Healthy Diet & Nutrition

Skipping a Meal Can Lead to Belly Fat

Skipping meals won’t make you any thinner. In fact, it sets off a chain reaction that can lead to abdominal weight again.

In the study, by researchers from The Ohio State University, mice that ate all of their food as a single meal and fasted the rest of the day developed insulin resistance in their livers – which scientists consider a telltale sign of prediabetes.

According to a news release from the university, the mice initially were put on a restricted diet and lost weight compared to controls that had unlimited access to food. But the restricted-diet mice regained weight as calories were added back into their diets and nearly caught up to controls by the study’s end.

And fat around their middles – the equivalent to human belly fat – weighed more in the restricted-diet mice than in mice that were free to nibble all day long. An excess of that kind of fat is associated with insulin resistance and risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“This does support the notion that small meals throughout the day can be helpful for weight loss, though that may not be practical for many people,” said Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “But you definitely don’t want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss.”

The research was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

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