The Reverse Diet

The Reverse Diet was created by Tricia Cunningham, who successfully lost 172 pounds in less than a year simply by switching dinner and breakfast. The Reverse Diet is based on Cunningham’s successes combined with the knowledge from nutritionist, Heidi Skolnik.

The Premise

According to the Reverse Diet, having your largest meal of the day in the morning, and then smaller meals and snacks throughout the rest of the day should lead to weight loss. According to Cunningham, eating the bulk of your calories in the morning enables your body to burn off these calories during the day for energy. Additionally, according to the Reverse Diet, when individuals eat the majority of their calories in the evening, these calories are instead stored as fat because the body is inactive.

The Diet

Dieters are advised to eat smaller meals as the day transpires. Begin with a large breakfast, which should never be skipped, followed by a medium-size lunch and then have a small dinner. Except for breakfast, dieters are only advised to eat when they are truly hungry. The diet has three phases. The first phase focuses on weight loss, followed by stabilizing weight loss and reintroduction of banned foods and finally a maintenance phase.

Recommended foods on the Reverse Diet include all vegetables, berries, apples, grapes, plums, peaches, pineapples, tofu, eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, low fat dairy, oatmeal, extra virgin olive oil and low-salt margarine.

Things to Consider

Eating a larger breakfast, especially one packed with protein, should help reduce overeating and food cravings later in the day. Additionally, according to the Reverse Diet, by switching your large meal of the day to breakfast, you will increase your daily metabolic rate, which should lead to weight loss.

The Reverse Diet is only based on Cunningham’s personal successes and does not have any scientific support that proves this diet plan can lead to weight loss. Many individual also do not have the appetite or desire to eat the largest meal of the day immediately after waking. Additionally, many individuals fail to have enough time in the morning to create and consume a large meal.

Eating your largest meal of the day in the morning may also be very disruptive to your entire family’s eating schedule and will make eating out for dinner very difficult.


The Reverse Diet is a unique approach to dieting, yet it fails to be supported by the scientific community. If following the Reverse Diet, individuals may want to pay attention to their calorie intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most successful diet is a low-calorie diet that is between 1,500 to 1,200 calories a day. If individuals find success on the eating schedule of the Reverse Diet while still staying within their daily calorie goals, then they should be able to achieve weight loss while following this diet.


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