Eating less not the best way to lose weight, research finds

Recent research, in the journal Appetite, proposes that, when it comes to dieting, it is not how much you eat — but rather, what you eat — that influences calorie intake the most.

Serving peopel larger portions leads them to consume more food. This response causes considerable increases in energy intake across different types of foods, people, and settings.

Choosing more healthful foods, like salads, may be more important than the amount of food which we eat.
Faris Zuraikat, a graduate student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, led the new research. It follows up from a preceding 1-year randomized controlled trial. They explored how different food servings influenced weight loss.

The previous experiment aimed to explore the “portion size effect,”. It happens when people are served greater portions than what they want but end up eating more, however.

After this, the preceding experiment trained the members. They trained them to gain control over their shares, presenting them with advantageous strategies for portion size management.

In this newl trial study, the researchers wanted to check if people who had been formally trained to manage their shares would respond differently to increase portion sizes by comparing them with untrained people. The first author of the study explains, the researchers “[w]ere also concerned in whether those untrained persons with obesity and overweight or normal weight differed in their response.”

Calorie intake vs. portion size effect

To find out the results, the researchers gathered three groups of women;

  • 34 women who were overweight and had not taken part in the previous trial
  • 29 healthy “control” women with a normal weight and who had also not participated in the trial
  • 39 women with obesity and overweight who had taken part in the portion-controlling trial

During the research, all women were served the same amount of food once a week for 4 weeks. But in a random order, the size of their food increased.
Additionally and considerably the researchers varied the calorie content of the food served. The foods served to them was ranged from high-calorie foods, like garlic bread, to low-calorie ones, such as salads.

The study discovered that when bigger portions were given to them, the women consumed more food across all three groups. Nonetheless, the participants who had been trained about portion control in the experiment behaved differently. They consumed fewer calories than the untrained participants.

“The lower intake of the energy of trained participants was due to consumption of meals with a bigger amount of lower energy foods than controls,” write the authors.

“Same meals were served to all the groups, but their food selections varied,” describes the study’s lead author.

“The  intake of participants who went through the training of portion control was different. They consumed more of the lesser calorie-dense foods and less of the greater calorie-dense foods than the untrained controls.”

“Subsequently, the calorie intake of trained participants was less than that of the control groups. Because their intake did not vary by weight status.”

Why choosing low-calorie food is significant

The lead researcher of the study explains the importance of the outcomes, saying, “The consequences display that choosing healthy, lower-calorie-dense foods was more suitable. It was also more effective and more sustainable than just trying to resist big portions of greater calorie options.”

“If you select high-calorie-dense meals but restrict the amount that you’re eating, portions will be too small, and you are likely to become hungry,” Zuraikat goes on.

Barbara Rolls, who is a professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State and a co-author in the research, also chimes in.

“The study supports the idea of consuming more of the nutritious food. The lower-calorie-dense foods and less of the higher-calorie-dense foods can surely help you to manage hunger while taking fewer calories.”

“You still have a full plate,” she says, “but you are changing the amounts of the different varieties of foods.”
The findings are predominantly significant. The persons who want to lose weight are often stated that eating “a little of everything” helps, as long as the food is consumed in control.

On the other hand, the new study seems to propose that choosing more nutritious, low-calorie foods is much more vital than trying to eat less.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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