One of the most common concerns my clients have when starting a diet program with me is the amount of times you must eat in a day. So I decided to put together a little information on why it is so important to start eating more often instead of starving your body.
The body is a complex machine, and what works for some may not work for others. But in general, once the body is not receiving enough calories to keep up with it's daily needs, it switches into a conservation mode, or "fat storage" mode. The body begins to slow everything down, including fat burning.
The body burns carbohydrates first (stored as glycogen in muscles and liver), proteins, and then fats preferentially in that order. Glycogen depletes rapidly, so within 12 hours, if you do not add any additional carbohydrate sources to your diet, the body will switch to protein because basically, it's the next most economical source. This will cause muscle wasting if you are not eating enough protein in your diet. This waste will occur in situations where you are either fasting or starving yourself. Last, but not least, is fat. Fat is a highly coveted energy source in the body due to it's nutrient density, so more than likely you will lose muscle if you are not eating a good source of protein throughout the day before you lose much fat.
The best thing to do is to eat a nutritious snack or meal 6 times per day. Try to include protein in at least 3 of those meals. The more nutrient dense your meals, the more likely you are to support your body in losing weight.