Researchers at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, tested the hypothesis that the mechanism responsible for reduced intake was not the dietary composition of the meal replacement, but the controlled portion sized meals.
First, the details.
17 volunteers ate all of their meals and snacks from foods provided by the research unit from Monday to Friday for 5 consecutive weeks.
Week 1: all participants selected their food from a buffet where each food was weighed before and after eating.
Weeks 2 and 3: half of the group selected their lunch by choosing one food from a selection of 6 commercially available portion controlled foods.
They could eat as much as they wished at other meals or snacks.
Weeks 4 and 5: the conditions were reversed for the 2 groups.
And, the results.
Consuming the portion controlled lunches resulted in about a 250 kcal reduction in energy intake.
The volunteers didn’t make up for the lower calorie intake at other meal and snack times on the days they ate portion-controlled lunches.
There was a significant loss of body weight (1.1 pounds per person in 2 weeks).
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The results suggest that the mere substitution of one smaller portioned meal each day is sufficient to cause reduction in daily energy intake and a significant amount of weight.”
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.