Eating fewer, regular-sized meals with higher amounts of lean protein can make one feel more full than eating smaller, more frequent meals, new research suggests.
"We found that when eating high amounts of protein, men who were trying to lose weight felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food," said Heather J. Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri who was a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue for this study.
"We also found that despite the common trend of eating smaller, more frequent meals, eating frequency had relatively no beneficial impact on appetite control. The larger meals led to reductions in appetite, and people felt full. We want to emphasize though that these three larger meals were restricted in calories and reflected appropriate portion sizes to be effective in weight loss," he added.
"Our advice for people trying to lose weight is to add a moderate amount of protein at three regular meals a day to help appetite control and the feeling of fullness," said Wayne W. Campbell, Purdue professor of foods and nutrition.
"Egg and lean pork products are good sources for protein, and if they are incorporated at meals when people do not normally consume protein, such as at breakfast and lunch, they may prove to be a nice strategy to control weight; promote satiety, which is the feeling of being full; and retain lean tissue mass, which is essential for people as they age," he added.
The findings are detailed in the current issue of Obesity.