When we think of dieting and losing weight, we associate this with eating far less food. This is definitely true to a point, but your body gets used to a certain food intake and you suffer from a ‘rebound effect’ if you try and cut down, often snacking instead.
What if we told you that there’s a way of losing weight and keeping a slimmer physique, but eating the same breakfast and dinner as you’re used to eating?
The latest research – yes, more research – this time from the University of Surrey, published in the latest Journal of Nutritional Science, concluded that if people delayed their breakfast by 90 minutes, bringing it closer to lunch, then brought forward their dinner by 90 minutes (and skipping lunch entirely), they lost twice the amount of body fat after 10 weeks, reducing body fat by 2-3 per cent, despite not cutting down on their food intake.
There were some solid reasons for this. By pushing forward breakfast, the subjects snacked less as they didn’t feel hungry and larger dinner saw them through to bedtime. There were no restrictions on what participants could eat, but those who changed their mealtimes ate less food overall than those outside the control group.
Dr Jonathan Johnson, from the University of Surrey, stated “this is very encouraging. People can still, to some degree, eat the food that they would like but if they simply change the time at which they eat then that can have a long-term benefit”.
As always, there are issues with the research. The test group consisted of only 13 subjects. However, this was necessary as the tests were designed to see if it was worth carrying out a more widescale test with a larger group. The research also didn’t specific an ideal time for breakfast or dinner and everyone’s dinner can vary. If you’re used to eating at 6 pm, bringing this forward by 90 minutes means you’re eating 4.30pm. Not particularly realistic if you’re at work.
Pushing back breakfast might be more realistic. However, if, like us at Short Motivation, you like to get up very early and be exercising before work, you’ll get hungry more quickly, making eating breakfast, later, more unrealistic. Most of this research doesn’t take into account exercise, training and how this might affect your body, need for food and when you are likely to become hungry as a result of using energy.