Science suggests spreading meals 6 hours apart is key to fat burn and weight loss

When it comes to nutrition, yes, WHAT you eat is key. But going cold turkey & completely overhauling your food choices DOESN’T GUARANTEE FAT BURN AND WEIGHT LOSS.

In my trainings at Duke Integrative Medicine as a professional integrative health & wellness coach, and in my Functional Nutrition trainings as well, I’ve learned some key nuggets of intel when comes to making changes to up-level our overall health & well-being.

One method my clients have been enjoying lately is not stressing about WHAT they’re eating, but instead becoming more aware of HOW and WHY they’re eating. And in doing so, they’re succeeding with fat burn and weight loss.

Read on to find out why it works …


WHY MIND YOUR MEAL SPAN: It’s important to control your hunger rather than having your hormones or emotions control you.

Recent diets told us to eat every 2 to 3 hours “to keep our metabolism up,” but studies have suggested that’s not biologically true.

BLOOD SUGAR IS QUEEN: You want to keep a steady blood sugar so your body can release fat, protect your new lean muscle mass, eliminate cravings & increase energy. And –> Eating too many snacks disrupts that clean & steady blood sugar level.

MIND BLOWN: In her book Body Love, certified holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque is just one proponent of the theory that fat burn and weight loss happen during an optimal time of 6 hours between meals. 


With complete, nutritious, filling, super-healthy meals you CAN spread your meals 5 to 6 hours apart. Instead of relying on too many snacks, try to eat complete, filling, nutritious meals to satiety (just to full, but not overfull) that contain enough of the following:

  • Protein: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils 
  • Fat: olives, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, avocado
  • Fiber: leafy greens, ground flaxseed, fruits
  • Greens: spinach, kale, romaine, Swiss chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts
  • Complex Carbohydrates: potatoes, squash, oats, couscous, quinoa
  • Flavor: pink Himalayan sea salt, cracked pepper, garlic, cayenne, paprika, ginger, turmeric, mint, lemon, curry, cumin, the list goes on.

BYE BYE, HUNGER HORMONES: You’ll be able to turn off your hunger hormones by eating these full, complete meals, then you can go about your day without being a slave to snacks!


  • Every time you eat, you begin the process of digestion, which requires your body to expend a lot of time & energy to break down food into molecules.
  • Complete digestion can take 6 hours or more.
  • When you snack, you’re asking your body to restart the process it has not yet completed from the last time you ate. This takes energy away from other repairs needed in your bod. And when your body cannot absorb and utilize food — it stores it as fat.
  • You’re also not allowing your bod to burn fat between meals if you eat too frequently.



  • BECOME MORE AWARE of how long you let your body digest between each meal & snack. 2 to 3 hours? 4 – 6 hours? 6+ hours?
  • WRITE DOWN in a journal, on a post-it, or make a mental note what TIMES you eat throughout your day. To start, don’t even worry so much about WHAT you eat, but more so every HOUR you eat. Has it only been 2 hours? Are you truly hungry? Did you eat a complete enough meal?
    • Try giving yourself a 12 hour window to eat, and a 12 hour window to not eat.
    • For example:
      • Breakfast: 7AM 
      • Lunch: 1PM
      • Dinner: 7PM
    • This will elongate your blood sugar curve rather than adding spikes to it. You’ll have fewer cravings, you’ll remain calm & centered, and you can trigger your body to lose weight – because healthy fat burn and weight loss happens BETWEEN MEALS when we have balanced blood sugar and no excess insulin.
    • Essentially, you’re retraining your body how to feel full & satisfied and find its optimal weight on its own.
    • If 6 hours just isn’t working out for ya, even with complete & nutritious meals, try starting with 4 hours, then work your way up to 5, then 6. Keep yourself busy. And remember, every day is different!
    • To get you there, you may need to incorporate a bridge snack to get used to this new method of eating.
    • Consider having a healthy snack several hours after lunch, but several hours before dinner. You’ll need Protein & Fat. Some options include:
      • A hardboiled egg with nuts or an almond butter packet
      • Half an avocado with olive oil & salt
      • Beef jerky
      • Protein Fat balls
healthy treat or snack protein fat balls with plant based protein, walnuts, dates, maca, cacao, coconut oil and more
These Coconut Mint Protein Fat Balls are a balanced snack as you’re working to spread out your meals a few hours longer.


  • Shoot me an email, tell a buddy, or post in the Community what you found.
  • Are you a grazer and never really satisfied?
  • Have you been using the excuse that you’re “supposed” to be eating every 2-3 hours?
  • Get real honest with yourself, be open to trying a new strategy, and have FUN with it! My processes are all about LEARNING, never failing.

Hit me up with any questions if you try this nutritional exercise. More to come on simple tactics to become more aware of your eating HABITS if you’re looking to make changes in your overall health & well-being.
Wholeheartedly in health,

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Katie Hardy is the owner of the mindset-based wellness practice WholeHardy Health, LLC, and founder of the Wellness By Design and Eating Habits Mastery transformation programs. Certified by Duke Health in Integrative Wellness, Hardy teaches women how to show up for their health & wellbeing confidently & consistently so they can thrive in a healthy balanced life by their design – without the stress & guilt. Contact Katie here.


  • Body Love, Kelly LeVeque
  • Duke Integrative Medicine, Professional Health Coaching Manual

6 thoughts on “Science suggests spreading meals 6 hours apart is key to fat burn and weight loss

  1. I have come to the conclusion that while a 16/8 eating regimen may work for some folks, eating at least 6 hours apart works best for my controlling my sugar that was getting elevated. I am so pleased to find this website!

  2. Hi Katie – question on this. If I have coffee with creamer at 5 or 5:30am…should I also eat then and have my next meal at 11:30? Or should I have my coffee with creamer as usual and then eat at say 7am? I would normally have a cheese snack and a 100 calorie pack of almonds as breakfast, just trying to figure out if I should consume it at the crack of dawn or if I can wait. 🙂

  3. Started mid November 2022. 18/6 + no added sugar. Water during the fasting worked for me. Read 8 books on the subject, notably Metabolical. That was key! Called my meals 1 and 2. Wrote out meal plans with approximately calories and fat. Avocado and olive oil my go to. 60 pounds gone to date and now I can do 30 full out jumping jacks as one of my exercises being very careful to keep my pulse rate between 102 and 125-130. Then resting etc. I’m 74 and this has been a game changer. The current science is evolving rapidly so for me reading is important to keeping me on track. Learning to avoid being baited in conversations often by well meaning people.
    I’ve disposed of large clothing and feel terrific. This is a lifestyle change takes effort and I’m enjoying the benefits.

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