Some dieters say that eating less at one meal is ineffective, because people compensate by eating more at other meals. Not so, say the results of a new study.…
According to the study, in fact eating one reduced-calorie meal a day, and then eating what you want the rest of the day, may be an effective weight-loss technique.
For two weeks, researchers had 17 men and women eat all their meals and snacks, as much as they wanted, at a buffet where the exact quantities consumed could be weighed and caloric intake calculated. Then for the next two weeks, the participants ate a 200-calorie lunch, a commercially available food like a Kashi bar or a Lean Pocket. But the rest of the day, they ate whatever they wanted from the buffet.
Not counting lunch, the participants consumed 1,568 calories on days they had the 200-calorie lunch and 1,560 on days when they did not — an insignificant difference. But over all, they consumed 245 fewer calories on low-calorie lunch days. The result of that — unsurprisingly — was weight loss: an average of 1.1 pounds per participant in two weeks.
“Most people believe there is a set point for body weight,” said David A. Levitsky, the lead author of the report and a professor of nutrition at Cornell University. “The prevailing notion is that if you create a deficit, you’re going to make up for it later. In this study, we found no evidence of any compensation.”
journal Appetite, Oct. 2011