Contrary to popular belief that eating more than three meals a day can make you fat, a new study revealed than eating more than 4 meals a day can actually lower the level of body fat in the body, which makes you become thinner.
The study was conducted by a group of researchers at the Institute of Food Science Technology and Nutrition in Spain. They had 1,978 subjects aged 13 to 18 years in Spain who participated in the study.
The skin folds and the waist circumference of the adolescents were measured to check the effects of eating more than 4 meals a day on this population. In addition, the time of consuming foods and the physical activity was also assessed in the study.
The results revealed that those who ate breakfast on a regular basis have lesser body fat than those who skip meals. This is due to the fact that skipping meals especially at breakfast increases food craving that contribute to higher body fat.
The results of the study also revealed that those who ate more than four times a day have reduced body fat levels. Dividing your meals in a day actually reduces the amount of calories you take in a particular meal making you burn them more in between. This reduces accumulation of fats that you experience when you eat large meals in a day. In addition, eating small, frequent meals also prevents you from getting hungry; thereby significantly reducing the food cravings in between meals. Food cravings are the culprits for getting fat because if you crave, you tend to eat most foods and you tend to be less wise in choosing your foods.
Aside from this, eating slowly has also been found to reduce weight. Those who eat in a slow manner have lesser BMI than those who eat quickly. If you eat in a controlled manner, you tend to feel full quickly because of the additional ingested air that you get while chewing. Eating fast allows you to eat more. The results of the study have observed that those who take time in their meals have lesser cases of being overweight and obese.
These results were independent from physical activity during the free time of the adolescents. This means that regardless of the activity levels of adolescents, those who eat more than 4 meals and those who take time in eating have lower body fat levels.
The regulation of diet and activity during adolescence is essential because the weight during this stage is an indicator of the actual weight you will have during adulthoo0d. When you are overweight and obese during puberty, it is more likely that you will also be overweight or obese during adulthood.
In addition, adolescents have more nutritional requirements because of the growth and development they undergo during puberty. Eating more than 4 meals a day provides them with steady amount of nutrients that are required for various body processes.
Among the nutrients needed by adolescents, calcium, iron, zinc, Vitamin D and Vitamin B complex are the ones that are most important to support their growth and development.
These dietary requirements of adolescents should be addressed and one way of addressing this is to provide them with frequent meals. Not only will this support their developing bodies, but will help them maintain ideal body weight as well.
The results of the study show that the number of meals in a day is not an indicator of gaining more weight, instead, it is more beneficial for those who want to become slim.
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