As you may have read in some of my earlier blogs I’ve stated that it doesn’t matter what time of day you consume your calories, their effect on your percent of body fat is the same. That is the truth; however there is a way to increase your metabolism simply by eating multiple and smaller meals daily.

The reason for this is a phenomenon called specific dynamic action or thermal effect of food. Simply put it’s the energy required to digest a meal.

There are muscles all along your digestive tract that contract in the process of digestion. From your jaw muscles through your esophagus, your stomach, and your intestines there is a caloric cost of moving and digesting a meal. Your stomach is especially involved. It has three groups of muscles designed to squeeze twist and compress a meal once it is in your stomach. These are muscles just like skeletal muscles. Well almost like skeletal muscles. They are constructed little differently however they do contract just like other muscles. From basic physiology we know that when a muscle contracts it uses energy or calories.

There is a caloric expense involved of between 20 and 30 cal per meal. So logically if you eat, say five meals a day your thermal effect of food would simply be 5×25 or 125 cal. If you ate only one meal a day you’d burn an extra 25 cal. That’s a difference of 100 cal a day. Over 30 days that’s nearly 1 pound of extra fat you would add following the one meal per day plan versus the five meals per day plan. Over a year, on the one meal per day plan that’s 10 pounds of fat you would add.

Given, that’s not a whole lot but using this information in conjunction with a lower total calorie diet, more activity and better food choices, you get a combined effect that is really the answer. We like to call this a lifestyle change.

There is another bonus for eating multiple meals. As a meal is digested your system extracts the various nutrients needed for maximum health. These nutrients circulate in your body for between two and three hours going round and round and exiting at the various cells where they’re needed. It stands to reason that if you eat five meals you get 10 to 15 hours of vital circulation (5x 2 to 3hrs.) feeding all your cells as opposed to just 2 to 3 hours on the one meal per day plan.

Your system is healthier when you get a more constant and enduring flow of nutrition feeding your cells rather than a shorter period of time each day.