Meal Frequency and Health in Adults
Humans have been known to have quite a diverse diet as a species, and with this diverse diet comes a plethora of different eating habits and diets. One aspect of diet that most definitely is not consistent among every single human being is when and how often people eat. Normally, one would think most people eat 3 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, what about the college student who never eats breakfast, or the olympic swimmer who’s eating 6 meals a day? Though it seems eating less meals in a day would lead to lower chance of obesity and better health, increasing meal frequency, with balanced healthy meals, can lessen the risk of obesity, increase metabolic health, and better overall health.
A balanced meal is an ambiguous term, and can be interpreted in probably a million different ways. In this case, as Joda Derrickson states in her article, “Interpretations of the “Balanced Meal” Household Food Security Indicator,” “the term ‘balanced meal’ generally evokes images of a meal containing at least three food groups.” So, a balanced diet would be considered a diet that contains a variety of food groups like fruits and vegetables, dairy, starches, proteins, etc.
Timing multiple meals throughout the day can be difficult, which is why people are generally categorized into three groups, late type and early type. In her article “Role of chronotype in dietary intake, meal timing, and obesity: a systematic review,” Gabriela Teixeira states that,
Late types are more likely to present unhealthy eating habits, such as eating late at night, skipping breakfast often, and eating processed/ultraprocessed foods, while early types are more likely to have healthy and protective habits, such as eating early and eating predominantly fresh/minimally processed foods. Intermediate types tend to have a pattern of health and eating more similar to early types than to late types.
This leads to higher weight and body mass index (BMI) in late type eaters than in early and intermediate type eaters, as Teixeira also states in her findings that, “Late types are also more likely to present higher body weight and body mass index than early or intermediate types.” This makes sense as late type eaters are more likely to indulge in snacking rather than spacing out balanced meals throughout the day.
Meal timing is a vital part of eating habits, as touched upon previously. In her article “Metabolic impacts of altering meals frequency and timing,” Amy Hutchinson states that, “[increased meal frequency] becoming increasingly apparent that meal timing must also be considered if we are to ensure optimal health benefits in response to this dietary pattern,” Hutchinson later states that,
Increased meal frequency has also been advocated as a dietary strategy to promote weight loss by enhancing satiety and reducing hunger, increasing energy expenditure, and improving metabolic health[, and] epidemiological reports have shown a favorable relationship between increased meal frequency, weight and metabolic health
Metabolic health, as shown by these studies, is a very important indicator when discussing overall health as it pertains to your diet, and adequately timing multiple meals throughout the day can help to improve that.
Metabolic health is defined by Milvia Pili in her article “What is Metabolic Health,” as “The absence of metabolic disease,” or having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Metabolic health is different for everyone, as everyone comes from different genetic and cultural backgrounds, and people across the world have limited access to certain foods. In George Thom’s article “Is There an Optimal Diet for Weight Management and Metabolic Health,” he states that, “Human beings prefer things to be simple, and therefore there is a desire to pinpoint the one best diet that solves everything,” hinting that manipulating diets for metabolic health is not as straightforward as it may seem. However, Thom later states that we may be able to categorize people by genotypes, looking at family history of obesity and metabolic health.
With this favorable relationship between lower BMI, better metabolic health, and more frequent meals throughout the day, many are left wondering why this is. Tracking back to Hutchinson’s article about meal frequency and timing, she states, “Increased meal frequency has also been advocated as a dietary strategy to promote weight loss by enhancing satiety and reducing hunger, increasing energy expenditure, and improving metabolic health.” Here she is saying that by spacing meals out and having multiple smaller meals throughout the day, people will tend to have more energy than those who are not practicing these recommended eating habits.
Everyone is different, and that means everyone has different needs in terms of their diets. Whether it is genotypically and culturally, diets will heavily vary from one person to another. Despite uncertainties, one aspect of diet is for sure: increased frequency of healthy, well balanced meals will improves BMI, metabolic health, energy levels, and lower risk of obesity.
Derrickson, J. P., Sakai, M., & Anderson, J. (2008, July 30). Interpretations of the “Balanced meal” household food security indicator. Journal of Nutrition Education. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1499404606601851
Garaulet, M., & Madrid, J. A. (2010, May 24). Chronobiological aspects of nutrition, metabolic syndrome and Obesity. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0169409X10001328
Hutchison, A. T., & Heilbronn, L. K. (2015, July 29). Metabolic impacts of altering meal frequency and timing – does when we eat matter? Biochimie. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0300908415002333
Hutchison, A. T., & Heilbronn, L. K. (2015, July 29). Metabolic impacts of altering meal frequency and timing – does when we eat matter? Biochimie. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0300908415002333?casa_token=nV-4JYfYRSQAAAAA%3A9ezyT79H2ATdKrnuH36CFtiL6o0zKaIzSlLJeiNLVRWr9plgdnacF43Z1cXbt51OLmjjdWlK5do
Teixeira, G. P., Guimarães, K. C., Soares, A. G. N. S., Marqueze, E. C., Moreno, C. R. C., Mota, M. C., & Crispim, C. A. (2022, June 30). Role of chronotype in dietary intake, meal timing, and Obesity: A Systematic Review. OUP Academic. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/nutrit/nuac044/6623541
Thom, G., & Lean, M. (2017, February 15). Is there an optimal diet for weight management and metabolic health? Gastroenterology. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016508517301580
I’m looking to see how my ideas and paragraphs flow into each other, and if I’m doing a good job explaining quotes and definitions
Thanks for the instructions, Duck. I’ll try to follow them and not get distracted.
I see you’ve made some “hand-built” blockquotes. I’ve used the built-in WordPress function to correct them. Let me know if you want a one-minute tutorial.
I also used the Heading 2 function for your title. There’s no need to indent regular text paragraphs.
Duck, if I were teaching you to ride a skateboard, I might have to tell you to put your left foot forward, right foot to the back of the board, keep your left foot planted, and push off the ground with your right. But because you know how to walk, I don’t have to tell you to alternate feet. Your introduction (and the introductions of many of your classmates) are the equivalent of teaching readers to walk.
Like a good tour guide, walk backwards and urge your readers to follow you as you describe where you’re headed.
The observations that people eat different foods, at different frequencies, and that most people think a certain pattern is the most common all fall into the category of “teaching us to walk.”
To answer your questions about whether you’re using quotes effectively to define terms, I will cite your second paragraph.
Your citation technique can be improved in two ways.
1. When you have three sets of quotation marks to juggle, try to separate the title from the quotation so those two sets don’t bang into one another.
2. When your title (which uses double quotes) contains a quoted bit (in this case “Balanced Meal”), the inside set changes to single quotes.
The result of these changes:
As for your use of the quote, you don’t nail it. Derrickson doesn’t clearly claim that she’s defining the term in her quote. She says the term “evokes images of a [particular] meal.” In her next sentence, she could reasonably dispute that such an image is useful or correct. Skeptical readers will notice this immediately.
You make the same “half-claim” yourself right after Derrickson’s. You say a balanced diet “would be considered” etc., which IS NOT the same as saying a balanced diet CONTAINS.
Is that clear?
Want to make some revisions and request another round of feedback?
Just noticed you didn’t count carefully:
If you’ve done a careful categorical differentiation between “snacking” and “increased meal frequency” I haven’t noticed it. It’s essential for readers who think you’re contradicting yourself when you speak well of one and poorly of the other.