Maybe the secret to weight loss isn’t just about what you eat, but when.
A new study in the research journal Obesity tried out a diet on two groups of women over three months. Everybody ate the same amount of calories. The difference was which meal they got most of them from.
People in a breakfast (BF) group got 50 percent of their daily calories from breakfast, 36 percent at lunch, and 14 percent at dinner. People in a dinner (D) group flipped it around and got half of theirs from the evening meal. The results? The average BF group person lost twice as many pounds and twice as many inches as the average D group person. The Wall Street Journal summarizes the results:
The BF subjects lost an average 19.1 pounds over 12 weeks, while the D group shed 7.9 pounds. BF subjects trimmed 3.3 inches from their waistlines compared with 1.5 inches in D group; body-mass index dropped 10 percent and 5 percent in the BF and D groups, respectively.
The breakfast group also saw more improvement in other metrics, including triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, good cholesterol, glucose, insulin and ghrelin.
There are, naturally, some caveats. For one, the study was only three months long, so it couldn’t assess long-term effects. For another, the participants were all from a very specific demographic: Overweight and obese women in their mid-40s who have metabolic syndrome, a group of health conditions associated with Type 2 diabetes. Maybe further research will show this diet strategy applies more broadly, but this study doesn’t say that.
The diet also sounds kind of rough: 1,400 calories per day. That means meals of roughly 700, 500 and 200 calories, which requires some smart planning, serious portion control, and a lot of discipline.
Want some other ideas for weight loss? Check out the video below for what you can accomplish without a gym membership.