Eating five times a day can help weight loss
A new study has suggested that eating five times a day can help keep your weight down, as scientists reject the idea that three daily meals is the key to staying healthy.
The researchers say that a daily routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two further snacks can help shed pounds.
But breaking the routine can lead to weight gain. The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that skipping breakfast is connected with putting on weight.
4,000 children were studied right through from birth to age 16 by health experts from East Finland University. They kept records of weight and lifestyle habits; from what kind of food and drink they ate to how often, as well as genetic factors such as the weight of the parents.
As found in previous studies, they confirmed that having obese parents increases the risk of obesity in children. This risk rises if the mother is obese before pregnancy, rather than if she put weight on during pregnancy.
Those who kept to a regular eating pattern of five meals a day – the three main ones with two snacks in between – grew up with a lower body mass index (BMI). This was even true of the children who had obese parents. However, irregular eating patterns, such as skipping breakfast, led to a higher BMI.
Researchers believe eating patterns are an important “early life risk factor associated with obesity” and a daily eating routine can offset other factors, even genetic ones.
Lead researcher Anne Jaaskelainen said: “It is important to be aware that the effects of predisposing genetic factors can be modified by lifestyle habits such as regular meal frequency.”