Skipping meals is not the secret to effective weight loss. It only results in a higher body mass index, bigger waist circumference, and mental disorders.

A team of researchers at the University of Helsinki surveyed nearly 5,000 men and women to determine changes in their weight, as well as the factors affecting their health.

The first survey was given when they were all 24 years of age, and the second after 10 years when they have already reached 34.

Results show that a majority of the participants, unfortunately, gained weight throughout the entire decade, with women putting on an average of 0.9 kilogram and men, an average of 1.0 kilogram annually. Only 7.5 percent of women and 3.8 percent of men experienced weight loss during such period.

Moreover, researchers discovered several risk factors that lead to weight gain in both sexes. In women, giving birth to more than one child, discontentment in life, and frequent consumption of sweetened drinks were the biggest factors recorded. As for men, the team identified smoking as the strongest factor.

On the other hand, factors that helped in preventing additional weight in men include an increased weight when they were 24 and a higher educational attainment. For women, it’s physical exercise.

Effective Weight Management Involves Regular Eating Habits

Although regular exercise and healthy eating habits are vital in managing weight, the research made by the team in Finland highlights the long-term benefits of refraining from conventional diets and following a regular eating pattern.

“Prior research has shown that approximately every other adult is constantly dieting,” says Ulla Kärkkäinen, nutritional therapist and co-author of the study. “Even though dieting may seem a logical solution to weight management problems, it can actually increase weight gain and eating problems in the long run.”

The recent findings are proof that instead of focusing on how to lose weight, people should continue eating regular meals to maintain good well-being.

In a report, researchers particularly highlight that getting sufficient nutrition is what matters most as it encourages normal function of the human body.

Details of the FinnTwin 16 study were published November 2017 in the electronic journal ResearchGate.

Regular Meals Prevents Obesity

This type of study is known as “chrono-nutrition.” In a similar research, it’s defined as the investigation of the effects of nutrition on metabolism through observing regularity and frequency of meals.

This research, which was conducted by another team at the University of Cambridge, has revealed that eating regular meals for two weeks resulted in lower insulin and cholesterol levels, not just in lean women but also among obese ones.