The study included 420 overweight and obese volunteers who participated in a 20-week weight-loss program in Spain. Their average age was 42. Half were men, half women. Their midday meal constituted about 40 percent of their diet of roughly 1,400 calories a day, on average. In comparison, the average non-dieting American eats about 2,700 calories a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain and Tufts University in Boston concluded that, on average, the early eaters in the study lost 22 pounds, compared with the late eaters who lost 17 pounds. Both the early eaters and late eaters had similar levels of physical activity and got similar amounts of sleep.
“The study suggests that it’s not just what we eat but when we eat is important,” says study author Frank Scheer, who directs the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Although this study suggest that timing of eating can have a powerful influence on weight regulation and metabolism, what you’re eating should always be the main focus of any diet.