Experts say a 'nibbling diet' can also lower cholesterol
Diet experts have often talked about the virtues of eating ‘little and often’ – and now they are suggesting we should be eating as many as nine meals a day to lose weight.
This type of ‘nibbling diet’ could also lower blood pressure and cholesterol in the body.
Scientists from Imperial College, London, compared the diets of more than 2,000 people from countries including the UK, Japan and the US.
Half the participants ate fewer than six times a day while the others ate more frequently than six times. All participants took in the same number of calories.
The first group had a higher blood pressure and were heavier than the more frequent eaters.
Eating throughout the day means a release of fatty acids (which can cause a build up of fats in the arteries) into the body is prevented.
The meals eaten should be up to 300 cals or less, and eating frequent meals should not be an excuse to eat more.
Expert Dr Susan Jebb says: ‘The danger is that encouragement to “eat more frequently” becomes a licence to consume too many calories and that usually involves more fat, sugar and salt, too — all of which will negate the small effects of more frequent eating,’ she says.
‘One strategy might be to split your main meal into two, and save dessert for a mid-meal snack.’