Aim To test a novel approach to weight management based on positive advice to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods.Methods Twenty-nine overweight/mildly obese male and female volunteers were recruited. For a 2-week period they were required to replace one main meal each day with a serving of breakfast cereal. This was followed by 4 weeks eating adlib on a high-carbohydrate regime. Each subject, who acted as his/her own control, kept a 3-day unweighed food diary at baseline, 2 weeks and 6 weeks. Anthropometric measurements were made at each stage.Results Twenty-two subjects completed the study. Mean weight loss at 2 weeks was 2.0 kg, a statistically significant reduction, which was maintained at 6 weeks. Significant changes in mean energy intake (- 2.29 MJ day–1), in percentage energy from carbohydrate (+ 8%) and from fat (– 11%) were observed after 2 weeks, and remained significant at the end of the study.Conclusions The results of this pilot study show that replacing a main meal with breakfast cereal led to moderate weight loss, and a follow-up high-carbohydrate phase enabled weight loss to be sustained. We suggest that this regime has potential for further investigation and that promotion of carbohydrate-rich foods should be part of public health messages for weight control.