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STUDY: 3 square meals a day paired with lean protein help people feel full during weight loss
Date:3/31/2011

frequency also was tested because it is a common belief that eating more frequent, smaller meals a day can lead to weight loss. One of the reasons for this belief is that older studies suggest people who are overweight and obese tend to eat fewer meals.

"As a result, the idea was that fewer, larger meals were contributing or encouraging overconsumption and resulting in obesity and that the people who were more successful with weight control were eating smaller, more frequent meals," Campbell said. "But our findings turn that on its head. There also seems to be a growing consensus that these other dietary habits may not be accurately reported because obese and overweight people tend to conceal how frequently and how much they eat."

Eating frequency was determined starting at week seven for three days. Participants consumed the same amount of calories but with a different distribution: three times a day by eating every five hours or six times a day eating every two hours. The large meals were about 750 calories each. The smaller meals consumed every two hours were estimated at about 375 calories each. Participants also recorded their feelings about hunger and feeling full on a time-stamped electronic device every waking hour.

"First, although we found that daily hunger, desire to eat and preoccupation with thoughts of food were not different between the normal- verses higher-protein groups, the higher-protein group experienced greater fullness through the day," Leidy said. "Second, we had more individuals struggle with complying with consuming six meals a day, specifically, of those in the study who were not compliant, 90 percent were specifically unable to follow the six-meal-a-day eating pattern. People told us anecdotally that they couldn't stop work to eat a meal, even if it was small."

It also is important to note that the more frequent meals were literally the main meals split in half, and the participants were not snacking,
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Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert
apatterson@purdue.edu
765-494-9723
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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