Published on
September 7, 2021
Frankie Tommy

Frequency of meals – 5 meals a day Vs 3 meals a day


Another age old debate that is a nutritionist’s nightmare!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this article, I’ll start by stating that everybody is different and what works for some, may not work for others.

This is not just about food and how often you consume meals but with every aspect of life. From learning techniques to supplementation, not every strategy or method of dieting will work for everyone. You have to find the one that works for you!


So here we go, for fat loss, 5 small meals a day or 3 medium meals a day?

I’ll do this the easy way; I’ll present the facts for both sides first and then provide an explanation for what I think is best for fat loss.


5 Meals day

  • Smaller meals means hunger is on and off all day (you don’t really ever feel full)
  • Metabolism is steady and raised only slightly with each meal
  • Metabolism is elevated for longer throughout the day
  • Calories per meal are lower and diet has to be stricter
  • Food going in has to be very clean due to shorter durations between meals

3 Meals a day

  • Duration between meals are longer so metabolism spikes are higher
  • Larger meals gives feeling of satisfaction (less hunger throughout the day)
  • Longer duration between meals causes a semi-fasted state which means calories burned between meals is higher.
  • Calories from fat have greater time to be burned between meals.
  • Macros need to be manipulated and altered properly throughout the day in order to maximise fat loss.


So, there you go. That’s the 5 vs 3 facts summed up. Time for a professional opinion and bare in mind this for fat loss, not building muscle. If this was muscle building or bulking, I would preach 5 meals a day (probably more) all day long!

Both sides have both points for and against but I would have to lean towards 3 meals a day for fat loss. Solely down of the spikes in metabolism and the lower chance of snacking due to satisfaction.

A semi-fasted state will allow for greater fat loss and also increase insulin sensitivity.


The way I have always dieted is 3 medium sized meals, one carb heavy (breakfast), one a combination of both fats and carbs (lunch) and then finally one mainly all fats (evening meal).

If performing fasted cardio upon rising, this method will prove extremely beneficial as the first 20 minutes of cardio is burning the glucose in your blood from previous meals. This time is greatly reduced and the body will be forced to use fat stores as fuel, simply down to there are very little carbs in your system.


Ryan Maude BSc – Nutritionist

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