Is it beneficial to eat MORE than 6 times per day?

Question

First I just want to say that I loved your previous e-book (Set Your Metabolism on Fire); loaded with sound knowledge and helpful tips.

Here is my question…It is commonly understood that it is beneficial to eat 5-7 meals per day or every 2 hours.  I have also heard of some people setting an alarm clock for the middle of the night to down a shake (I just have a Casein shake pre-bed).  So I am wondering if you have ever experimented with or heard of someone trying to increase meal frequency past every 2 hours.  For example splitting the same number of nutrients over 10-14 “meals”.  This would mean consuming tiny meals every waking hour.

Thanks so much for your insight and I really think you are the best in the business.  ~  Mathew P.

Answer

As for your question, I actually thought of this same thing when I started bodybuilding.  The problem is, we would soon reach a point of diminishing returns regarding increased meal frequency.

My hunch is that eating 8 times per day (about every 2 hours) is about the max at which we’d receive additional benefit.  (FYI, this is how current Mr Olympia Jay Cutler eats.)  I suspect there might actually be detriment to eating every hour.  Although admittedly just a hunch or theory, there is at least a tad of evidence to support my gut feeling.

Having low serum amino acids levels (as when fasted) helps promote or signal protein synthesis once they (amino acids) are consumed and in the blood available to do their thing.  This is what’s called a negative feedback mechanism.  Point is, we probably can’t outsmart the body that much.  I’d imagine there are also other checks and balances that would keep  hourly meals from working like you and I thought it might.

As for the middle-of-the-night protein drink – I have actually had good success with a middle of the night protein drink (with myself and clients).  However, I’m confident in saying that you should NOT wake yourself up to consume a drink. Have one ready in case you wake up to pee or something.  Sleep is FAR more important than this single surge of amino acids.

Great questions.

~ Dr Clay