Food and Behaviour Research

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20 May 2015 - Medical Daily - Skipping Meals Promotes Belly Fat Storage, Increases Risk For Insulin Resistance

Justin Caba

Anyone looking to lose weight knows they have to restrict the amount of calories they consume, but how much and when they restrict those calories can make all the difference.

A recent study conducted at Ohio State University has revealed that skipping meals not only leads to abdominal weight gain, but it can also lead to the development of insulin resistance in the liver.

"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," Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said in a statement. "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."

Belury and her colleagues divided mice into two groups: one group that was put on a restricted diet and a second group that was put on an unlimited diet. Mice from the restricted diet group received half of the calories that were given to the unlimited diet group in the first three days before having additional calories added. Although mice in the restricted diet group initially lost more weight compared to those from the unlimited diet group, they regained that weight as calories were added back into their diet.

By the end of the study, the weight of the restricted diet group was similar to the unlimited diet group. However, restricted diet mice had gained more weight around their midsection. Weight around the midsection of mice was likened to belly fat in humans, which is often associated with insulin resistance and higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.