The evidence is not clear on how – or even whether – snacking, breakfast eating or meal size links to weight. A large study adds new data to this body of research suggesting that fewer daily meals and snacks can help prevent weight gain, at least for this healthy group. For cancer prevention, staying a healthy weight is key to reducing risk for many common cancers like endometrial, postmenopausal breast and colorectal.
The authors analyzed data from the Adventist Health Study that includes over 50,000 North American adults. At the beginning of the study, participants reported their height and weight, as well as health habits like exercise, sleep and television watching. They also reported their eating habits via 24 hour recalls and a food frequency questionnaire.
The participants – members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – tend to be more health-conscious, nonsmokers, mostly nondrinkers and eat less meat than most Americans.
Researchers used this data to determine how many meals – including snacks and breakfast – participants ate, and which meals were typically largest. They calculated participants’ weight changes by comparing Body Mass Index (BMI) at the beginning and end of the study.
An average of 7 years later, the study found:
For participants eating 1 or 2 meals a day, their BMI decreased in comparison to those eating 3 meals per day.
A hormone produced by the liver called fibroblast growth factor 21, or FGF21, might play a role in curbing your sweet cravings, suggests a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The brain and gut (which includes the liver) work together in what’s called the central reward system to control what we like and choose to eat – including sweets. Differences in that system can promote unhealthy eating habits, which can lead to obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Read more… “A liver hormone gives new clues to explain your sweet tooth”
There’s been some controversy about whether being overweight, but not obese, might actually link to a longer life. A few years ago a major study suggested that paradox. We wrote about it here.
For lower cancer risk, healthy weight is key. AICR’s reports find that overweight and obesity increase risk for 11 cancers, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.
In this new analysis on weight and mortality, researchers used a person’s highest weight during the study and found that those who were overweight or obese had increased risk for early death. The data comes from 225,000 participants in the Nurses Health Studies (NHS I and II) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). It was published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.