Counting calories more effective than eating many small meals
If you think that eating many small meals throughout the day is a good way to lose weight, prepare to be disappointed. Researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. say that simple calorie counting is more effective and may, in fact, be the only thing that matters when trying to shed some pounds.
Previous research has found that eating one high-fat meal increases inflammation in the body when gut bacteria, called endotoxins, enter the blood stream. The researchers wanted to see if eating more frequently would cause more inflammation in obese individuals, and increase risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
For the study, 24 lean and obese women were given two meals or five meals on different days. These women all consumed the same amount of calories on both days. Researchers then measured their energy expenditure using whole body monitor calorimeters.
Results showed that whether women ate two or five meals, it had no effect on how many calories were burned. They also found that obese women who ate five meals a day had significantly higher endotoxin levels by the end of the day, compared to when they ate two meals.
Further research will focus on diet, gut flora and how calories are burned in different people.