There are a lot of doctors who advice their patients to eat less, not more. However, all of that might change due to the results of a new study that says eating no less than six times a day might hold the secret to beating heart disease.
The study reveals that the risk of dying from clogged arteries can go down by more than 30% if an individual eats six meals or snacks per day compared to eating only four or three meals in 24 hours. The results of the study also went on to suggest that the risk of dying goes down even further if the overall daily energy intake of a person is more than the recommended daily calorie levels of 2,000 and 2,500 for women and men respectively.
The current findings could play a role in changing what health professionals think of eating habits. It might even force them to change their previous recommendations. A lot of doctors recommend that people should only eat three meals a day that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only a little bit of snacking is allowed in-between meals. However, the latest study, published in the Annals of Epidemiology, says that sticking to the three-meals-a-day routine can worsen the heart’s health. The researchers of the study think that the human body is more suitable to digest or metabolize smaller portions of food for energy at a time.
Having a larger meal in one sitting has more chances of overloading a person’s metabolic system. This can lead to the triggering of illnesses such as diabetes and larger fat deposits inside the body. Both illnesses amplify the risk of heart disease.
Instead of eating larger meals the study suggests regular nibbling could be comparatively better to ensure the health of a person’s heart. Before people start eating at least six meals in a day the researchers were quick to warn that the more-meals-per-day diet is only beneficial if the diet is rich in vegetables and fruits and low in junk food. Approximately 7,000 adults took part in the study by Johns Hopkins University and University of Baltimore. All of the participants were followed up for more than 14 years.
The results of the study showed that nearly 30% of the participants ate at least six times per day. A total of 4% of the participants insisted that they ate once or twice during the whole day. The observations showed that individuals who ate near to six meals a day consumed more calories, but their average intake during each meal was lower. Such individuals also preferred to eat healthier food.
Tracking the individuals for more than a decade revealed that people who ate six times a day or even more showed a 32% lowered risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases compared to participants who ate three or four times a day.
According to the researchers, “People eating more frequently were less likely to have a large waist circumference or to be obese.”
Tracy Parker, a dietitian and part of the British Heart Foundation, said that “Following a healthy diet, by eating regular and balanced meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and fish, can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease.”
The current research supports previous studies that also emphasize eating more meals per day for a healthier lifestyle.