Weight loss programs, dietitians, nutrition experts, blogs etc. will all help answer your questions as ‘What to eat?’, ‘When to eat?’ and ‘What not to eat?’.
And after religiously following their advice you successfully achieve your weight loss goal. But, does the story end there?
Nope. You are up next for ‘Weight Loss Maintenance’ challenge. One interesting point that we came across was about the relation between the number of meals consumed and maintenance of weight post the weight loss phase.
Research proves that weight loss maintainers and normal weight individuals eat more frequently than obese individuals. Surprising, isn’t it?
What happened in this study?
257 adults participated in this study. They were divided into three groups: Weight Loss Maintainers (WLM), Normal Weight (NW) and Overweight (OW).
Their eating frequency or number of meals consumed in a day was recorded for 3 days (2 weekdays, 1 weekend) for a period of 1 year.
Apart from breakfast, lunch and dinner in this study an eating occasion was defined an instance where more than 50 kcal was consumed.
Body mass index (a quantity used to determine whether the person is underweight, normal or overweight) of the participants was recorded.
What was the outcome of this study?
NW individuals reported to have maximum number of snacks daily followed by WLM and OW.
Physical activity was highest in WLM followed by NW and lastly OW individuals. Energy intake was higher in OW than WLM.
WLM consumed a lower percentage of energy from fat and higher percentage from carbohydrates compared to other groups.
The eating pattern for WLM and NW individuals was consuming three meals plus two snacks per day.
Eating frequency was found to be negatively related to BMI i.e. higher the frequency, lower the BMI and lower the weight of the individual.
How did this occur?
Eating more frequently can help to control hunger and thus avoid occasions of over eating.
Also in this study higher frequency of eating was associated with greater frequency of physical activity.
This suggests that greater physical activity helps to spend significant energy and thus allows an individual to consume more meals but still maintain a healthy weight.
What does this mean?
The results of this study establish a relation between eating frequency and weight loss maintenance.
Following a consistent eating pattern of three meals and two snacks can help in weight loss maintenance.
However physical exercise should be adequate enough so as to balance energy intake. It is important to note that this study focuses on maintaining individual weight and not losing weight.
This is real good news for all of you interested in losing weight or maintaining your hard earned perfect weight.
But don’t forget to keep an eye on those calories. Eat healthy. Exercise wisely.