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International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency

Paul M La Bounty1*, Bill I Campbell2, Jacob Wilson3, Elfego Galvan4, John Berardi5, Susan M Kleiner6, Richard B Kreider7, Jeffrey R Stout8, Tim Ziegenfuss9, Marie Spano10, Abbie Smith8 and Jose Antonio11

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA

2 School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA

3 Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, The University of Tampa, Tampa, FL, USA

4 Dept. of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

5 Precision Nutrition Inc., Toronto, ON Canada

6 High Performance Nutrition, Mercer Island, WA, USA

7 Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, USA

8 The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

9 The Center for Applied Health Sciences, Stow, Ohio, USA

10 Spano Sports Nutrition Consulting, Atlanta, GA, USA

11 Department of Exercise Science and Biology, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2011, 8:4  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-8-4

Published: 16 March 2011


Position Statement: Admittedly, research to date examining the physiological effects of meal frequency in humans is somewhat limited. More specifically, data that has specifically examined the impact of meal frequency on body composition, training adaptations, and performance in physically active individuals and athletes is scant. Until more research is available in the physically active and athletic populations, definitive conclusions cannot be made. However, within the confines of the current scientific literature, we assert that:

1. Increasing meal frequency does not appear to favorably change body composition in sedentary populations.

2. If protein levels are adequate, increasing meal frequency during periods of hypoenergetic dieting may preserve lean body mass in athletic populations.

3. Increased meal frequency appears to have a positive effect on various blood markers of health, particularly LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and insulin.

4. Increased meal frequency does not appear to significantly enhance diet induced thermogenesis, total energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate.

5. Increasing meal frequency appears to help decrease hunger and improve appetite control.

The following literature review has been prepared by the authors in support of the aforementioned position statement.