When Doctors Don’t Know the Best Medical Advice

Some of their outdated tips may compromise your care or sabotage your health goals. Here, medical advice you can safely ignore.

By Sharon Liao from Reader's Digest Magazine | June 2013

Old Medical Advice: Eat five or six small meals a day to lose weight. After research published in such prestigious journals as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that frequent mini meals better control blood sugar and cholesterol levels, some experts claimed that this eating pattern could also boost metabolism and help you drop pounds.

New Medical Advice: This eating pattern may actually cause overeating. Scientists from Purdue University put men on a low-calorie, high-protein diet and found that those who were served six smaller meals felt hungrier (and didn’t lose any more weight) than those given three larger ones. “Small portions don’t bring on a substantial feeling of fullness,” explains study author Heather Leidy, PhD, now an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri. The desire to eat persists, she says, making that midafternoon cookie seem more tempting. You may be better off with three square meals a day and a small protein-packed snack in the afternoon, like apple slices with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with berries.

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