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.
"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."
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)."
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.