By Jennifer Lilonsky ( | First Posted: Jan 29, 2013 03:51 PM EST

(Photo : Reuters )

In need of some weight loss advice before beach season arrives?

A new study reveals that the time of day you choose to eat could mean everything when it comes to shedding pounds.

Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Tufts University and the University of Murcia in Spain, discovered that the time of day you eat might determine how much weight you lose.

The study published in the International Journal of Obesity explained how scientists observed and monitored 420 overweight participants on a 20-week weight loss program in Spain.

The subjects of the study were separated into two groups based on whether they eat early or late in the day. Since lunch in Spain is the biggest meal of the day, 40 percent of daily caloric intake is consumed in the middle of the day--half of the participants ate lunch before 3 p.m. The rest of the subjects ate lunch after 3 p.m.

The findings revealed that late-eaters lost less weight and at a slower rate than early-eaters.

"The timing of the main meal by itself seems to be the most determinant factor in weight loss effectiveness, and therefore eating at the right time may be a relevant factor to consider in weight loss therapies," the study's authors wrote.

The study also recognized that other factors could have contributed to the decreased rate and amount of weight loss that the late-eaters experienced, including genetics and their average amount of sleep.

But the study's findings demonstrated that the time of day one eats is an important factor in weight loss.

The participants who ate lunch later were more apt to skip breakfast or eat fewer calories. The timing of breakfast and dinner did not appear to affect weight loss for either group in the study.


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