Four meals a day might sound like a lot, but it might be good for some of your cholesterol levels, according to a 2020 study in Neuroendocrinology Letters. While keeping the total calories the same, the study had some people eating fewer than four meals a day and others eating four or more. Those who ate smaller, more frequent meals had lower fasting triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol concentrations compared to consuming three or fewer meals daily. However, there weren’t any differences in LDL and total cholesterol levels.
A 2021 article in Clinical Nutrition combined the results of 21 randomized controlled trials on the effect of meal frequency on cardiometabolic risk factors such as cholesterol and blood glucose. A higher meal frequency is associated with lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
Eating one meal per day might not be all bad news if you’re healthy, according to a 2022 article in Frontiers in Physiology. Compared to eating three meals a day, having a single evening meal led to lower body weight and fat mass, increased fat burning during exercise, and lower blood sugar. Eating one meal a day also didn’t impact their aerobic capacity or strength.