Does eating every 2 to 3 hours help lose weight?

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Food-frequency and weight loss

Many Americans struggle with weight loss. You feel disappointed by repeated attempts to lose weight.

Fashionable diets claim to lose weight successfully, but none of them works. It is clear that fewer calories are important for weight loss. But there are conflicting indications of details.

One area of debate is when to consume calories during the day. Is three times a day better to lose weight? Or is it better to eat more or less often? These are difficult questions. Some diets suggest eating every two to three hours. Others suggest limiting themselves to three times a day or even just twice a day.

Eat more than three times a day
There seems to be feedback between weight and frequency of meals. That is, the heavier a person is, the less he eats. In fact, studies show that normal-weight people and people who were once obese, who supported weight loss, eat about four times a day, compared to overweight people. Here are some possible advantages and disadvantages of eating more than three times a day.

Benefits include::

Decreased hunger and increased fullness, which may prevent excessive eating. In fact, when people become very hungry, the risk increases that they choose unhealthy high-calorie foods such as pizza and carbonated drinks. This can lead to overeating in one sitting.
More ways to consume healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Possible disadvantages are:

A selection of snacks that do not satisfy us, which can lead to overeating later in the day.
No more scattered food. Unhealthy eating options attract us everywhere. We learn to respond to signals such as food availability, not hunger and abundance. This can lead to overeating. Eating three meals a day can help us counteract tempting food and overeating. It helps to promote weight loss.
What science says
Limited studies show that eating three structured meals a day compared to less than three meals a day can help control appetite and lead to a feeling of fullness.

In a 6-month diet test, 51 people examined the effects of the frequency of food intake on hunger, energy consumption and weight loss. The participants were divided into 2 groups. “Group sip” was eaten 3 times a day. The “Grazing group” ate about 100 calories every 2-3 hours. The shepherds ate about 6 times a day. Participants were given a calorie limit based on their individual weight loss goals.

At the end of the study, all participants lost weight. However, there was no difference in the amount of weight lost between the two groups. But the people from the grazing group were much less hungry. But this did not lead to more weight loss for the grazing group.

The 8-week study examined the difference in weight loss between participants who ate 3 times a day, and 6-times a day. They all reduced their food intake by an average of 700 calories a day. Half of the 16 participants ate 3 times a day. The other half ate 6 times a day. The participants of each group lost the same amount of weight. It was a small study. And it did not look at long-term weight loss.

In summary, eating fewer calories helps you lose weight. But if you eat or how often you eat, it does not affect weight loss. We need more long-term studies to determine the optimal number of meals per day.

Frequency of eating
Replacing high-calorie foods with healthier, low-calorie foods can help reduce calories without limiting the total amount of food you eat
. A 10-month study with 189 patients showed that they could lose weight by reducing calories in drinks and selecting foods with low energy density.

Energy density is the number of calories per gram of food. Vegetables have a low energy density. Red meat and Butter, have a high energy density. It is possible to lose weight by replacing products with high energy density by-products with low energy density. example:

Replace 1 cup of pasta with ½ cup of pasta and 1 cup of broccoli to save 100 calories.
Replace 1 Cup of white rice with ½ Cup of rice and 1 Cup of spinach to save 125 calories.
Tips for successful weight loss
It seems that eating at least three times a day can keep you full and reduce hunger. It is good for weight loss. If you eat less than three times a day, there is a risk that you eat too much and choose less healthy foods.

In addition, the quality of food can help manage hunger and lose weight. By eating foods with low energy density, such as fruits and vegetables, you will feel longer.

How can you lose weight? Everyone is different in the food they love, in their medical history and in their lifestyle. Meeting with a nutritionist is one way to achieve your goals. He or she can evaluate your needs and develop a nutrition plan just for you. Here are some additional tips for successful weight loss:

  • Choose foods that satisfy Hunger. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.
  • Balance your meals and snacks. Fill half of your plate with foods such as vegetables, which contain a lot of nutrients, fiber and low calories. It can help you eat smaller portions of high-calorie foods such as pasta, rice and meat.
  • Pay attention to what you eat. Apps and food logs that track calories can help you see what and when you eat.
  • Be aware. Learn how to recognize the difference between your physical hunger and hunger caused by food or boredom.
  • Plan ahead. Do not skip food or do not let yourself be too hungry. This can put you at risk of overeating.
  • Avoid high-calorie drinks. Soda and juices provide many calories, but few nutrients. And they do little to help you feel satisfied.
  • Join the community. Lifestyle changes that involve diet and physical activity are easier and funnier when other people are involved.

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