Three proper meals beat mini-meals for weight loss

September 22, 2010 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Three proper meals beat mini-meals for weight loss
According to new study findings from researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, sitting down to eat a real meal three times a day may be a better strategy for weight loss than grazing on several smaller "mini-meals".

Overweight and obese men on low-calorie, high-protein diets felt more satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six times a day.

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 27 men who were overweight or obese to eat either a high-protein diet or a normal-protein diet for 12 weeks.
Diets contained 750 fewer calories than each man needed to maintain his current weight.

Starting at week seven of the study, the men either ate their assigned diet in three meals spaced five hours apart, or in six meals eaten every two hours, for three days in a row.

The study participants then switched to the other eating pattern for an additional three consecutive days.

Men eating the higher protein diet felt fuller throughout the day, didn't want to eat as much late at night, and were less preoccupied with thoughts of food than the men who were consuming 14 percent of their energy as protein.

While eating frequency didn't influence appetite in the men on the normal-protein diet, the researchers did find that men in the high protein group felt fuller in the evening and late at night after eating just three meals a day.

While studies on whether eating frequency affects appetite control have had conflicting results, there is a widespread perception that it's better to eat little meals more often.  However eating less, more frequently through mini-meals doesn't seem to be as beneficial as far as appetite control.

These latest findings were published in the journal Obesity.

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