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Snacking Between Meals Could Be What's Causing Your Belly Fat

May 7, 2014
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Attention, snackers: You might want to put down your mid-morning or mid-afternoon nosh before reading this.

Eating three meals without snacks may be healthier than grazing on the same number of calories in the form of smaller bites or mini meals throughout the day, says new research published in the journalHepatology. In the study, 36 lean, healthy adults were assigned to either high-calorie or normal-calorie diets for six weeks. Among those in the high-calorie group, some were given three high-fat, high-sugar drinks along with each of their meals, while others were given the same three drinks two to three hours after each meal.

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Not surprisingly, all of the people in the high-calorie group gained weight. But those who sipped their calorie-laden drinks in between meals also had lower insulin sensitivity, plus higher levels of abdominal and liver fat, which are associated with a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Experts aren't exactly sure why, but they suspect that the bump in belly fat could have something to do with how our metabolisms handle the frequent insulin spikes that come from all-day grazing. "The metabolic machinery to handle nutrients probably functions best when our body is exposed to cycles of fasting and feeding, and less during constant exposure to nutrients," says study coauthor and University of Amsterdam researcher Mireille Serlie, MD, PhD.

Still, this study looked at people who snacked on unhealthy stuff. Does the same apply to nutritious, lower-calorie snacks? For now, researchers aren't sure. "We showed that the accumulation of fat in the liver is also affected by timing of food intake, besides the known effects of diet composition and caloric content of food," Serlie says. In some cases, at least, you might be what you eat—and when you eat it, too.






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Date: 12.12.2018, 01:27 / Views: 65574