New Diet Study Shows Meal Timing And Frequency Can Boost Weight Loss More Than Counting Calories

For decades, most diets have focused on counting calories for weight loss, with Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) diet advice typically given for those trying to win the battle of the bulge. Now, however, a new diet study could be a game changer for CICO dieters by showing that the timing of meals and frequency of meals can increase weight loss more than focusing on calorie count. The research is particularly relevant for those who struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes, reported Medical Xpress.

Changes In Body's Metabolism Throughout The Day Make Meal Timing Count More Than Calories

Conducted in Israel, the study found that a breakfast high in energy boosts weight loss. That morning meal also can be beneficial for those with diabetes by lowering the need for insulin, according to the researchers. The head of the study, Daniela Jakubowicz, M.D., professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University, presented the research results on Saturday, March 17, at ENDO 2018, at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, Illinois.
"The hour of the day — when you eat and how frequently you eat — is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat. A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening."
Dr. Jakubowicz explained that the body's metabolism "changes throughout the day." Because of those changes, the study revealed that eating a large breakfast, moderate lunch, and small evening meal was healthier than eating six small meals throughout the day. The benefits to the big breakfast, average lunch, and small dinner included a boost in weight loss, a reduction in hunger, and — for those with diabetes — "better diabetes control while using less insulin," said the physician.

A new diet study could be a game changer for those dieters who skip breakfast, nibble on a salad for lunch, and then eat an enormous dinner.
A new diet study could be a game changer for those dieters who skip breakfast, nibble on a salad for lunch, and then eat an enormous dinner.

Dieters Can Boost Weight Loss By Timing Meals, According To Researchers

To come up with these results, Jakubowicz and her team studied 11 women and 18 men. All of the participants in the diet study were diagnosed with both obesity and type 2 diabetes. They were using insulin for their diabetes.

Patients in the study followed two different diets. The Bdiet group consumed three meals a day, eating a big breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a small dinner. The second group followed the 6Mdiet, which consisted of six small meals spaced throughout the day. When it came to weight loss, the three-meals-a-day group who ate the big breakfast lost weight, while the other group gained weight.

"At three months, while the Bdiet group lost 5 kilograms (11 pounds), the 6Mdiet group gained 1.4 kg (3 pounds)."
Both diets provided participants with the same number of calories, and all patients followed their assigned diets for three months. Researchers measured the glucose levels and spikes for the first two weeks, shifting to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) at the end of the diet study. Patients' insulin dosages were changed as needed based on the tests of their glucose levels.

Researchers also found that participants on the Bdiet experienced a reduction in hunger and struggled with fewer cravings for carbohydrates. In contrast, those in the 6Mdiet group suffered from increased cravings for carbohydrates and experienced more hunger. The Bdiet group also benefited from dramatically lower overall glycemia in just two weeks on the diet, while the other group had minimal changes.

Overall, meal timing was shown to benefit glucose balance and weight loss, pointed out Dr. Jakubowicz.

"A diet with adequate meal timing and frequency has a pivotal role in glucose control and weight loss," summed up the diet expert.