? - 4 to 6 small meals vs 3 large meals a day?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 10/6/2007 1:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Which do you all find works better for you - 4 to 6 small meals or 3 large meals a day?

History - I have IBS symptoms b/c I've had my sigmoid area removed and 15 inches of my lower colon (rectal tumor/cancer in 1999). Also I had my gall bladder removed during my colon resection (docs discovered I had "hundreds" of gall stones, a gall bladder attack situation waiting to happen they said). I am now left with multiple bm's per day, at least a dozen. Small in amount, but I need a bathroom after each meal and it's not all at once, the bms are spaced out for an hour or more (if I have a very large meal, they can last a long time).

I've held a part time job for almost 2 years now (formerly stay at home mom, daughters 17 and 20 now). My hours - 9:45 to 1. Middle School Cafeteria (yep, lunch lady checking in). My job hours are absolutely perfect for this situation. I get up at 5:50 with my daughter who is still in HS and eat right away. If I eat by and finish by 6:30 or 7, I'm done in the bathroom by oh 9 or so, at the latest).

I eat a very small meal in the morning, half a bagel or english muffin, or banana or vanilla yogurt. Light lunch, half a turkey sandwich, or banana, or small salad. But by dinner, I am so hungry and I end up eating a fairly large meal.

Lately my dinners have brought on D or dumping. Each time I am home, thankfully!

Just wondered if the majority of members here find that small meals work better on the GI tract, instead of eating a large meal, which probably overwhelms the gut. I think I might need to have a late afternoon snack - either yogurt, small applesauce cup, crackers, etc. Then a light dinner with small amounts.

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/6/2007 2:08 AM (GMT -7)   

It really depends on your caloric needs.  A marathoner will need more calories than someone sitting at a desk all day.  Are you hungry during the day, or do you feel okay?  Really I think you just need to listen to your body closely and figure out what it's telling you. 

The first thing is, you need to figure out what your caloric intake should be - then from there figure out how far apart you need to space your meals.  I like to figure out how many calories I need to fulfill my body's requirements (about 1600, more or less) and then go from there. 

If you've had a part of your colon removed, I would imagine that more meals (fewer calories per meal) spread throughout the day would feel better on your system than fewer meals (more calories/meal).  That's because your body will "adjust" to the intake but not have to pump out as many bile salts, etc. when you eat.  But it also depends on the content of your food (in terms of carbs, proteins, and fats).

It's quite complicated.  The best thing to do, if you've had a section of intestine removed, is to see a nutritionist or a GI about it and get their opinion (as always)!

Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 10/6/2007 10:39 AM (GMT -7)   
In my opinion everyone (healthy or not) should be eating smaller meals, it's much easier on the digestive system.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 10/6/2007 12:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree smaller meals works better.......I too have IBS.Greasy foods can cause a bunch of problems too.........

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