- Timing and frequency of meals play a role in predicting weight loss or gain.
- Making breakfast the largest meal yielded a more significant decrease in BMI.
- Skipping dinner and fasting for 18 hours associated with decreased BMI.
Weight loss might not be a problem for many but preventing weight regain definitely is! Crash diets work for almost everyone but for how long can you keep doing it? There might be various episodes of craving for the food you want to avoid the most.
A new study done in more than 50,000 adults show that to sustain the lost weight or to lose more weight that you don't want to regain, timing and meal frequency should be considered.
About the Study
‘Making breakfast the largest meal yielded a more significant decrease in BMI than lunch.’
Adults aged 30 years or more were enrolled in the study and their changes in the body mass index was assessed for an average of 8 years. The findings are part of an ongoing study done among those who attend Seventh-day Adventist churches in the United States and Canada.
The number of meals per day, length of overnight fast, consumption of breakfast, and timing of the largest meal were exposure variables.
Body mass index was used to assess weight loss in the study.
What Makes You Lose Weight?
Researchers from Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the Czech Republic discovered four factors associated with a decrease in body mass index.
- Eating only one or two meals per day
- Maintaining an overnight fast of up to 18 hours
- Eating breakfast instead of skipping it
- Making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day
Hana Kahleova, the study author recommends eating breakfast and lunch, skipping supper, avoiding snacks, making breakfast the largest meal of the day and fasting overnight for up to 18 hours.
The findings point out the old saying, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
What Makes You Gain Weight
Two main factors were found to be the reason behind a higher BMI - eating more than 3 meals per day and making supper the largest meal of the day.
Though various observational studies and randomized trials have shown that smaller meals facilitate weight loss over a period of time, sticking on to healthy choices is challenging.
Gary Fraser, MBChB, PhD, a professor at LLU Schools of Medicine and Public Health told that until participants reached the age of 60 there was, on average, an increase in weight gain year by year irrespective of meal pattern. After age 60, most participants experienced a weight loss each year.
"Before age 60 years, those eating calories earlier in the day had less weight gain," Fraser said, adding that after age 60, the same behavior tended to produce a larger rate of weight loss than average. "Over decades, the total effect would be very important."
Key Findings of the Study
For the maximum weight loss, eat two main meals during the day
. Compared to those who ate 3 meals a day, those who had less than 3 meals, including snacks had a lower BMI.
Eating >3 meals/d (snacking) was associated with a relative increase in BMI
. If you are more keen in snacking throughout the day, it might a probable reason for the adding on pounds in your body.
The longer you fast, the lesser the BMI: Those who fasted for 18 hours or more had a lower BMI than those who had a medium overnight fast (12-17 h).
Breakfast is the Key Meal as far as weight loss is concerned.
: Breakfast eaters experienced a decreased BMI compared with breakfast skippers.Those who consumed breakfast as the largest meal experienced a significant decrease in BMI.
- Hana Kahleova et al., Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study, The Journal of Nutrition (2017)