New research has proved the theory that eating little and often can aid long term weight loss. A US study published in the American Journal of Dietetic Association found that whilst overweight and obese people eat less often than people of normal weight, they consume far more calories and lead more sedentary lifestyles.
The research team led by Jessica Bachman, an assistant professor in the department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, studied 250 people over the course of a year.
They analysed data related to two studies: one which examined people with a BMI between 25 and 47 (overweight and obese) and the other looked at people with a BMI between 19 and 24.9 (normal weight) who had lost at least 30lbs and had maintained their weight loss for more than five years.
They found that those of normal weight ate around three meals and two snacks a day, whilst the overweight and obese people ate three meals and one snack daily. But those that ate more frequently only consumed around 1800 calories a day, compared to the overweight and obese people who ate less frequently and consumed between 1900 and over 2000 calories a day.
According to Jessica Bachman, eating more frequently can aid weight loss by staving off hunger and reduce the tendency to consume larger meals which contain more calories. She also said that the more frequent eaters burned off more calories as they were more physically active. But she acknowledged that more research is needed.
I can readily identify with the findings of this study as from personal experience, if I go the whole day without eating because I am really busy and on the go, when I eventually eat, I am so famished that I do tend to have a big meal.
These days I tend to eat in smaller quantities throughout the day, so that no more than three hours elapses between breakfast, lunch and dinner and in the evening I will have up to three pieces of fruit and maybe a small, low-calorie dessert.
I am never hungry since I am eating regularly so do not get the urge to binge very often – and it is binge-eating that largely causes weight loss in my case. I also find that when I am away all day at a seminar or workshop, or away from home and staying with family, and my regular routine is disrupted, I end up eating the wrong foods and gaining weight.
So my next task is to prepare portable meals in small containers and freeze them and have healthy snacks at the ready to take with me so that I do not have to abandon my regular eating plan when I am away from home and can stay on track.
Fruit, is also very portable and things like bananas are very filling and contain lots of protein which is great for nourishing hair and promoting growth – so I’ll make sure to always have plenty in the house!