A study displayed in the journal Cell Metabolism has also shown that consuming meals within a window of eight hours a day could potentially help a person to lose weight. Mice that were given a diet that was high in fat in a time frame of eight hours, e.g. 9am- 5pm were slimmer and healthier than those given the same amount of calories right the way through the day.

When obese mice had their eating window condensed to nine hours, they still were able to lose 5 percent within a number of days even when eating the same amount of calories.

Whether a person consumes three large meals each day or six smaller ones does not make any different to their overall intake of calories, according to a 2010 study in the Bristol Journal of Nutrition. No hormonal or weight differences were found between the two groups.

New research advocates that fasting could be healthier than previously believed. Supporters of the 5:2 diet, which involves limiting food to a maximum of 500 calories two days a week, believe that denying the body food leads to weight loss, lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

A 2014 study by the University of Southern Carolina found that two to four days of fasting every six months forces the body into survival mode, which means stores of fat and sugar are used up and old cells broken down.