Credit: Anker SystemWomen who skip dinner tonight may have a reason to reevaluate their nutrition: they may gain weight. Thats according to a preliminary study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published in the Journal of Clinical Obesity.

Weight gain in older people requires calorie restriction due to a lack of appetite and the bodys elimination of energy substrates within the first 24 hours of eating said UAB dietician and study co-author Andrew Sorensen Ph. D. assistant professor of nutrition sciences at UAB. While caloric restriction is the most common form we also know that men and women can follow different lifestyles and thereby find it difficult to remain in a normal weight. Many older adults regularly eat calories from food but dont maintain the lost weight that occurs with caloric restriction. Sorensen says that in older children and adolescents skipping dinner can lead to weight gain notably to a gain of more weight on a daily basis.

Sorensen and graduate student Jenny Han Ph. D. set out to explore how skipping dinner impacts calorie consumption and weight gain in adults.

The researchers enrolled 115 healthy adults and developed two feeding and calorie-restricted diets and one of the diets contained 49 grams of fat 35 grams of protein and approximately 40 grams of carbohydrate. The males and females allocated to diets that contained more fat and protein bout 52 per cent and 46 per cent respectively while the females allocated to diets that contained less fat and protein got 48 per cent of their the calories in the typical calorie-restricted diet. Males and females both had to eat between dinner and supper.

The caloric restrictions severely restricted both types of carbohydrate and energy sources (fat protein and sugar) in the diets. All meals were low-fat or low-carb high-fat or high-carbohydrate for either four or eight weeks.

Sorensen said the results from the study were a bit of a surprise because they were so different. Even though its in line with what we see in clinical practice in real terms its slightly more difficult to explain this difference he said. Both diets restrict carbohydrate intake but the caloric restriction diet is usually low in energy and low in protein so its more difficult to see whats happening in the diet. Also you have to eat the same foods for as long as youre on both diets. Ultimately the caloric restriction diet results in just 20 grams of fat on average for each individual compared with an average of 19 grams of fat for men and 24 grams of fat for women. Fatty food intakes were similar for both groups. Footnote: Fat is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. Your weight depends on the food source and texture. Where fat reaches you depends on the weight you carry whether youre a stone-thin or a weight-conscious six-foot-tall 100-pound guy who consumes about 7500 calories per day. Footnote: Footnotes to the study: The balance between fat mass and weight loss is not wholly determined by the type of fat consumed or how the body metabolizes lipids Sorensen notes.