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To lose weight, try eating dinner at lunch

Written by Diane Archer

A 2016 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports on results of a randomized clinical trial of healthy overweight women enrolled in a weight-loss program. The trial found that eating a large meal midday and a light meal in the evening helped them lose more weight. What you eat matters, of course; but to lose weight, try eating dinner, your bigger meal, at lunch.

The researchers studied 69 participants taking part in a comprehensive diet plan over a 12-week period, with about half eating a large meal at dinner and a light meal at lunch and the other half eating a large meal at lunch and a light meal at dinner. The group that ate their large meal at lunch lost significantly more weight than the group that ate their large meal at dinner. The researchers concluded that people who have “higher energy intake”–consume more calories–for lunch than at dinner may see beneficial effects in terms of weight loss.

The data from an earlier study show that eating more calories at lunch than at dinner is associated with reduced risk of becoming overweight. Relatedly, eating fewer calories at dinner is associated with greater risk of becoming overweight. Another study shows that skipping breakfast could also help you lose weight.

In addition to how much you eat at different times of the day, what you eat also can affect your metabolism and your weight. Good nutrition is important, with many studies making the case for a Mediterranean diet. How often you eat also can affect your weight.

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