One way to lose weight is to eat a light lunch. According to David Levitsky and Carly Pacanowski of Cornell University, this holds true even if the other meals of the day are not restricted. Contrary to popular opinion, most people do not compensate for a light lunch by eating more than usual for dinner. Thus, their daily calorie consumption decreases when they eat less at lunchtime.
The researchers provided all weekday food for 17 volunteers for five weeks. During two of those weeks, lunches were restricted for calorie content, but the subjects were free to eat as much as they liked for all other meals and snacks. During the restricted weeks, the participants consumed about 250 fewer calories per day, leading to a weight loss of about half a pound per week.
I do have some reservations about this data. I suspect that when people know that everything they eat will be weighed and recorded, they don’t grab a second piece of pie after dinner even if they’re ‘allowed’. In other words, the subjects of this study may have been restricting all their meals to some extent. Still, there was a clear daily calorie reduction associated with eating lighter lunches.