Larger Lunch, Smaller Dinner, Better for Weight Loss
It is common in US culture for people to consume their largest, most calorie rich meal for dinner, once they are done with work. However, this may not be as good for your health as when you consume more calories at lunch or breakfast and fewer calories at dinner. A study reported in a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that without changing total calories, eating your larger meal at lunch and a smaller meal at dinner resulted in significantly more weight loss and better control with blood sugar.(1) It is common for health professionals and nutritionists to recommend eating a smaller meal in the evening because you will be doing less activity and not burning off the calories. But other research seems to indicate that what matters is how many calories are consumed during the day, not when those calories are consumed. This new study lends evidence that eating a smaller dinner is helpful.
This research confirms that overweight and obese women who consumed a larger meal at lunch and a smaller meal at dinner lost 12 lbs, 9 oz (5.7 kilograms) as compared to 9 lbs, 7 oz (4.3 kg) for those who consumed a larger dinner. Overweight and obese women who followed the larger lunch strategy saw greater decreases both in the fasting insulin levels and the HOMA-IR, a measure of insulin resistance. This strategy of consuming a smaller dinner and a larger lunch appears to be effective both for weight loss and weight management as well as for blood sugar control and prevention of diabetes. This study did not include patients who have diabetes, though other research indicates that this type of strategy may be effective for diabetics as well.(2)
1. Madjd A, Taylor MA, Delavari A, et al. Beneficial effect of high energy intake at lunch rather than dinner on weight loss in healthy obese women in weight-loss program: a randomized clinical trial. AJCN. 2016;104:982-9.
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