If you believe all the diet advice you read, you probably think eating three meals a day is key, that breakfast is the most important of these and that snacking may as well be the devil’s work. Well, maybe it’s time to rethink and switch up your eating habits.

B You don't have to stick to three meals a day health and diet studies advice tips.png

Image: Cover Media

Historian Abigail Carroll is looking to dispel the myth that tucking into three meals morning, midday and evening is the only way to eat healthily. Speaking to the Mother Jones website, she claims this idea was actually a cultural construction, imposed by European settlers on Native Americans.

Her book Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal claims eating at set times was seen as civilised, while fasting and changing meals according to seasons was deemed unfashionable.

There’s been plenty of evidence that breakfast may not, in fact, be the holy grail of health and weight loss. Last year a study carried out by the University of Bath found whether or not someone skipping the first meal of the day had an impact on calorie consumption throughout the rest of it.

“Contrary to popular belief, there was no metabolic adaptation to breakfast, with limited subsequent suppression of appetite,” it claimed.

This goes against previous advice that breakfast kickstarts the metabolism and will stop you from snacking later on. Although of course it’s better to have something healthy first thing than gorge on crisps and biscuits later.

Whether you prefer three large meals or several smaller ones is also personal choice and may not necessarily make a difference to weight loss. Eating six meals spread throughout the day keeps your metabolism going and is particularly beneficial to anyone who suffers with low blood sugar.

If you find your stomach rumbling between meals, consider portioning two or three smaller ones and taking them into work. As long as you keep each portion to around 300 calories, you shouldn’t see a change to your waistline.

And people who think fasting is a bad idea should just look at supporters of the 5:2 diet, where for two days a week its followers limit their calories to 500 and eat normally on the remaining five.

When you eat therefore seems to be one of the less important parts of weight loss. Instead, concentrate on building exercise into your day and keeping your meals as balanced as possible. Aside from that, do whatever feels right for your body. — COVER MEDIA