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The effect of meal frequency and protein concentration on the composition of the weight lost by obese subjects

  • J. S. Garrow (a1), Merril Durrant (a1), Sandra Blaza (a1), Deborah Wilkins (a1), P. Royston (a1) and Shirley Sunkin (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/BJN19810072
  • Published online: 01 March 2007
Abstract

1. Nitrogen balance, weight loss and resting metabolic rate were measured in thirty-eight obese inpatients on 3.4 MJ (800 kcal)/d diets over 3 weeks.

2. All subjects were fed on 13% protein-energy in three rneals/d for the first week.

3. In weeks 2 or 3, using a cross-over design, ten subjects were fed on 15 or 10% protein-energy as three meals/d; fourteen subjects were fed on five or one meal/d with 13%protein energy; and fourteen subjects were fed on 15% protein-energy as five meals/d or 10% protein-energy as one meal/d.

4. N loss was least on the high-protein week and frequent-meal week: the largest difference was found when these effects were combined (P < 0.001).

5. When protein-energy was held constant at 13% N loss decreased significantly (P < 0.01) between week 2 and 3, but when the protein-energy was manipulated there was no significant N conservation in the third week. This suggests that the protein:energy value is more important than meal frequency in the preservation of lean tissue.

6. Weight loss was also least on the ‘high-protein’ week and ‘frequent-meal’ week, but this result reached significance only when the effects were combined (P < 0.05).

7. Resting metabolic rate decreased with time but was not significantly altered by the dietary regimens.

8. Therefore, during the first 3 weeks at an intake of 3.4 MJ/d, a diet with a high-protein concentration, fed as frequent small meals, is associated with better preservation of lean tissue than an isoenergetic diet with lower-protein concentration fed as fewer meals. There was no evidence that meal frequency or protein concentration affect the rate of fat loss.

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W. M. Bortz , A. Wroldsen , B. Issekutz & K. Rodahl (1966). New Eng. J. Med. 274, 376.

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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