A common Belief that you should eat many small meals throughout the day in order to “keep metabolism high” is a persistent myth that is NOT based on scientific evidence.
This has actually been put to the test and refuted multiple times. Controlled studies where one group eats many small meals and the other the same amount of food in fewer meals show that there is literally no difference between the two (1, 2).
In fact, one study in obese men revealed that eating 6 meals per day led to less feelings of fullness compared to 3 meals (3).
Not only is eating so often practically useless for most of the people out there, it may even be harmful.
It is not natural for the human body to be constantly in the fed state. In nature, we used to fast from time to time and we didn’t eat nearly as often as we do today.
Several observational studies show a drastically increased risk of colon cancer (4th most common cause of cancer death), numbers going as high as a 90% increase for those who eat 4 meals per day compared to 2 (5, 6, 7).
Bottom Line: There is no evidence that eating many small meals throughout the day is better than fewer, bigger meals. Not eating from time to time is good for you. Increased meal frequency is associated with colon cancer.