Do you know that your stomach is roughly the size of your own fist and have a volume about 1 litre? It may seem small but amazingly our stomach can expand and contract according to the amount of food that we eat. So, if you keep on eating huge portion of food during your meal times, your stomach will continue to stretch thus requiring more food to have that ‘fuller’ feeling.
However, it is best to control the food portion (not only because you will grow obese!), that is, to have smaller portion of food. Here are 6 reasons why :
Each time we eat, our body releases blood sugar from the food to give us energy throughout the day (a low blood sugar makes you tired, sluggish and slow). Eating small meals frequently produces a steady stream of blood sugar. Eating larger portions makes blood sugar spike and then crash a short while later. Blood sugar fluctuations can be espcially dangerous to people with diabetes or other insulin-related conditions.
A study in the British Medical Journal found that people who eat 6 or more small meals a day have 5% lower LDL cholestrol levels than those who eat 1 or 2 large meals. That’s enough to shrink your risk of heart disease by 10-20%.
An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) study in 1992 found that people who ate 4 or more meals per day had 3.9% lower total cholestrol levels than those eating 1 to 2 meals per day.
The frequent (small) eaters also had 4.7% lower bad LDL cholestrol levels while their HDL cholestrol levels were only marginally decreased, resulting in an improvement in the HDL/LDL ratio.
In the previously quoted American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) study (Reason 2), frequent eaters also had slightly lower waist-to-hip ratios and BMI (body mass index) levels than infrequent eaters despite eating 28% more saturated fat and consuming 18% more calories than infrequent eaters. (It should be noted that WHR and BMI are measurements of potential health risks)
A New England Journal of Medicine study, which compared the effects of a 3 meals per day diet with a 17 meals per day “nibbling” diet found that the “nibbling” diet results in an 8.5% reduction in total cholesterol, a 13.5% reduction in LDL cholesterol and 15.1% reduction in apolipoprotein-B(ApoB) levels as compared to regular diet.
Note : ApoB is a protein that binds to LDL cholesterol. High levels of ApoB have been linked to greater risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease and it is generally considered to be better predictor of heart disease than LDL cholestrol alone.
Eating small keeps your metabolism (a function of your body that works to digest food) working regularly and efficiently. In contrast, when you eat large meals at more infrequent rate, your metabolism experiences long period of inactivity. When this occurs, your metabolism begins to slow the pace in which it works. This could result in substantial weight gain, potentially leading to obesity.
Research has found that people who eat several different meals throughout the day tend to eat different things at each meal, thus getting a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, fibre, lean meat and dairy products.