To snack or not to snack, what should be advised for weight management?
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Speculation about whether to snack or not occurs widely amongst the media, among weight loss clients, and health professionals. Australia's current weight management guidelines suggest eating regularly. We aim to provide health professionals with a summary of the evidence regarding the links between eating frequency and weight and health, and identify the scientific basis for the theories that continue to encourage health professionals to manipulate eating frequency as a tool for weight management. Databases were searched for articles that considered an association between eating frequency and weight or health using a range of eating frequency-related search terms. Longer-term interventions suggest that eating frequency does not have an effect on weight, glucose, or insulin control, and that blood lipid markers are unaffected by eating frequency in those who are trying to lose weight, although there is strong short-term evidence that blood lipid levels may be reduced with higher eating frequencies during weight maintenance. Hunger and energy expenditure appear unaffected by eating frequency during weight loss. Sustaining a change in eating frequency also appears to be challenging over the longer term. The literature examined often had small sample sizes, short-term interventions, with a wide array of definitions used to define an eating occasion. Overall with little evidence to suggest that eating frequency has benefits to weight and health, health professionals should consider the pros and cons about suggesting changes to eating frequency for weight management. Funding: Australian Postgraduate Award and William Arnott Scholarship
The Second Asia Pacific Research Symposium: Dealing with Chronicity and Disability: Nursing Practice Innovation
Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified