Habio Blog

How Often Should You Eat
During the Day?

Many people wonder how many meals a day you should have to stay healthy and in shape. Of course, one size can't fit all. Read this Habio article to discover the optimal meal timing and choose how many meals you should eat a day.
The question of how often you should eat is a common one. Some experts recommend having small and frequent meals. Others recommend large but less frequent meals. Which is really better?
a girl standing near a clock with food and thinking how often should you eat

Having small and frequent meals

Nutrition experts recommend eating three balanced meals and one to three snacks each day. The calories you need depend on many factors such as weight, age, sex, height, and activity level. Nutrition professionals recommend not going longer than five hours without food. Waiting more than five hours without eating (when you're awake) affects a person's decision-making and can make them voracious. This can mean you end up choosing unhealthy foods like fast food and high-calorie treats.

Pros of small portions and frequent meals

Having more blood sugar control

The body turns the food you eat into glucose. Glucose is the body's primary source of energy. When you eat a large amount of food, the glucose levels increase rapidly. Afterward, the pancreas releases insulin that moves glucose to the cells for use when the bloodstream is inundated with it.

When the body has increased glucose levels, the pancreas is likely to produce too much insulin, and this can lead to a low blood sugar level. The effect of this is that the brain thinks you need more glucose and makes you feel hungry again.

Cycling between low and high blood sugar can lead to weight gain. But by eating frequent, small meals, glucose and insulin levels will be more stable.

Weight control

Eating smaller portions can limit cravings, helping reduce overall calorie intake. Feeling full affects how much and how frequently you eat. Having smaller portions gives the body the chance to use it immediately for energy rather than storing it as excess fat.
lunch boxes with healthy food showing how often should you eat during the day

Better digestion

Eating large portions of food can lead to digestive system disorders. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, overeating can lead to discomfort from the extended stomach pushing against other organs.

Overeating can also cause heartburn. When the stomach is full, it pushes hydrochloric acid back up into the esophagus. Furthermore, having large meals can produce excess gas, which can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Eating smaller, more frequent meals instead can help avoid these negative effects of overeating.

Saves money

Eating smaller portions can be especially helpful when dining out. When you are in a restaurant, opt for smaller portion sizes, split a dish with a friend, or order from the kid's menu (if you're allowed). You can also box up half of your meal and save it for later. All of these tips can help you save money, getting two meals for the price of one.

Cons of small portions and frequent meals


Even though eating smaller portions more frequently can help control your appetite, it can also sometimes result in overeating, especially for those trying to control their calories.

Having large and less frequent meals

Another perspective is eating one or two larger meals a day. This gives fewer opportunities for people to eat extra calories throughout the day.

Pros of large and less frequent meals

Burns excess fat

Eating fewer large meals each day means you go longer without eating, and the body burns stored body fat for energy instead of sugar from the food you eat.

Eating larger, less frequent meals may also lessen the risk for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Eating less frequently with two large meals combats metabolic syndrome when someone has a high amount of visceral fat and/or high blood pressure.

Saves time

When you have less frequent meals, it also means less time preparing and cooking. Focusing on two meals per day may also encourage you to choose healthier options.
girl eating a burger in a cafe and thinking about how often should you eat

Calorie restriction

Being strict and disciplined with two meals a day limits your calorie intake too. According to Cleveland Clinic, when a person restricts calories, it can improve health issues like high blood pressure, acid reflux, arthritis, and heart disease.

Harvard Health Publishing has found that cutting calories can also improve someone's mood, sleep, and even sex drive.

Cons of large and less frequent meals


If you are used to eating three times or more a day, it's likely that you'll feel hungry if you skip meals.


You might feel tired, mainly if the supply of energy is not distributed well throughout the day.

Feeling weak and moody

Since your blood sugar is decreased, you may feel weak and moody as well. It's also possible that you'll have difficulty concentrating.

Final verdict:
how many meals should you eat per day?

It all depends on your body and health. It may not be healthy for someone experiencing malnutrition to eat only two meals a day. Similarly, if someone has trouble controlling their portion sizes, eating six times a day may not be right for them. The frequency of meals depends entirely on your body and your health. Consult with your doctor about what will best help you feel energized, healthy, rejuvenated. How many meals should you eat a day? The truth is that it varies, and there's no standard that fits everyone.
a man cooking at the kitchen and thinking how often should you eat


When it comes to nutrition and health, everyone wants the best for themselves. Many people want to know how many meals a day is advisable, how many times a day they should eat, or how many calories they should eat. Questions like these are common.

Small but frequent meals and large but less frequent meals both have their advantages and disadvantages. There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition and health. Instead, do your research and talk to your doctor. Listen to your body and make the best decision for your health. If you have problems with your weight or health in general, your doctor can advise you on the best course of action.
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