If you want to lose weight, do this one thing.
Yes, it’s good to limit sugar and processed foods, but that’s not it.
It’s also great for your body to exercise, but that may not result in weight loss.
So, what’s the one thing you can do to drop weight and keep it off?
Read on to find out!
The One Thing to Change
It’s important to eat a healthy diet because calories from cookies are not equal to calories from vegetables. But let’s say you eat reasonably healthy and exercise but still can't lose weight.
It’s possible that the one thing you need to change is when you eat the bulk of your calories. Several studies have shown that overweight people who eat half or more of their calories before 3 p.m. lose weight.
Conversely, overweight people who eat a late lunch and later dinner, often struggle to lose weight. This group typically eats a small breakfast or skips it altogether. This is the opposite of what you want to do if you’re trying to slim down, researchers say.
In the studies, both groups eat the same amount of calories and types of healthy food. The people who consume 70% or more of their calories in breakfast, a morning snack, and lunch, (and only 30% for an afternoon snack and dinner) lose significantly more weight.
In one study, subjects had as few as 14% of their overall calories at dinner, resulting in more than twice the pounds lost. However, just switching your main meal to lunch instead of dinner also causes weight loss. Researchers say eating “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” has several metabolic benefits, including weight loss.
Why Front-loading Calories Works
Why does front-loading calories help people lose weight? In short, because of circadian rhythms of the body. The body uses more energy to digest food in the morning than it does in the evening, so there are fewer calories left to store. The body processes and stores more glucose in the morning when muscles are prepping for the day, versus in the evening when muscles aren’t readily taking in extra blood sugar.
Blood sugar spikes drastically more after a big meal in the evening compared to a big meal for breakfast. Therefore, studies show that shifting the bulk of calories to morning may also contribute to blood sugar control.
There are a few caveats in the research, though. Not everyone reacts to eating meals late the same way. Some night owls can eat as late as 2 a.m. and not gain weight (note, they’re not trying to lose weight either). Genetics play a big role in our metabolism. Most of these studies are geared toward obese and overweight people who need to lose pounds.
Additionally, a small study of people with diabetes or pre-diabetes who ate 80% of their calories before 1 p.m. didn’t lose more weight than those who ate more calories later in the day/evening. However, that study was on only 41 people, and they all lost weight and had decreased blood pressure because of calorie reduction.
Overall, front-loading calories in the morning and eating dinner that’s more like a snack helps remarkably for most people trying to lose weight. The switch might take some time, but the results could be worth it, both for your waistline and metabolic health.