Science Says These 4 Strategies Will Stop You Getting Fat

These research-backed strategies can keep your weight in check

Christa Sgobba |

Forget the fad diets: The key to weight loss—or, at least, staving off weight gain—may have more to do with the size of your meals and when you’re eating them, a new study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests.

After analysing data from 50,000 adults on their eating habits, the researchers discovered that there were a few behaviours that were linked to less weight gain, or even weight loss, over the seven-year follow up.

Related: 8 Weird But Completely Effective Weight Loss Tips

Compared to people who ate three meals a day, those who ate just one or two meals daily were more likely to show decreases in their body mass indexes (BMI) per year. The three-squares a day group actually showed an increase in their BMI as the study went on. And the more meals and snacks the people ate per day, the greater their increase in BMI tended to be.

As for fasting? The people who had the longest time between dinner and breakfast—a fast of at least 18 hours—showed lower BMIs over the course of the study than those who fasted between 12 and 17 hours.

Related: Here’s How Intermittent Fasting Stacks Up Compared To A Normal Diet

And breakfast mattered, too: Those who made it a point to eat that first meal had BMIs that decreased over the study, while those that skipped the meal tended to put on weight.

What’s more, how much they ate at that meal mattered, too. Those who made breakfast their largest meal of the day had significant decreases in BMI compared to those who ate their largest meal at dinner. Those who made lunch their main meal were also slimmer than the large dinner eaters, but the effect wasn’t quite as strong as it was with breakfast.

There are a bunch of potential factors that may explain how your eating time and volume affects your weight. One in particular? Eating a large breakfast not only reduces hunger in the short term, but it also reduces the spike in the hunger hormone ghrelin, the study authors write. That’s important, since it might also tamp down cravings, and prevent you from overeating later on.

Related: 8 High-Protein Breakfasts That Aren’t All about Eggs

Still, some guys find that eating in a set window leaves them hungry when their feeding time is over for the day. If you want to give techniques like intermittent fasting a shot, try bumping up your protein intake in your meals, says obesity specialist Spencer Nadolsky, D.O.

Originally published on

READ MORE ON: diet healthy lose weight mythbuster tips

Copyright © 2022 Rodale Inc.
Subscribe for notification