Smaller lunches could help reduce body weight, claim scientists

30 August 2011

Consuming a smaller amount of food at lunchtime could help people lose weight, scientists at Cornell University have argued.

In a study monitoring the effect that eating controlled portions of food at lunchtime has on overweight people, researchers noted how the trial group did not compensate for their lower energy intake by eating more throughout the remainder of the day.

This suggests that the human body has no way of measuring whether a small drop in energy intake has taken place, according to scientists in the Appetite journal paper.

"Making small reductions in energy intake to compensate for the increasing number of calories available in our food environment may help prevent further weight gain," suggested doctoral student Carly Pacanowski, who co-authored the study that could help to reduce the need for weight loss surgery among clinically obese people.

In a series of special papers published in the Lancet last week (August 26th), health professionals and medical practitioners called for a global strategy to tackle what they claim is the worldwide pandemic in obesity.

Steven Gortmaker, professor of health sociology at Harvard School of Public Health, called for tax increases on unhealthy food with corresponding lower prices on healthier ones.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Levitsky, David A., and Carly Pacanowskia, " Losing weight without dieting. Use of commercial foods as meal replacements for lunch produces an extended energy deficit". Appetite. October 2011.

2 Gortmaker, Steven L., "Changing the Future of Obesity: Science, Policy, and Action". The Lancet. Friday August 27th 2011.

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