Eating regular balanced meals is more effective than dieting when it comes to managing a healthy weight, according to new European research published in the journal Eating Behaviors.
Whereas regular meals promote weight loss, dieting can actually cause weight gain, the researchers found. Read on for more.
European study finds that regular balanced meals is key for weight loss
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki. The team looked at 2452 women and 2227 men to assess the common factors that contribute to weight gain in early adulthood.
Early adulthood is an important period for weight management as it can help with maintaining a healthy weight later in life.
The team asked the participants to fill out surveys that looked at various factors influencing weight changes at the start of the study at age 24, and then 10 years later at age 34. They found that only around 25% of the participants – 28.6% of women and 23% of men – avoided weight gain during the 10-year period. Most of the participants picked up weight over the 10 years, with the average weight gain in women being 0.9 kg per year and 1 kg for men.
Interestingly, the team found that among both men and women, a history of diet and irregular eating in order to lose weight were two of the key factors that led to weight gain.
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The study also identified other weight gain factors for men and women…
What’s more, the team found that a woman’s risk of gaining weight was also increased by giving birth to two or more children, regularly drinking sugary drinks and feeling unsatisfied with life. For men, they found that smoking was an important factor for weight gain.
“Often, people try to prevent and manage excess weight and obesity
by dieting and skipping meals. In the long term, such approaches seem to actually accelerate getting fatter, rather than prevent it,” said Ulla Kärkkäinen, a researcher and licensed nutritional therapist at the University of Helsinki. “Prior research has shown that approximately every other adult is constantly dieting. According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare, nearly a million Finns diet every year. Even though dieting may seem a logical solution to weight management problems, it can actually increase weight gain and eating problems in the long run.”
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