Intermittent Fasting Vs Small Meals

Intermittent Fasting vs Small Meals

Andrew Brewer - Intermittent Fasting Expert

Written by Andrew Brewer. Updated on March 2023.

Medically reviewed and fact checked by our team.

Intermittent Fasting Vs Small Meals

There are so many different weight loss plans out there that it can be impossible to know how to choose the right one for you. Intermittent fasting is one of the newest diets, but it’s far more than that. Studies have shown the health benefits surpass weight loss, which is why it’s growing in popularity.

Eating small meals is another common choice that’s thought to boost your metabolism. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a time and a place for eating small meals. Let’s explore the difference between these two plans to help you narrow it down.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been around for a long time, and there’s no sign of it going away anytime soon - and that’s a good thing! One of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. When your body runs out of calories, it burns fat. That would be beneficial enough, but when you reach autophagy, your cells regenerate. Additionally, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and cortisol lower, causing less stress on your body. Your longevity will improve because you reduce your risk of catching diseases like cancer and heart disease. Intermittent fasting can change your life if you follow the plan and don’t cheat.

Benefits of Small Meals

So many of us learned that you eat three meals a day, but often that doesn’t fit in our lifestyles. Small meals throughout the day can help power you through the day and make sure you don’t overeat during mealtimes. You never feel hungry because you are constantly eating. Too, you’ll feel less tired because your energy levels are more steady. You’ll lose weight without compromising muscle mass, especially if you work out. Small meals should be planned to ensure you’re getting the right nutritional balance. Limit any empty calories or high-fat food to prevent any energy crashes.

What are the Differences?

Let’s explore the key differences between intermittent fasting and eating small meals.

  • Diet

Intermittent fasting limits your eating to windows throughout the day or the week. For the best results, focus on high protein, fat, and fiber foods. This will provide sustained nutrition throughout your fast while still pushing your body to burn fat. You will feel hungry during intermittent fasting until your body adjusts to the new schedule.

When you eat small meals throughout the day, you never feel hungry. You are constantly eating, fueling your body with calories and energy. The thought is that you would eat less, but you need to be planful about what you eat during intermittent fasting. If you eat high-protein meals, you’ll feel less hungry. If not, you can easily overeat if you’re not careful. 

  • Metabolism

One of the most common misconceptions is if you eat more often, you will boost your metabolism. This is not true. Small meals have no impact on boosting your metabolism, but intermittent fasting can. Studies suggest that intermittent fasting can boost your metabolism, helping you burn through your food quicker so you can move toward your fat stores. More research is needed to determine how much. 

  • Gut Rest

Constant eating doesn’t allow your gut to rest, which can cause digestive issues. Bloating, constipation and diarrhea can all be treated by resting your intestines, and intermittent fasting can help you do that. Eating small meals will not. Your stomach constantly needs to process food, so it is constantly irritated.

How to Choose?

Your lifestyle plays a huge role in which diet plan will work best for you. If you’re looking to only lose weight, then either will do. However, if you are looking to maximize your health and well-being, getting benefits that far surpass weight loss, then you may want to try intermittent fasting.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at are here with you every step of the way!