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Nibbling versus feasting: which meal pattern is better for heart disease prevention?

Bhutani, Surabhi, Varady, Krista A.
Nutrition reviews 2009 v.67 no.10 pp. 591-598
heart diseases, disease prevention, food intake, quantitative analysis, food frequency questionnaires, diet therapy, energy intake, dose response, biomarkers, eating habits, obesity, humans, normal values, human physiology, metabolism, blood lipids, blood plasma, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, triacylglycerols, risk assessment, apolipoproteins, blood pressure
Dietary interventions that limit saturated fat, cholesterol, and energy are generally implemented as the first line of therapy to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Another form of diet therapy that may be effective in protecting against CHD is altering meal frequency without limiting energy. Meal-frequency regimens are classified into two major forms: 1) feasting, i.e., consuming all energy needs in one meal/day, and 2) nibbling, i.e., consuming all energy needs in three, six, nine, 12, or 17 regimented meals/day. Whether one meal pattern, feasting or nibbling, is more effective at improving indicators of CHD risk than the other, remains unresolved. Moreover, whether a dose-dependent relationship exists between biomarker improvement and the number of meals consumed per day also remains unknown. The objective of the present review was to determine which meal pattern, nibbling or feasting, is more effective at improving key indicators of CHD risk in normal-weight and obese, non-diabetic individuals.