Weight loss: faster and healthier with 2 meals a day than with 6
Slimming goes better with two large meals a day than with six smaller meals researchers at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague discovered. According to the Czechs, who used plump and fat subjects with type-2 diabetes, losing weight by eating two large meals a day is healthier too.
The researchers gave 54 subjects aged between 30 and 70 six small meals per day for three months, and for another three months they gave them two large meals a day. The two meals a day were a heavy breakfast and an equally heavy lunch. The composition of the diet was the same in both periods: 55 percent of the energy came from carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein and the rest came from fats.
The subjects were given about five hundred kcals fewer than they burned. All subjects exercised about the same.
Faster weight loss
The subjects lost weight during both periods. But the amount lost and the decrease in waist measurement were both greater during the period in which the subjects ate two meals a day.
During the period that the subjects ate six meals a day their waist circumference decreased by 1 cm; during the period that they only ate twice a day the decrease was 5 cm.
Click on the table below for a larger version.
The subjects lost a couple of dozen percent more kilograms when they only ate twice a day [in the figure below: top left].
During the period that the subjects ate twice a day the amount of fat in their liver [HFC] went down more than it did during the period when they ate six times a day. In addition, when they ate fewer meals they had less glucose and C-peptide [a marker for insulin production] in their blood in the early morning. This is an indication of an improved insulin and glucose balance.
"These results suggest that eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) may be more beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes than six smaller meals during the day", the Czechs write.
"Novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the energy and macronutrient content but also the frequency and timing of food. Further larger scale, long-term studies are essential before offering recommendations in terms of meal frequency."
Diabetologia. 2014 Aug;57(8):1552-60.
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