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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eating Little & Often Myth Busted: Total Calorie Count is Important - study found

Eating small but frequent meals is often recommended for weight loss. But new research suggests this approach may not boost your metabolism or encourage weight loss.
In fact, the study - presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual BES conference few days ago - suggests counting calories is all that really matters when it comes to losing weight.

The study
The researchers of this latest study, led by Dr. Milan Kumar Piya of the University of Warwick in the UK, note that previous research has suggested eating a single high-fat meal increases low-level inflammation in the body when bits of gut bacteria - known as endotoxins - enter the blood stream.
Since this kind of inflammation has been linked to a future risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, the researchers wanted to investigate whether eating often would cause more damage that might increase these risks in obese individuals.

To conduct their study, the team analyzed 24 lean and obese women who were given two meals or five meals on separate days.
These women consumed the same number of calories on both days, and the researchers meanwhile measured their energy expenditure using whole body monitor calorimeters.
The finding revealed two important facts Findings from the study revealed that whether the women ate two meals or five meals had no effect on how many calories were burned. Over a 24-hour period, the women burned the same number of calories when they ate both numbers of meals.
Additionally, the investigators observed that obese women who ate five meals had significantly higher endotoxin levels by the end of each day, compared with when they only ate two meals.
Dr. Piya says their research has yielded two main findings:
  • The size and the frequency of the meal has no relation with the amount of calories burnt in the day and the weight of the women. This directly contradicts previous belief that eating less and often is good if you are on a diet or planning to loose weight. The only important factor to consider is the amount of calorie taken and the number of calories burnt.
  • The other important inference which came out of the research was that eating more frequently keeping the calorie count equal could actually result in more endotoxin production in obese individuals. Dr Priya pointed out that carrying more weight with increased frequency of meals will result in formation of more endotoxin which has been directly linked to Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease.
The next step of the research is to assess the impact of diet, gut flora, and calories burned in different people. “By understanding how diet affects inflammatory risk and energy expenditure, we will further our understanding of how we can better target diet intervention on an individual basis,” Piya notes.

Bottom line
Though we need more research to be conducted with relatively greater sample size. But, one thing is clear: if you are on a diet the only thing you should be working towards is keeping the calorie count to what suits your age, sex and BMI [Body Mass Index]. Eating less and often does not boost metabolism or increase your chances of losing weight.
Burn what you eat, is all time advice that the doctors give to people who are interested in losing weight or want to live healthy disease free life.

Sources: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/, http://www.medicinetips.net/, http://www.futurity.org/