2 meals better than 6?
It is often said that more frequent meals is a superior strategy for weight loss. However, a 2014 study provided evidence that this may not always be the case.
What did the researchers study?
54 obese subjects with diabetes ate either 6 meals per day or 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) for 12 weeks. Researchers assessed changes in weight, BMI, waist circumference, hepatic fat content, glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, beta cell function, plasma lipids and resting energy expenditure.
What were the results?
The 2 meal-a-day group actually had superior results compared to the 6-meals-a-day group in several outcomes:
- weight loss was 8.14 lbs (2 meals) vs 5.06 lbs (6 meals)
- waist circumference reduced by 5.14 cm (2 meals) vs 1.37 (6 meals)
- resting energy expenditure decreased by 453.1 kJ (6 meals) vs 379.9 kJ (2 meals)
- glycemic control ad fasting C-peptide was improved greater in the 2 meal-a-day group
- Whole-body insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, plasma lipids improved at similar degrees.
There is some evidence to suggest that eating 6 meals is not always a better strategy than eating less meals. This study suggests that for some, 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch) may actually be a more effective short-term strategy (12 weeks) than eating 6 meals a day.
Kahleova, H & Belinova, L et al. Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover study. Diabetologia(2014) 57: 1552 – 1560