10 Complete Falsehoods About Food

Six Small Meals Are Better Than Three Big Ones
Six small meals don’t make you lose weight faster than three regular ones. iStockphoto/Thinkstock

It's advice that's been circulating for years: Six small meals are better for you than three big ones -- especially if you're trying to lose weight. The "six small meals" method of dropping pounds is based on the idea that by eating more frequently throughout the day, you'll boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Some take it a step further by insisting eating smaller meals mean you'll never feel hungry, which makes it easier to control the urge to overeat (or eat all the wrong things). But is grazing on snacks really better for you than sitting down to three squares a day?

Nope. According to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, obese participants who were assigned three low-calorie meals a day lost as much weight as those who ate the same meals divided into six equally spaced portions. There weren't any differences between hunger symptoms or appetite control, either [source: O'Connor].

Calories are calories, regardless of when they're consumed. You may actually see better weight loss results by doing small bouts of exercise six times a day than having the same schedule for your meals. For example, if you spend 10 minutes exercising throughout the day, you'll boost your metabolism more often than if you devote a full hour at a time [source: Leong].