The Truth About Grazing

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.

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