Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of Intervention Studies Shows: Weight Loss Success Independent of Meal Frequency

"Eat 3 large meals à day!", "Eat smaller meals every 2 hours!", "Eat a single meal and fast the rest of the day!" If you have been trying to find information on how to lose weight effectively, you probably heard all these "expert" advises. What if I told you that a recent review of 25 weight loss interventions shows that it simply does not matter!

In an extensive review of the literature, Palmer et al. (Palmer. 2011) conclude:
Manipulating the EF [eating frequency] of a client seeking weight management is unlikely to provide any additional benefits to weight, body composition or health. The theoretical benefits of manipulating EF may not be sustained in the real life clinical setting as a change to EF may be difficult to maintain over the longer term. Current evidence does not support many of the theories that encourage manipulating EF for weight management. Focus needs to be placed on dietary weight management strategies that are achievable and sustainable over the longer term.
Better body composition? Only inconclusive evidence. Better glucose tolerance in non-diabetics? Definitely not. Decreased risk of heart disease? Unlikely. Less hunger? At least not with three vs. six meals. Bottom line: Another myth debunked!