A study by the University of Barcelona showed that the more meals a day, the lower the body mass index and the better the function of the circadian clock.
Eating five to six meals a day on a regular basis will reduce body mass index (BMI).This is the research published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Which also shows Increased meal frequency Related to better features Circadian clock.
According to the director of the work, Trinidad Cambras, Professor of physiology and Maria IzquierdoProfessor of Nutrition and Hematology, University of Barcelona,UB), this can be taken into account in the nutritional recommendations, both to prevent obesity and to change the circadian rhythm.
In recent years, it has been proven that meal time is an important synchronizer of our internal clock. The synchronizer is a rhythmic external variable with the ability to indicate the time to the clock. Therefore, meal times will change the molecular schedules of different organizations, indicating whether it is day or night.
“In this way, the liver, pancreas and even adipose tissue are prepared to manage the nutrients in the daytime diet, which will help maintain the balance of energy and nutrition in the body.” First author María Fernanda Zerón explained the investigation.
The new work extends the previous results. Therefore, not only the meal time, but also the frequency and regularity of the meal will affect the function of our internal clock, which in turn affects people’s health. To arrive at this result, the researchers analyzed the diet, sleep and meal times, body temperature and BMI of 260 people in their 20s and 30s.
The results showed that the higher the frequency of meals, the lower the body mass index. However, this does not mean that you should always eat. Trinitat Cambras said: “The results indicate that five or six meals should be cooked every three or four hours a day and within an interval of less than fourteen hours.”
Meal frequency and circadian rhythm
Researchers also observed that as the number of meals per day increases, calorie consumption at night will decrease. “Maria emphasized: “Supper or overeating and skipping breakfast are all related to the increased prevalence of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. As the night approaches, our bodies prepare to sleep without eating, which means we must fast. “Isquierdo.
In addition, this study looked at the relationship between meal frequency and internal clock health. For this, the daily ambient temperature pattern (a sign of circadian rhythm) is used as a reference. In this way, the daily pattern of the ambient temperature of people who eat five to six meals a day is more robust. This means that the temperature difference between day and night is greater, which indicates that the circadian rhythm is more pronounced, that is, healthier.
In addition, eating five to six meals a day will cause a slight increase in temperature at noon, which is also a characteristic of a healthy circadian rhythm. “All this suggests that meal frequency may also play an important role in synchronizing our internal clocks. However, more research is still needed to confirm these findings.” Izquierdo concluded.
Zeron Ruglio (MF); Díez-Noguera, A.; Izquierdo-Pulido, M., y Cambras, T. “Higher eating frequency is associated with obesity and lower circadian rhythm: a cross-sectional study “. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2020, 23: nqaa282. Doi (Doi): 10.1093 / ajcn / nqaa282