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Eating Frequency and Anthropometry

  • Karine Duval
  • Éric Doucet
Chapter

Abstract

There is a belief that eating between meals, or snacking, leads to increases in weight and obesity. Public health advice for body weight control often suggests avoiding snacks between meals in order to not increase total energy intake. However, available results from research on the influence of eating frequency on body weight status are equivocal. Studies in both adults and children have either failed to find a significant relationship between eating frequency and adiposity, or have found an inverse relationship. Several methodological discrepancies have been proposed to explain some differences observed between studies or the lack of such a relationship: various definitions of eating occasions, under-reporting of food intake, especially among the obese, various methods of assessing food intake and body composition, and the fact that many studies did not take into account factors related to energy expenditure, especially physical activity. Despite the inconclusive results, eating frequency seems to be related with leanness in men. In women, many studies found no association or negative correlation between eating frequency and adiposity, despite a higher energy intake. It was suggested that a higher eating frequency could very well be a marker of a physically active lifestyle, at least in leaner individuals. The impact of eating frequency on weight loss during energy restriction and on energy expenditure is more conclusive. No difference in total energy expenditure has been documented as a function of daily eating occasions and weight loss does not seem to be facilitated by high meal frequency. There is a need to examine the relationship between eating frequency and adiposity using longer-term studies with sufficiently large sample sizes and using adequate and standardized methodologies.

Keywords

Cholesterol Obesity Carbohydrate Polypeptide Calorimetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

BMI

Body mass index

BMR

Basal metabolic rate

DLW

Doubly labeled water

EE

Energy expenditure

EF

Eating frequency

EI

Energy intake

GIP

Glucose-dependent Insulinotropic Polypeptide

HMG-CoA

Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA

LDL

Low density lipoprotein

PAEE

Physical activity energy expenditure

PAL

Physical activity level

REE

Resting energy expenditure

RMR

Resting metabolic rate

TEE

Total energy expenditure

TEF

Thermic effect of food

VO2peak

Peak oxygen uptake

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioral and Metabolic Research Unit, School of Human KineticsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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