Meal Size And Frequency

F E Leahy, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Man's eating habits are changing. Terms such as 'super-sizing,' 'portion distortion,' and 'grazing' have appeared in the contemporary vernacular. Therefore, a better understanding of meal size and frequency is particularly important, especially considering the potential role that these new eating patterns may be playing in the dramatic increase in the incidence of illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in society.

The principal consequences that changes in meal size and frequency have on the body relate to the absorption and metabolism of food. Several factors in addition to meal size and frequency influence absorption and metabolism, such as the physical characteristics of the food, its macronutrient composition, the energy density of the diet, and the physical volume of the meal. However, the particular contribution that changes in meal size and frequency have made to the dramatic change in society's eating patterns makes them worthy of special attention.

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