Tired of bringing that mason jar to work filled with salad greens, radishes, tomato wedges and some bean sprouts. Along with a side of celery sticks for your lunch? And after a month or two of doing this, you’re still feeling those pants of your fitting a little too snug? Well, maybe it's time to look into jump starting your metabolism by eating clean foods and tossing all those manufactured processed bags of foods into your trash.
If you have the right balance of food groups built into your meals, not just lunch, you can have your body’s metabolism operating at peak efficiency, in about two weeks, and see the results to back up this claim. But one thing to keep in mind is that what time you eat the majority of you calories does impact how your body processes and breaks down those calories.
Keep in mind that clean foods include meals, snacks, and packaged foods with ingredients found in nature and are free from artificial sweeteners, unhealthy additives and pesticides, and lab-made flavor enhancers.
By eating foods and products that are the closest to what you’d find in nature, you can activate the ultimate fix for your metabolism and your weight. With clean eating, rather than battling your biology, you’ll actually put your biology to work for you.
Clean foods are free of the chemicals that amp up cravings. Instead, clean eating gives your body the nutrients it truly needs, so it runs at peak efficiency. The result: You burn more calories all day long, and you feel less hungry. That’s the perfect formula for losing weight easily.
Now, a key factor is seeing some weight dropping results is by eating the bulk of your caloric intake at lunch. That’s right, lunch. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating the bulk of your daily calories at lunch, as opposed to dinner, can help you lose weight over time.
For the study, researchers recruited 80 overweight and obese women between the ages of 18 and 45 and had them eat their biggest meal of the day (50% of their daily calories) at either dinner or lunch (whichever you prefer to call it, for 12 weeks. So their diet broke down like this: 15% of their calories at breakfast, 15% as a snack, 50% at lunch (or dinner), and 20% for their evening meal.
What does that translate to, exactly? Though each participant's diet was based on her specific calorie needs, a woman on a 1,500-calorie per day diet would be eating 225 calories at breakfast, another 225 as a snack, 750 calories at lunch, and 300 calories at dinner (or vice versa). That's a giant lunch, y'all.
In addition to divvying up their calories in a specific way, the women ate a diet that was high in carbs and low in saturated fat. More specifically, 17% of their calories came from protein, 23% from fat, 60% from carbs, and 400 g (which is a little less than a pound) came from fruits and veggies for fiber.
They were also asked to do 60 minutes of “moderate activity” (like brisk walking) five days a week. Compared to the group who ate 50% of their calories at dinner, the lunch crew had a higher average weight loss—about 13 pounds vs. 9.5 pounds—and a greater reduction in BMI.
So why is a larger lunch better for weight loss than a ginormous dinner? The study suggests that the reason the lunch group dropped more pounds is because their fasting insulin levels were lower compared to those who ate a majority of their calories at night. As a result, the lunch group kept their blood sugar spikes in check—meaning, they didn't feel hungry again shortly after eating.
While the weight loss is impressive, it’s worth pointing out that study participants were overweight or obese, to begin with. If you aren’t, it’s unlikely you would lose as much weight in such a short period of time on this eating plan.
However, the study raises a good point: Making lunch your big meal of the day, and scaling back on dinner can help keep your weight in check, and may even help you drop pounds. So the key is to use this information to your advantage and begin taking in clean calories, as much as you can and ingest them during the earlier part of your day, breakfast, mid-morning protein snack and the majority of your caloric intake during your lunch, preferably between the hours of 11 am to 2 pm. Then take part in a slightly less fatty, less carb portion for your evening repast. And you should begin to see the results of this change within a 2-3 week timeframe. It goes without saying that along with eating correctly, you should also be involved with vigorous exercise daily, enough so that it raises your heart level and maintains a steady, active pace for at least 20-30 minutes per day.