Forget about dieting and counting calories. Simply keeping a regular eating schedule may help manage weight long-term better, according to a new study.
It may sound counterintuitive, but researchers from the University of Helsinki found that dieting and irregular eating habits actually increased a person’s likelihood of gaining weight.
“Often, people try to prevent and manage excess weight and obesity by dieting and skipping meals. In the long term, such approaches seem to actually accelerate getting fatter, rather than prevent it,” explains researcher Ulla Kärkkäinen, a nutritional therapist at the school, in a university release.
Kärkkäinen and her team conducted their study on weight management using data from the “FinnTwin 16” study, an extensive collection of data from over 4,900 young men and women. The study cohort answered surveys indicating weight change factors at the age of 24 and again at the age of 34.
The authors found the vast majority of people gained weight during the decade between the surveys. Only 7.5% of women and 3.8% of men lost weight during that period. Factors affecting weight gain varied in intensity in men and women, but for both genders, dieting and irregular eating habits were prominent factors.
“Generally speaking, weight management guidance often boils down to eating less and exercising more. In practice, people are encouraged to lose weight, whereas the results of our extensive population study indicate that losing weight is not an effective weight management method in the long run,” says Kärkkäinen.
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Source: Study Find