Intermittent fasting has risen in popularity in recent years.
But according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the number of calories consumed may be more important than the timing of eating when it comes to losing weight.
Following a study of nearly 550 adults, the team, led by Dr Wendy L. Bennett, reported that meal timing was not associated with weight change during the six-year follow-up period.
"This includes the interval from first to last meal, from waking up to eating a first meal, from eating the last meal to going to sleep and total sleep duration," the authors noted. "Total daily number of large meals (estimated at more than 1,000 calories) and medium meals (estimated at 500-1,000 calories) were each associated with increased weight over the six-year follow up, while fewer small meals (estimated at less than 500 calories) was associated with decreasing weight."
In addition, the researchers didn't "detect" an association between meal timing and weight change in a population with a wide range of body weights.
Looking to the future, the researchers hope to apply the findings to a more diverse population.
Full study results have been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.