Following a regular eating pattern is more effective in managing weight than conventional dieting, which in fact may result in bigger waist and mental disorder, a recent Finnish study showed.
Researchers at the University of Helsinki followed for 10 years nearly 5,000 men and women, aged 24 at the start of the study, to determine changes in their weight as well as the factors affecting their health.
One key finding of the research was that getting effective weight management involved regular eating habits.
"Even though dieting may seem a logical solution to weight management problems, it can actually increase weight gain and eating problems in the long run," said Ulla Karkkainen, nutritional therapist and co-author of the study.8 Instead, the study stressed the long-term benefits of refraining from conventional diets and following a regular eating pattern, and highlighted the importance of getting sufficient nutrition as it encouraged normal function of the human body.
In health science, researchers categorize this type of study as "chrono-nutrition," an investigation of the effects of nutrition on metabolism through observing regularity and frequency of meals.
In a similar "chrono-nutrition" study at the University of Cambridge, participants, all women, tested lower insulin and cholesterol levels after two weeks of observing regular meals, despite their body sizes.
In the meantime, the Finnish researchers discovered several risk factors that led to weight gain in both sexes.
In women, giving birth to more than one child, discontentment in life, and frequent consumption of sweetened drinks were the biggest factors recorded, while smoking was the strongest factor leading to men's weight gain, their findings showed.