Eat More Often to Weigh Less?


Woman Eating a Light Meal

Mini-meals area a great way to help you lose weight, according to some experts. The idea is to spread the same amount of calories over five or six small meals instead of three larger ones. In theory, this should stabilize your blood sugar and keep you from feeling hungry.

The problem with the mini-meal concept is that research on this issue has shown varying results. A study from the University of Ottawa showed no difference in calories burned or weight lost when people ate six small meals instead of three regular meals. A New England Journal of Medicine study, however, found that snacking throughout the day helped men lose weight. So, what's a dieter to do?

First and most important, dieter, know thyself. If you have trouble limiting the amounts you eat, a mini-meal plan can tempt you six times a day instead of three. Small meals may also look like too little food on the plate, increasing the chance that you will add more food. However, mini-meals, carefully planned, can help keep your blood sugar up, which may help you resist overeating. Bottom line: each person is an individual, so try mini-meals and see how it works for you.

The key may be as simple as food choices and presentation. Select nutrient-dense foods and pass on typical snacks like crackers or chips. Include some protein and fat, as well as complex carbohydrates like fresh vegetables, at each mini-meal. Use herbs, spices and low-calorie condiments like mustard to boost flavors. Eat slowly, and chew your foods well; this triggers proper digestion and gives the body time to respond to the messages that you've eaten something. Appeal to your eye as well as your stomach by making your mini-meals attractive, and eat them at the table rather than on the run.

 

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