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Is 7 Meals a Day the Right Choice For You? (2020)

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Khloé Kardashian is a quite adventurous when it comes to trying things in the wellness world—she’s talked about her experiences doing everything from putting vitamin E on her vagina to her extremely hard-core leg workouts. Now she’s experimenting with her diet too. Her nutritionist Philip Goglia recently told the Daily Mail that Kardashian eats seven meals a day. Well, “meals.” Each dish ranges in portion from a serving fish with vegetables to just a piece of fruit, but she’s pretty much eating every few hours. “We work with each client to determine their metabolic body type,” Goglia says. “Each requires a special meal breakdown based on how that person’s body breaks down proteins, fats, and carbs.”

Seven meals seem like a lot, but Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., co-founder of nutrition website Appetite for Health, points out that it’s really more like three meals and four snacks, and all of them are healthy. If you think about it, that’s only slightly different from the three main meals and two to three healthy snacks most dietitian recommend, she says.

Still, it might seem hard to fit that much food breaks into your day. “Some people do well eating more frequently throughout the day, while others are fine with three meals and a snack,” explains Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., author of Three Steps to a Healthier You. Sonya Angelone, R.D., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agrees. “This works for some people, but it could be too many food interactions for others,” she says. If someone is eating that often—which is about every two hours, “they may be eating too many carbs and not enough healthy fats, protein, or fiber to help them stay satisfied,” says Angelone. It’s also easy to spend a lot of your day thinking about food when you’re eating this often, she says, not to mention the prep time you need for all of those meals. And, if you have trouble keeping your portions in check, eating seven meals a day increases the odds you’ll overeat, Rumsey says.

But the concept works for some people. If you are going to eat more than three times per day, Rumsey recommends making each of those mini-meals smaller than you’d have if you were eating three meals a day. “Pay close attention to your hunger and fullness cues, try to eat only when you are actually physically hungry, and stop when you start to feel full,” she says.

As for the different metabolic types Goglia mentioned, Angelone says it’s not really a thing. “There is not a lot of evidence that there are ‘metabolic types’ that all respond to the same dietary guidelines,” she says. “There are so many factors that affect weight such as your gut microbiome, genetics, your environment, activity, brain chemistry, sleep patterns, etc.” Upton agrees: “There is no evidence-based clinical term for ‘metabolic type.’”

However, Rumsey says most people fall into one of three body types—the ectomorph, the endomorph, and the mesomorph. Ectomorphs tend to be naturally lean and have a higher metabolic rate, endomorphs have a larger bone structure and tend to more easily store fat, and mesomorphs tend to have athletic body types and easily gain muscle mass, she explains. Ectomorphs typically do well with higher amounts of carbs in their diet, endomorphs do better with lower carbs and more protein and fat, while mesomorphs usually do well with a high-protein diet.

Of course, you can easily lose hours wondering about what foods you should be eating for your body type and when, but Upton says the easiest thing to do is to make healthy choices. Eat whole foods, go for a balance between protein, fat, and carbs, and watch your intake of processed food. And if seven meals a day works for you as well as it does for Khloé, well, go for it!

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