|While the ads for many fat burners tell you just that, thermogenesis is not the #1 determinant of whether you're lean or fat. It is just one of a bazillion factors that influence your energy balance which in turn controls your weight.|
Against that background you may be asking yourselves why the latest study from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham even made the "SuppVersity newsworthy"-cut. Well, the answer can be seen in Figure 1, which tells you that modulating the eating patterns in said randomized crossover trial didn't just affect the extent of postprandial thermogenesis, but also the weight, body fat and, in particular, the 'waist trajectory' of the subjects, 9 obese women (mean ± SD BMI: 33·3 ± 3·1 kg/m²).
To ascertain whether modulating the regularity of meal pattern over two weeks would affects the thermogenic response to a test meal and anthropometric measurements in obese women, Alhussain et al. had their subjects follow irregular and regular meal patters for 2 weeks, each:
- regular meal pattern - 6 meals/day
- irregular meal pattern - varying from 3 to 9 meals/day
"On arrival, measurements were made of body weight, body composition, waist circumference and waist to hip ratio. Resting energy expenditure was then assessed by using indirect calorimetry, fasted and during the 3 h period after consumption of a milkshake, test drink (50 % CHO, 15 % protein and 35 % fat of energy content)" (Alhussain. 2016).As already hinted at, the scientists observed significant changes in the postprandial thermogenic response and non-significant effects on the subjects body composition.
|Figure 1: Changes in markers of body composition during the two 2-week periods (Alhussain. 2016).|
|A 2004 study in lean women shows: This is not a "fat-girl thing". TEF of lean women suffers even more (Farshchi. 2004).|
|Figure 2: Postprandial extra energy expenditure due to thermogenesis (kcal/3h) before and after 2-weeks on regular or irregular meal pattern in 9 obese women [mean ± SD BMI: 33·3 ± 3·1 kg/m² | Alhussain. 2016).|
- Alhussain, et al. "Deleterious effects of irregular meal pattern on dietary thermogenesis in obese women." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 75 (2016): OCE1, E6.
- Farshchi, H. R., M. A. Taylor, and I. A. Macdonald. "Decreased thermic effect of food after an irregular compared with a regular meal pattern in healthy lean women." International journal of obesity 28.5 (2004): 653-660.