Diet is probably the most predominant factor influencing obesity and many other lifestyle-related disorders, which explains why the tabloids today literally scream out for attention, spreading public awareness about healthy eating.
Statistically, there has been a huge rise in the number of people suffering from obesity, diabetes and hypertension, and faulty eating habits are speculated to be playing a pivotal role in the entire scenario.
Soon enough, magazines, websites and newspapers started ‘prescribing’ so-called healthy diet plans to the general public, motivating them to inculcate healthy eating habits. What happened next was presumable-people started blindly following advice given by different media, crash dieting and adopting diet fads followed by some popular celebrity or movie star in the desperate attempt to avoid falling prey to obesity.
Collateral damage followed, and serious crash dieters started experiencing adverse health problems.
One major faulty issue, that is still prevalent today, is the widespread thinking, that ‘calories equal weight gain.’
Thankfully, a new study, explained the emphasis on meal timing, and how extreme dieting could simply worsen your weight loss regimen, increasing your tendency to binge eat, and fall prey to food cravings.
Prof Jakubbowicz, along with her fellow researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, took in 93 obese women for the study, and assigned them randomly to two different isocaloric groups. The study subjects under each group were asked to follow a moderate carbohydrate, moderate fat diet, totaling up to 1400 calories for 12 weeks in total.
Those under group 1 were asked to take 700 calories for breakfast, 500 for lunch and 200 for dinner, whereas group 2 subjects were asked to follow the reverse- a 200 calorie breakfast, 500 calorie lunch, and 700 calorie dinner.
Careful observation revealed that the study participants falling under the first ‘big breakfast’ group, lost 17.8 pounds each, on an average, and managed to cut around 3 inches of their waistline. Surprisingly, the subjects under group 2 managed to lose just 7.3 pounds and cut down 1.4 inches of their waistline on an average.
What’s more, the ‘big breakfast’ group also had much lower levels of ghrelin in their body, a hormone involved in regulating hunger; making the less likely to snack later during the day and binge eat. They also had comparatively low insulin levels in their body, and a lower blood glucose level. The triglyceride levels of the ‘big breakfast’ group too, were much lower than of those in group 2.
To add to that, study subjects in group 1 did not experience a spike in the blood glucose levels, which can be even more harmful than a constant, elevated blood sugar level, causing an increased strain on the heart, which is normally experienced after consuming a high calorie meal.
In contrast, the study subjects falling under group 2, despite losing weight, showed an increase in the triglyceride levels in their body.
This study in particular, has shed light on how ‘smart’ eating is the key to losing weight more efficiently and preventing obesity.
Looks like the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper’ holds true after all!
By Enozia Vakil