Normal weight people eat more than overweight
In a new study, it has been proved that overweight adults eat less than the normal weight people adults, including those who had lost a lot of weight in the recent past.
Researchers following about 250 people for a year found that overweight individuals ate fewer snacks in addition to meals than people in the normal body weight range, but the overweight still took in more calories and they were less active over the course
of the day.
Lead researcher Jessica Bachman told Reuters Health, "Most of the research has shown that people who eat more frequently have a lower weight. But no one knows why?"
More than 60 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, but the relationship between the number of meals people eat each day and the ability to maintain weight loss has remained unclear, she said.
Bachman and her team analyzed data collected in two large studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. One looked at the eating habits of people with a body mass index (a measure of weight relative to height) between 25 and 47, which is considered
overweight to obese.
The other study looked at adult men and women who were normal weight (BMI of 19-24.9), about half of whom had lost at least 30 pounds and maintained their lower weight for more than five years.
The researchers found that, on average, the normal weight subjects ate three meals and a little over two snacks each day, whereas the overweight group averaged three meals and just over one snack a day.
The results, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggest that weight loss maintainers intentionally do more to keep from regaining extra pounds, Bachman said.
"It appears that being extremely physically active and eating more often helps them keep the weight off. Most commonly, they were walking at least 60 minutes a day seven days a week."
Bachman believes her study is the first to compare eating frequencies among successful weight loss maintainers, other normal weight people and those who are overweight.
More research is needed, Bachman added, because the reasons that eating more often tends to be associated with having a lower BMI are still unclear.
"This is kind of research as a baseline, and from there we can develop some hypotheses," Bachman said. "Weight loss maintainers are a new group that really is starting to get a lot of attention. The idea is to find out what they are doing, and get other
people to do the same thing."