Hunger is the best sauce for diners and the arch enemy of dieters. Eating many times daily helps to reduce hunger and take off pounds.
The internal mechanisms designed to protect us against starvation work to our disadvantage when we want to lose weight. The first thing that a conscientious dieter does is eat less. Unfortunately, that's a signal to the body to become more efficient.
Seeing less food on the horizon, the body is more careful with what it has, storing calories against a rainy day. Most of us won't know actual starvation, so the saved calories become unhealthy fat. By eating frequently, we assure the body that there's no need to worry about bad times. It continues to burn calories off willy-nilly.
Frequent meals can be smaller and add up to a lower daily intake. If stomachs are not overstuffed, they shrink, consequently filling up sooner. Dieters are able to turn off hunger signals with fewer calories.
Some researchers and nutritionists argue that frequent small meals don't affect our biology so much as our psychology. Weight loss, they say, is the simple result of what we eat and how much, not when. Their thesis is that long gaps between meals causes mental stress and binge eating.
What to eat is not news to anyone. Fruits and vegetables top the list. Reduce sugars and fats without removing them entirely. Eat from the major food groups daily. Avoid processed foods and pre-packaged convenience items.