Are you familiar with the phrase “Eat breakfast like a king and dinner like a pauper”? Well, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity, if you want to lose weight, that may be the way to go.
Ninety-three obese women with metabolic syndrome were provided with a 1,400-calorie diet for twelve weeks. The participants were divided into two groups; half ate 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner, while the other half ate the reverse: 200 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 700 calories at dinner. Both groups lost weight, however, the large breakfast eaters lost substantially more (18 pounds compared to 8 pounds) and lost more inches from their waists (3 inches versus 1.4).
But before you go making pancakes and eggs tomorrow morning, this strategy may not help you slim down. First, this study was only conducted for 12 weeks, and in the scheme of things that is not a whole lot of time. Also the researchers only looked at women with metabolic syndrome, not women who simply want to lose weight, and either way, most women eating 1,400 calories a day would see the number on the scale go down because that's likely a lot less than what they are currently eating.
Lastly, like most studies, we need to remember that everything was controlled for here—and in the real world that just isn’t the case. Is it realistic to only eat 200 calories for dinner and still be social? I think not. Could you consume 700 calories for breakfast when you simply aren’t hungry in the morning? Again, I think not.
What I do think is that more women need to simply start eating healthy and being more physically active. If they have metabolic syndrome, they should especially make sure their meals are not high in simple carbohydrates and have adequate protein and healthy fats. No one should skip meals; more fruits, veggies and whole grains should be consumed; and 200 calories is way more like a snack than a meal. If you're following a 1,400-calorie diet as these women did, I'd recommend 400-calorie meals and snacks of 200 calories. Perhaps we should all be eating simply as princesses.