Do you remember when standard dietary advice for weight loss was to eat a small meal every few hours?

Most nutritionists no longer recommend that strategy because research has shown it doesn’t work well for most people, particularly those who are insulin resistant.

A recent Japanese study published in the journal Obesity compared the effects of three calorie controlled meals per day with six meals per day on weight loss and hunger levels. The study showed there was no difference in fat loss between the two groups, but there was a difference in hunger.

The people eating 6 small meals per day experienced greater levels of hunger and a bigger desire to eat. The people eating three meals per day felt more satiated for the duration of the day.

This is an important finding. Anyone can stick to a diet for a short period of time if they are motivated, but continuing to lose weight is much more difficult if you are struggling with hunger.

Other studies have also shown that human metabolism is better suited to eating less often. This makes sense because for our ancestors food was simply not available all day, and they probably didn’t have the time to eat so frequently either. That’s the whole purpose of accumulating body fat – so it can be used in times of food scarcity. Of course, with modern living, for most of us food is plentiful and we can eat whenever we want. We rarely need to dig into our fat stores for energy.

You may have heard of intermittent fasting. It is also known as time restricted feeding. There are many variations on the theme but the basic premise is to allow gaps between meals. As long as your three meals are satisfying and contain a good amount of protein and healthy fats, leaving several hours between meals is good for reducing hunger and also improving glucose tolerance. This is important for people with syndrome X.

There is an easy to follow weight loss plan in the book I can’t lose weight and I don’t know why.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.