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Three main meals better than snacking, researchers say

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Obese women can curb their waistlines by ensuring they avoid snacking throughout the day and stick to three square meals instead. 

Although previous studies have suggested regular small meals throughout the day are beneficial for weight management, researchers at the University of Missouri argued there is little evidence to support this claim. 

As such, they enlisted eight women who were obese into a study that involved sticking to three meals per day made up of 500 calories each, or six 250-calorie liquid meals. 

They measured their blood-sugar and blood fat levels against meal frequency throughout two 12-hour periods and two separate days.

Researchers tested sugar and fat levels in the women's blood every 30 minutes throughout the 12-hour time frames, discovering that women who ate three meals had significantly lower fat in their blood.

"Our data suggests that, for obese women, eating fewer, bigger meals may be more advantageous metabolically compared to eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day," said Tim Heden, lead author of the study.

Co-author and a professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology, Jill Kanaley, explained that regular snacking can encourage the wrong food choices that add to calorie count and may cause overeating.

She said: "Some people are good at making efforts to eat healthy snacks; however, most people aren't, and they end up taking in too many calories.

"The more times you sit down to eat, the more calories you're probably going to take in."

As well as sticking to three meals per day, scientists have suggested cutting out fat for improved health and weight loss that is sustainable.

Research published in the British Medical Journal found that people who reduced fat consumption, without dieting, shifted an average of three-and-a-half pounds, with the effects lasting for at least seven years.

This strategy simply involves ditching junk food and swapping full-fat dairy products for low-fat varieties instead. ADNFCR-858-ID-801503557-ADNFCR

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