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The Truth About Grazing

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Jul. 17, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM UTC

Eating frequency has no effect on the body’s metabolic rate.

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

One of the most frequently articulated bits of dietary advice is to eat frequent, small meals and snacks throughout the day because grazing increases metabolism. However, according to a new review of the scientific literature on eating frequency published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, eating frequency has no effect on the body’s metabolic rate.

Does this mean you shouldn’t graze? Not necessarily. The review also concluded that eating frequently appears to aid in appetite control, although not enough to affect body composition. Among non-exercisers, frequent eaters are no leaner than infrequent eaters, but, “Increased meal frequency appears to have a positive effect on various blood markers of health, particularly LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and insulin.” All things considered, grazing still appears to be a healthy way to eat—just don’t expect miracles from it.

FILED UNDER: Inside The Magazine / Nutrition TAGS: / / /

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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