Saturday, February 12, 2011

Is Mini-Meals A Good Way To Lose Weight?

There is a widespread perception that eating little meals more often could be a good appetite control. Even some health professionals seemed to favor such claim, too.

However, the findings of researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, however, did not seem to agree. In their study, men who were overweight and obese and on low-calorie, high-protein diets felt more satisfied and less hungry when they ate 3 times a day compared to when they ate 6 times a day. Their findings appeared in the journal “Obesity”.

It has been known that studies on whether eating frequency affects appetite control have had conflicting results. To investigate further, 27 men who were overweight or obese were randomly assigned to eat either a high-protein diet or a normal-protein diet for 12 weeks. Their diets contained 750 fewer calories than each man required to maintain his current weight.

From week 7 onwards, the male participants either ate their assigned diet in 3 meals, spaced 5 hour apart or in 6 meals eaten every 2 hours, for 3 consecutive days. Then, these participants switched to the other eating pattern for the next 3 days.

Participants who ate the higher protein diet (25 percent of total calories from protein) felt fuller throughout the day and refused to eat late at night, and were less preoccupied with thoughts of food than those participants who were consuming 14 percent of their energy as protein.

It was reported in the paper that eating frequency did not seem to influence appetite in the participants in the men on the normal-protein diet. Nevertheless, the researchers did find that participants on high protein diet felt fuller in the evening and late at night after eating just 3 meals a day.

Adopting the appropriate diet plays an important part in weight management. People who were overweight or obese are very likely the victims of many chronic diseases including Type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

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