Nibbling versus feasting: which meal pattern is better for heart disease prevention?

Nutr Rev. 2009 Oct;67(10):591-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00231.x.


Dietary interventions that limit saturated fat, cholesterol, and energy are generally implemented as the first line of therapy to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Another form of diet therapy that may be effective in protecting against CHD is altering meal frequency without limiting energy. Meal-frequency regimens are classified into two major forms: 1) feasting, i.e., consuming all energy needs in one meal/day, and 2) nibbling, i.e., consuming all energy needs in three, six, nine, 12, or 17 regimented meals/day. Whether one meal pattern, feasting or nibbling, is more effective at improving indicators of CHD risk than the other, remains unresolved. Moreover, whether a dose-dependent relationship exists between biomarker improvement and the number of meals consumed per day also remains unknown. The objective of the present review was to determine which meal pattern, nibbling or feasting, is more effective at improving key indicators of CHD risk in normal-weight and obese, non-diabetic individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronary Disease / diet therapy
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids