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  • Three meals per day better than five for losing weight

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    Monday, November 01, 2010 7:16 am Email this article
    Grazing, that is eating more frequently throughout the day, has been suggested as a means of weight loss. However, this may be counterproductive according to a recent study. Calorie intake

    Women consumed 278 calories per day more when eating 5 meals per day vs 3 meals

    Normal weight women consumed 278 calories per day more when eating five meals per day than when they ate only three meals per day.

    “With regard to food intake and body weight it may be more favorable to consume only 3 regular meals a day,” concluded the researchers.



    Subjects: 23 women

    The study involved 23 normal-weight women with a body mass index of 17 to 26.


    Although he was not talking about trigger foods rather than meals per day, it bears repeating what Stephen Gullo, Ph.D., author of Thin Tastes Better, had to say about eating frequency.

    Hobbs: What is the ““F-Q Principle”?

    Gullo: “An increase in frequency leads to an increase in quantity. This is very important to understand.”

    “It took me about ten years to realize this.”

    “At first when people told me that they were eating “just a little” of certain foods I thought this was a success. “

    “But then when those same patients came back year after year gaining back the same weight I finally got it..”

    “That if someone starts frequently eating “just a little” of a trigger food it is only a matter of time before “just a little” isn’t enough and they regain their lost weight.”

    “Eating just one cookie a day starts a pattern that leads to craving and food control problems.”

    “At first people feel proud that they are eating just one cookie a day. But their success of only eating one encourages them to do it again the next day and the next and the next. Then they start eating more each day.”

    “So when people are sliding back first frequency increases then quantity.”

    “I used to tell my students at Columbia that every addict can be moderate, they just can’t stay moderate very long.”

    Dr. Gullo has treated well over 11,000 patients in his twenty-six year career.

    According to a New York Times survey conducted on fifty of his patients, 45 percent of those surveyed had maintained weight losses of 20 to 100 pounds for at least five years.

    Obviously, Dr. Gullo is doing something right that a lot of others are doing wrong.

    The entire interview with Dr. Gullo is posted here.


    Westenhoefer J, Thurn J. Meal frequency, mental performance and food intake. International Journal of Obesity, 1999 May, 23(5):S115(abstract 352).

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