Dinner when losing weight: Should it really be the smallest meal of the day?


About the meals that we must carry out daily there are many myths that have marked (and continue to mark) our diet, however, dinner seems to be the most considered at breakfast when we try to lose weight. Should we really have little dinner to lose weight?

Dinner and weight loss

Although many times we have heard that to lose weight is better not to dine or that it is essential to have breakfast when losing weight, the reality is that there is no evidence to confirm what was said before and even, there are no studies that can prove that the five meals a day or greater number of intakes throughout the day help you lose kilos.

Already a review of the American Heart Association concluded that: “… the impact of the meal schedule, particularly dinner, needs further study .. At the epidemiological level the conclusions suggest a potentially harmful effect of eating too late on cardiometabolic health, but intervention trials are few and with very different results, so that no definitive conclusions can be drawn nor recommendations made.”

All this leads us to think, that as with breakfast , dinner is a meal that has been given more weight than necessary at the time of weight loss and its implementation does not hinder weight loss or its absence causes risks to the health.

Have a little dinner, does it help you lose weight?

If we think that dinner does not impede weight loss, maybe if we should pay attention to its quality and quantity, however, does not dinner help to lose weight?

A recent meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition concludes that recommendations for reducing nighttime intake for weight loss can not be justified with clinical evidence , since of all the studies analyzed four showed positive relationship, five found no association and one inverse between energy intake at night or at dinner and body weight.

This tells us that having a little dinner is not a requirement for losing weight , although of course, if we maintain the same diet and reduce the calories we eat at night, we probably lose kilos by encouraging a negative energy balance. But this same condition could be achieved by removing calories from breakfast for example.

Even more dinner can be very helpful to achieve positive changes in our body composition , since it is during the night when more anabolic hormones are released that favor hypertrophy. And a higher percentage of muscle mass can help us lose weight by encouraging daily caloric expenditure. Therefore, dinner is not a necessary condition to lose weight, much less if we usually train just before dinner , as we will need enough calories and nutrients to recover after the effort.

And the quality of the dinner?

Here if we must pay attention, because the intake of foods of lower nutritional quality can encourage weight gain to be less satiating and higher glycemic index as has been proven with the ultraprocessed .

In addition, these foods of poor nutritional quality, rich in added sugars, trans fats, sodium and others can be very dense energetically and promote an addictive behavior that encourages us to eat more and more.

However, not only at dinner should we pay attention to the quality of what we eat but in all meals of the day it is essential to choose real food, fresh food for the preparation of dishes and where possible, cooking at home.

Healthy dishes for dinner

For dinner then, it is not necessary to restrict the calories to the maximum if we seek to lose weight but it is important to respect the signals of our body, eat if we are hungry and choose foods or satiety preparations as well as avoid those of poor nutritional quality.

Written by suNCh8

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