Having a light lunch is one of the simplest ways of losing weight, research finds.
People in the study lost weight despite not following any special diet or changing their lifestyle.
They ate a ‘portion-controlled’ light lunch every day for two weeks, but could eat whatever they liked at other times.
Participants lost an average of just over 1 pound in two weeks.
If they had continued at this rate, they would have lost at least 25 pounds in a year, the scientists estimate.
Carly Pacanowski, who co-authored the study, said:
“Making small reductions in energy intake to compensate for the increasing number of calories available in our food environment may help prevent further weight gain, and one way of doing this could be to consume portion-controlled lunches a few times a week.”
The study involved 17 people who ate what they liked apart from a sticking to a light lunch.
The results showed that people did not compensate for the light lunch by eating more at other times — so they lost weight.
On average, they consumed 250 fewer calories per day and lost 1.1 pounds.
Professor David Levitsky, the study’s first author, said:
“The results confirm that humans do not regulate energy intake with any precision.
Over a year, such a regimen would result in losing at least 25 pounds.”
The study was published in the journal Appetite (Levitsky & Pacanowski, 2011).