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According to a South African study, men who ate their morning meals over the course of several hours ate 30% fewer calories at lunch and reported reduced feelings of hunger.

I am not quite sure how to parse the sentence.

And I am also not sure the meaning of 'ate their morning meals over the course of several hours'. Does it mean 'ate morning meals for several hours'?

What's the grammar for 'reported reduced feelings of hunger'? enter image description here

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It's unusual for people to eat multiple "meals" in the morning. But I guess what is meant is that a person can divide their breakfast into several "meals" which they eat over the course of the morning. If we assume this is what is meant, then the sentence is saying that people who followed this ritual reported that that they felt less hungry and ate less for lunch. Reduced feelings of hunger is a common phrase which means that the sensations of hunger (such as a grumbling stomach) felt diminished. The people in the study reported these findings to the researchers.

Hope this helps, let me know!

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  • I got it. This definitely helped! Thank you very much!
    – dan
    Jan 2, 2018 at 7:42
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    Now that I read the original sentence again, I realize that "morning meals" means "breakfasts": men who ate their breakfasts over the course of several hours. The plural "meals" doesn't mean one person is eating multiple meals, it means multiple people are eating a single breakfast each. It's not written very well.
    – Ringo
    Jan 2, 2018 at 7:51
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    @Dan - Most people eat their breakfast in a matter of minutes. Evidently, these people started eating at, say, 8AM and didn’t finish until 10 o’clock or so. I can’t imagine they are eating the whole time. I think it means they are eating little by little, probably while doing other activities or working. It would have helped if you had linked to the source.
    – J.R.
    Jan 2, 2018 at 9:25
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    Well, see, that proves my point. The key to this passage is in the preceding sentence: Eating five to six smaller meals a day is healthier than eating three large ones. The writer is saying that it’s better to eat two small breakfasts spread out over time than to eat a huge breakfast all at once. By omitting that sentence, though, and quoting only the one after it, it almost looks like the passage you included is exhorting the reader to sit at a buffet for several hours.
    – J.R.
    Jan 2, 2018 at 10:03
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    Whether you call it one meal broken out over several hours OR several meals broken out over the morning, it ultimately means the same thing. I don't think there's reason to get too caught up in the writer's vague wording.
    – Ringo
    Jan 2, 2018 at 22:46

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