Eating Frequency- Does it really matter?

10 years ago it was absolutely mandatory that you eat every 2-3 hours.  Every fitness professional told you how your metabolism would increase as it was like throwing "kindling on the fire" rather than putting a huge log on.  This stimulated a different way of eating for many people.  Along with different came a much more challenging way of eating.  It is not easy to eat 7 meals a day.  I remember how I used to put a timer on my phone to remind me every 2 hours to eat.  I was certain that my body was in a catabolic state if I went even 2 hours and 1 minute without food.  Many companies have made a great deal of money on this and continue to thrive.  Meal management bags with 6 different slots would have you believe that you should have 6 meals a day.  So what is the big deal, does it really matter that much?

The latest research has me putting my head in the palms of my hands.  We now have some pretty solid research that meal frequency does not make as big of a difference as we once thought.  In fact, there appears to be no difference in metabolism on those who eat 2-3 meals per day compared to those who eat 6-7 meals per day.  The thermic effect of food remains the same based on the overall calorie expenditure.  So does this mean it is fine to eat 2 meals per day?  Personally, I still prefer meal frequency for a few reasons.

1) I find that it improves my energy when I eat less quantity of food more frequently.  While it may not have a direct impact on metabolism, I find it has an indirect impact on my energy levels as I don't have the same high/crash as when I do larger meals.

2) Improved digestion.  My stomach seems to appreciate a lower serving of food.

3) Less likely to binge.  If I go too long without eating I am pretty easily lured to that fast food drive through as I look to cure my "hangry" in a hurry.

4) I look forward to food!  I truly do like to eat and, by now, it is a habit for me.  I like to eat and make it a frequent occurrence because I legitimately enjoy it.