Digestive Health

Several Small Meals Or One Or Two Large Meals A Day? Which One Is Healthier?

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 16 February 2023, Updated on - 20 April 2023

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There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Different people have different needs and preferences when it comes to their diet. Some people may find that eating several smaller meals throughout the day helps them feel more satisfied and maintain their energy levels, while others prefer to have one or two larger meals. However, nutritionists believe that meal timing is important as it may help regulate body weight, blood sugar, hormones, cholesterol levels, sleep patterns and body metabolism. Hence, the debate trickles down to - which is better for maintaining a healthy body weight - eating several small meals a day or eating one large meal 2-3 times a day?

Meal Frequency & Weight Loss: The Connection

Today, obesity is growing at a rapid pace, worldwide. To manage weight gain, many fitness communities have come up with their versions of eating frequency. Earlier it was believed that eating several small meals a day can help prevent overeating and keep the body's metabolism working throughout the day. However, more recently there is a rising trend of eating one or two large meals a day and fasting for an extended period, which has gained popularity among fitness enthusiasts who aim at reducing body weight. 

In a study, which was focused on two groups, one consuming several small meals a day and another eating two heavy meals a day, no significant difference in weight loss or fat loss were noticed. So, at the end of the day, it all comes down to individual preferences and dietary requirements.

Who Should Opt for Several Small Meals?

Having several small meals a day instead of one or two heavy meals is a nutritional therapy recommended to individuals suffering from chronic pancreatitis, gastrointestinal issues and anorexia or undergoing chemotherapy. Eating several small meals decreases bloating by improving digestion, and helps individuals easily meet the required caloric intake.

Who Should Opt for Fewer Larger Meals?

These days, individuals who are sincerely dedicated to weight management often restrict themselves to eating two meals a day or practising intermittent fasting. Besides, some people also use intermittent fasting to find relief from chronic conditions like high cholesterol levels, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and arthritis. But it is definitely not meant for everyone. The best approach is always to listen to your body and experiment with different eating patterns to find what works best for you. It's also important to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs, regardless of how many meals you eat per day.

However, before opting for several small meals or one big meal a day, it is recommended to consult a nutritionist or dietician.

Consult An Apollo Dietician


1. Why is it good to eat several small meals a day?

Though this is not a particular recommendation for everyone, often people prefer several small meals to keep better control of their blood sugar levels and easily digest food.

2. When should I eat my first meal?

It is recommended that you have breakfast within two hours of waking up for a healthy metabolism.

3. What is intermittent fasting?

It is an eating pattern where people strictly limit their food consumption to a particular period of the day and follows the same for weeks or months.

4. What time should you stop eating?

The last meal of the day should be eaten two to three hours before sleeping.

5. What is healthy eating?

Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods that meet your micronutrient requirement is considered a healthy eating habit. A proper diet should be a well-balanced combination of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

Consult An Apollo Dietician


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


Digestive Health

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