For those of you who know Lyle McDonalds, you can hate him all you want, but the guy knows a thing or two about nutrition.
While browsing through a number of his articles I've read one where he recommends eating a meal at most every 4 or 5 hours for effective muscle growth. I can't find the article but I'll try to find it and add it.
EDIT OK I found it:
Summary: Theoretical examination of meal frequency. It appears that eating too frequently could potentially be detrimental to the goal of gaining muscle mass in that muscle tissue becomes insensitive to further stimulation by amino acids, increasing protein oxidation in the liver. Eating more frequently than every three hours would seem to not only be unnecessary (based on the rate of digestion of whole proteins) but could possibly be detrimental. Given a moderately sized whole food meal, the body will generally remain in an anabolic state for at least five to six hours (and possibly longer depending on the foods chosen). Conservatively, we might use five hours as the upper limit cutoff for time between meals. This yields a duration between meals of anywhere from three to five hours. This should keep the body in an overall anabolic state without causing problems related to too frequent or too infrequent consumption of meals. Full time athletes with time to eat very frequently are probably best served with the higher meal frequency simply to ensure adequate caloric intake. Again, smaller individuals with lower total energy intakes may want to use slightly larger meals eaten slightly less frequently for practical reasons. Similarly, individuals who work jobs and are unable to fit in a meal every three hours needn’t worry obsessively about becoming catabolic. A solid food meal containing a high quality protein, carbohydrates, fat and some fiber eaten every five hours will maintain an anabolic state readily. >blockquote
I personally consider 3-4 meals/day a workable minimum for most, 3 meals plus a couple of snacks works just fine too. High meal frequencies may have benefits under certain conditions but are in no way mandatory. And, in case you missed it the first time through: eating more frequently does NOT, I repeat DOES NOT, ‘stoke the metabolic fire’.
Well, in my case it DOES stoke the addictive cravings for unhealthy foods. The more often I eat, the worse the cravings get until I am borderline insane. The longer I go between meals, the calmer my appetite gets. My muscles can go hang!
Everything sort of depends on the protein/fat/carb composition of these "4 to 5 meals". If we're talking Krispy Kremes and Dairy Queen Blizzards than you're probably going to get fat, but if you're talking about wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and some greens then you're probably on the right track.
The thing about the 4 meals + thing is appetite suppression; you're always grazing so you don't give your body the chance to start craving salty/sweet items between meals.
Ok guys, I just added the real article on the main post. Here it is anyway:
" Conservatively, we might use five hours as the upper limit cutoff for time between meals.
This yields a duration between meals of anywhere from three to five hours. This should keep the body in an overall anabolic state without causing problems related to too frequent or too infrequent consumption of meals."
If you want to "grow" then you have to provide enough of the building blocks to do so. I really think that is all his comment boils down to. It is how to eat more....It looks like he rejects "stoking the metabolic fire" hypothesis specifically to point out that you're not going to ramp up your burning while eating in this manner, hence excess energy will be put in to building (or storing).
Edit: Just read your link article and I'm not really sure where you come to think he is stating you must eat frequently anyhow? He even points out IF folks for 18hrs a day seem to be doing just fine.
Meat in how many meals a day? 10 Answers