Bottom Line: It's Up to You
Ultimately, the choice of how many times a day you should eat boils down to personal preference. You should listen to your body — you should eat when you get hungry and stop when you're satisfied. If you get hungry frequently throughout the day, then it might make more sense to eat five smaller meals or at least a couple small snacks in between meals.
"If you do choose to forgo snacking and opt for just three meals per day,
make sure each meal is well balanced with a good source of protein, healthy fat, and fiber to ensure you stay satisfied and energized in between meals," Erin explained.
Your body also gets used to a routine, depending on how often you eat. "When you eat regular meals at similar times, your body is ready for it and your enzymes and digestive juices show up, Ginny K. Mirenzi, MS, RD, CDE, Education Coordinator at the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. "You develop a hunger for meals at those times. Also, your body gets used to the amounts you eat, and can be satisfied with smaller meals."
At the end of the day, weight loss comes from eating in a calorie deficit; whether you eat them spread out throughout the day in five meals or three is up to you.