There is an almost religous debate going on between people that claim you should be grazing (more Zone’ish folk) and those that say you should be eating no more than 3x per day (more Paleo’ish folk). IMHO this is a bit like discussing how many angels can dance on a pin. In the spirit of Paleo 2.0, I’d say that this is one of the parameters that are up to you personally, it is not core of the diet.
But seriously: I do believe that once you are getting in the realms of intermittent fasting – ie eating 2x per day or less – this might be different, in particular if you are on low carbs because you might really go into a heavy fat burning and even ketosis state. I do however strongly believe that there is no fundamental difference between eating 3x and 5x per day.
The proof? Well – whilst loads of people have an opinion, noone seem to have any data, and there are as many zealots for 3x as there are for 5x. So in the absence of any real data, and with the zealots divided, I would say – follow your gut, or your belly as the case may be.
I certainly have made good experiences with grazing – this is how I lost 30kg of fat, on more or less a Zone’ish diet (1600-2000cals, 1/3 each of carbs/fat/protein). I might also have lost them on a low carb paleo diet eating 3x / day, but this is not what I did.
My point is: grazing works for some people – and it does keep the hunger at bay. I remember that even on 1600cals I was usually satisfied after each of my meals or my snacks, and that it usually lasted until the next one was due. This really only changed once I started to transition from Pilates and sissy weights (bosu ball – dont ask) to real weights. Once I was squatting heavy weights every other day my 1600-2000cals were just to low.
So my recommendation – dont get too hung up about 3x or 5x per day – just do what feels right for you and ignore all those who want to tell you how wrong you are. Now of course, if you want to give IF a try this might be a different story – but I havent tried it yet so I will keep quiet on this one