How many meals do the Maltese eat in a day? It may seem like an irrelevant question, but considering Malta’s weight loss challenges, one can’t help but ask.
From diehard fasters to autopilot grazers, as many as 31% of 460 respondents took the Lovin Malta weight loss survey and said they stuck with a ‘normal’ three-meals-a-day plan, but almost 50% preferred snacking throughout the day.
On the other end, 20% of respondents opted for a two, or even one-meal-a-day system.
Eating Three times a day
Half of those who claimed they were eating three meals in a day with no snacks in between claimed they were overweight. However, those who included meats, sweets, chocolate, and crisps in their three-day meal plan all said they were obese.
Maltese folks who stuck with three meals per day but placed ‘fruits and vegetables’ and ‘seafoods’ as their top two most consumed foods said they were able to keep the weight off.
They said so, even if their third favourite option was bread, pasta, meat, or even chocolate. Several persons in this group commonly added by saying: “moderation is key.”
What about those eating more?
“Stress leads to comfort eating”
70% of respondents who said they ate more than three meals a day were overweight. Many then added that there was ‘no chance’ that they could trudge through a day without regular snacks, even if they were overweight.
“I eat too much and the wrong foods,” one said. “I find it comforting.”
“I eat five times a day, with snacks included,” said another. “I have put on 25 kg in 25 years.”
Among those who ate small, regular meals that consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables, however, their weight was often in the normal range.
Eating less than three times a day
47% of those who ate less than three meals a day reported being overweight. And once again, the likelihood of being overweight was seen in those whose diet was mostly meats, bread (or pasta), sweets, and crisps.
It may seem like an outrageous figure, but respondents in surveys could also have been playing down how often they actually eat, disregarding what they eat during the day if it was ‘just a snack’ or ‘a small portion’.
Of course, with the increasing popularity of intermittent fasting, many respondents boasted having a ‘perfect shape’ as a result of their newfound lifestyle.
“I am having success long-term with intermittent fasting, whereas I never managed to stick to a more traditional diet.”
The benefits of fasting are widely documented. In fact, giving our bodies at least 12 hours a day without food allows our digestive system to rest, meaning the body’s metabolic machinery is more likely to burn some fat.
While eating less naturally makes you more likely to keep that weight off, there is no question that food quality plays a role.
A three-meals-a-day plan is a good rule of thumb to follow, especially if you’re keeping a 12-hour window in between your last meal and your first meal the next day.
Naturally, since what you eat matters, another good rule of thumb is to fill your plates with low-calorie vegetables.
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