what is reverse diet

There are so many diets out there, and while it’s fair to say that different diets can work for different people, finding the right one for you can take some searching. However, perhaps the secret to staying slim is a simple case of turning everything backwards and switching round your meals. That’s the claim of the Reverse Diet, devised by Tricia Cunningham, who lost 170 pounds by eating typical dinner foods for breakfast, a moderate lunch and breakfast foods for dinner. Could this diet be something that fits everyone? Here at Phen.com we take a look at the diet and see if it could work for you while you’re on your weight loss journey with Phen Caps.

What is The Reverse Diet?

Weighing- in at close to 300 pounds, Tricia Cunningham decided to do something about it and successfully lost 170 pounds by reversing her meals, eating her biggest meal in the morning and her smallest meal in the evening. Working with nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, Tricia is now promoting her diet with a book and website, and stands as proof of the effectiveness of the diet as she has maintained her loss for over eight years, showing how the diet promotes long-term weight loss. The theory behind the diet considers how most of us eat our largest, most calorie-laden meal for dinner and then go to bed a few hours later, not giving our bodies enough time to burn off calories, fat and sugar. By eating your largest meal of the day first, giving you the energy and nutrients you need to get you through the day, and with a moderate lunch to keep you going, by the time dinner rolls round, a small meal will be more than sufficient to get you through the remainder of the day.

The diet involves three basic phases: the first is weight loss, then 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.

Recommended Foods

The Reverse Diet is based on choosing the best possible alternative when it comes to food selection. For example, when preparing rice, choose high-fiber brown rice over white rice, since brown rice is a complex carbohydrate and is harder for the body to break down, meaning that you will feel fuller for longer. The same goes for bread and pasta; always favor whole grain over white.

Although there are no restrictions on certain foods, there are certain recommended foods. All types of veggies can be eaten at any time, and potatoes are fine but the diet recognizes that leaving the skin on will increase fiber content, therefore helping you to feel fuller for longer. Promoted foods include fruits like berries, peaches, apples, grapes and plums, while low fat proteins such as eggs, low-fat yogurt and milk, poultry, soy products and lean fish are great for keeping you full and providing other essential nutrients. Fiber-rich complex carbohydrates are also essential, such as oatmeal, shredded wheat and wholegrain breads, and condiments such as low-salt margarine and extra virgin olive oil can be used as accompaniments to meals. The only things which need to be avoided are sugar, salt, caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol.

In order to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need, the diet promotes eating typical dinner foods for breakfast, so your daily diet would look something like this:

  • Chicken breast
  • Baked potato (with skin on)
  • Steamed vegetables such as broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Salmon (not smoked)
  • Large salad of mixed dark greens & low-fat dressing
  • Fruit smoothie with low-fat yogurt and berries
  • Wholegrain wheat cereal and a glass of orange juice

what is reverse dieting

The Reverse Diet Review:


  • Encourages a balanced and healthy diet with no unreasonable restrictions
  • Includes stages to promote initial weight loss, healthy eating and long-term maintenance of goal weight
  • Tricia Cunningham’s success is compelling evidence that the diet can work
  • Could offer a natural way to eat less throughout the day, without the dieter feeling like they are forced to make restrictions or to cut back on what they want to eat
  • Could aid digestion and may help promote better sleep, as you have less food to digest late at night


  • Some might find it hard to adjust to eating more food earlier in the day and a smaller meal at night; if their dinner-time meal isn’t adjusted accordingly, they could end up eating more calories overall
  • Eating typical dinner foods first thing in the morning could prove difficult for many people
  • The diet is fairly impractical when considering the time restrictions most of us have at breakfast time
  • Eating breakfast foods at dinner would also be impractical for people with families or those who enjoy eating out
  • The diet gives no guidance for exercise

Taking its cue from the old weight-loss adage to ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’, the Reverse Diet certainly seems like it has potential for weight loss, but when considering the practicalities of the diet, it’s clear that this wouldn’t be for everyone. While a hearty breakfast is one thing, facing a plate of chicken, veg and potatoes at 7am is the last thing many of us would want. Not to mention, finding the time to cook and eat a meal such as this could be very difficult for most people; breakfast is often the meal we have the least time for, hence the popularity of easy-to-prepare healthy breakfasts such as fruit and yogurt, cereal, and toast.

While research shows that eating a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner can really aid weight loss, the program may be too restrictive, particularly in the long-term, and with no guidance for exercise, it’s difficult to see how it could be considered a way to maintain your losses and build a healthy, toned body while you’re losing weight.

At Phen.com, we promote a healthy way of eating with the help of appetite suppression and increased energy from Phen Caps. Certainly, The Reverse Diet includes many good points, such as eating lots of fruit and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, making breakfast really count, and scaling-back your evening meals to compensate. However, these are true of any good healthy diet, and are beneficial to your health without you having to resort to eating your typical meals in a different order.

What’s your opinion on The Reverse Diet? Have you tried it yourself? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!