Monday, July 14, 2008

On Skipping Meals and Regaining Weight

Whether due to your busy schedule or because you are trying to lose weight, skipping meals and the amount of food you eat on your next meal can affect your overall

Based on studies about fasting, the effects on obese people have been shown to have significant metabolic benefits. In animal studies, intermittent feeding and fasting reduces the incidence of diabetes and improves certain indicators of cardiovascular health. However, several observational studies and short-term experiments have suggested that there is a link between meal-skipping and poor health.
A recent study, conducted by The National Institute on Aging, involved men and women in their 40s who are healthy and are within the normal weight range for their ages. They were given three meals a day for two months. Then, for the next two months, they skipped two meals but ate the same number of calories in one evening meal, consumed between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The results show that skipping meals during the day and eating one large meal in the evening could cause potentially risky metabolic changes. The meal skippers had elevated fasting glucose levels and a delayed insulin response — conditions that, if allowed to persist over the long-term, could lead to diabetes.

However, based on a previous study, the medical community had come to believe that skipping meals every other day could actually improve a patient’s health. Overweight adults with mild asthma were given normal meals one day, followed by a day of severely restricted eating, when they ate less than 20% of their normal caloric intake, or about 400 or 500 calories a day – the equivalent of about one meal. Nine out of the ten participants in the study were able to stick to the eating plan.
After two months of the alternate-day dieting pattern, the dieters lost an average of 8% of their body weight, and their asthma-related symptoms had improved. They had lower cholesterol and triglycerides, “striking” reductions in markers of oxidative stress, and increased levels of the antioxidant uric acid. Markers of inflammation were also significantly lower.

Based on the more recent meal-skipping study, the authors concluded that skipping meals as part of a controlled eating plan results in lower calorie intake and may lead to better health. On the other hand, skipping meals during the day and then overeating at the evening meal results in harmful metabolic changes within the body.
When it comes to keeping off the lost weight from coming back, another study shows that having contact with a weight-loss counselor is favorable.

The study shows just how difficult it is for dieters to keep lost weight from coming back. With 1,685 overweight or obese adults who weigh an average of 213 pounds were found to be successful in losing weight. Statistics show an average weight loss after six months of 18.7 pounds.
The second phase of the study had about 1,000 people who lost 9 pounds as participants. Some used an Internet-based weight counseling tool, while others had regular personal contact with a weight-loss counselor. A third group received basic instruction on maintaining weight loss, and those participants were instructed to keep the weight off on their own.

After more than 2 years, almost everyone had gained back some of their weight they had lost. The people who tried to maintain their weight on their own fared the worst, with an average of 12.1 pounds regained. Those who used the Internet counseling tool gained back 11.5 pounds. However, those people who took part in the personal contact group gained back the least — with only 8.8 pounds on average.
At the end of the study, more than 45 percent of those who had received counseling were still maintaining at least 9 pounds of weight loss, an amount with clear clinical benefits, they noted.

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