The Reverse Diet is the brainchild of Tricia Cunningham and nutritionist Heidi Skolnik. In simple terms, it is based on the idea that consuming the most calories during breakfast will significantly change the way the body burns those calories. It promotes eating a hearty breakfast followed by physical activity throughout the day. During these active moments, the calories from breakfast are burned naturally. It then promotes a smaller portioned evening meal that is low in calories, specifically because most people wind down, relax and go to sleep after dinner.
The diet involves three basic phases: weight loss, stabilizing the loss through the introduction of a new diet plan, and finally maintaining your ideal weight and meal plan. Breakfast is usually fiber-rich and very filling, while dinner does not have to include a number of courses because it is followed by a long period of inactivity.
The Reverse Diet involves choosing the best possible alternative when it comes to food selection. For example, when preparing rice, choose high-fiber brown rice over white rice. This is because brown rice is a complex carbohydrate and is harder for the body to break down. This causes the body to feel fuller for a longer period of time. The same goes for bread: choose wholegrain, whole-wheat bread over white bread.
There are no restrictions on certain foods; however, there are certain recommended foods. All types of vegetables can be eaten at any time. Potatoes can be eaten, though leaving the skin on will increase its fiber content. Low-glycemic fruits are favored. These include berries, peaches, pineapple, apples, grapes and plums. Certain proteins, which are low in fat, are preferred, including eggs, low-fat milk and yogurt, poultry, soy products and lean fish. Fiber-rich complex carbohydrates are essential, like oatmeal, shredded wheat and wholegrain breads. Oils such as low-salt margarine and extra virgin olive oil can be used as accompaniments to meals. The only things that really need to be avoided are sugar, salt, caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol.
A Sample Meal Plan
Meals during the Reverse Diet should be based on the recommended food choices. These options offer a multitude of ideas for meals. This is one of the best points about the diet.
A sample meal plan might look like this:
- Breakfast: Chicken breast, baked potato (with skin on), steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots
- Lunch: Salmon (not smoked) with a large salad of mixed dark greens and some low-fat dressing
- Afternoon snack: Fruit smoothie of low-fat yogurt and berries
- Dinner: Wholegrain wheat cereal and a glass of orange juice
Points to Consider
Like all other diets, the Reverse Diet has many good and bad points. Some dieters may find it to be impractical to have breakfast-like meals in the evening, particularly for those with families. It may also prove awkward for those who have an active social life and enjoy eating out with associates and friends. While the program does have some benefits, such as the practice of eating a healthy, hearty breakfast each morning, some of the other components may be too restrictive.