Does Skipping Dinner Help You Lose Weight?

Eating late dinners is one of the main reasons that make people gain weight. However, skipping dinner isn’t a good idea, early. Learn more about how your dinner habits can affect your weight in this article.
Does Skipping Dinner Help You Lose Weight?
María Vijande

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist María Vijande.

Written by María Vijande

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Many people choose to skip dinner when they’re trying to lose weight. However, the answer to the question regarding if skipping dinner leads to weight loss is a bit complicated. This is because it depends on what you eat, whether you’ve eaten before, and how often you’ve eaten.

However, it’s always advisable to eat every meal of the day, as you shouldn’t stop eating to lose weight. Instead, you should make sure the foods you eat are healthy.

You can have a salad, grilled chicken, or fish fillet for dinner and not gain weight. However, if you decide to skip dinner but ate fatty, low nutritional quality meals during the day, you’ll surely gain more weight than if you eat any of the dishes we mentioned above for dinner.

Although it isn’t necessary to eat a heavy meal, dinner provides you with the last nutrients of the day. Thus, it shortens the period of overnight fasting. In addition, as you probably already know, the more hours you spend fasting, the more hungry you’ll feel the next day.

However, if you don’t skip dinner but eat a nutritious and healthy snack, the difference between skipping dinner or not won’t matter as much. Nevertheless, the foods you eat at dinner aren’t usually those you can eat for an afternoon snack. So if you prefer this option, make sure you snack on healthy foods.

Instead of skipping dinner, it’s best to eat as early as possible

A woman adding olive oil to a salad.

Although skipping dinner seems to be a good choice to lose weight, it’s actually better to eat this meal. The important thing is to choose nutrient-rich low-calorie foods.

Media such as The New York Times have drawn attention to Spanish people’s custom to eat dinner after 10 pm. Although the debate about the time change in Spain is a current issue, this country hasn’t decided to take the final step to synchronize their working hours with the planet’s logical rhythm.

On the other hand, eating late dinners is a key factor that can lead to weight gain. In fact, the results of a study by Spanish researchers that were published in the International Journal of Obesity confirmed the benefits of eating earlier. Also, the University of Louisiana published other results that supported this theory.

You should also read: Three Healthy Dinner Recipes Under 300 Calories

Tips to lose weight without skipping dinner

There’s no specific rule for determining the perfect dinner to lose weight because everything depends on each person’s tastes and willpower. However, a common denominator is that it’s best to opt for lean proteins and vegetables, fish over meat, and boiled vegetables and fruits.

Salads aren’t always a good choice

A healthy salad.

Salads are a good choice for a light and healthy dinner. However, avoid calorie-loaded recipes.

Many salads contain a lot of calorie-rich ingredients. Sometimes, it’s better to eat fish with vegetables than making a salad with an unhealthy sauce or other condiments.

Regarding healthy foods in a salad, it’s advisable to include:

  • Lean protein.
  • Unsaturated fats such as olive oil or nuts (without overdoing it).
  • Seasonal vegetables.

Be careful with “light” products

The consumption of “light”, “diet”, or “low-calorie” products is becoming increasingly popular. However, professionals indicate that these products, or the menus that include them, aren’t designed by nutritionists. Therefore, consuming them daily isn’t a guarantee that they’re the best choice for weight loss.

This article may interest you: What Do Successful Diets Have in Common?


If you’re trying to lose weight, the first thing to do is establish dietary guidelines that will cover your caloric and nutritional needs. Also, it’s recommended that you try to eat earlier, including having dinner earlier.

Thus, skipping dinner isn’t a good idea. You should try to eat five meals a day, distributing the nutrients properly. The famous saying “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” is pretty accurate. In fact, it tells you that it’s a good idea to eat light, healthy dinners.

Finally, don’t forget to do physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and drink plenty of water. This is key to losing weight.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Garaulet M., Gómez Abellán P., Albuquerque Bejar JJ., Ordovás JM., et al., Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity. 37: 604-611.
  • Kim JE., O’Connor LE., Sands LP., Slebodnik MB., Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta analysis. Nutr Rev, 2016. 74 (3): 210-24.
  • Marantz PR., Repensar las pautas dietéticas. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2010.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.