Half of the group ate lunch -- their biggest meal of the day -- before 3 p.m., while half ate later. Those who ate before 3 p.m. lost 30 percent more weight than those who dined later, the International Journal of Obesity reports.
Senior author Frank Scheer, from Brigham said: "This is the first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness. Our results indicate that late eaters displayed a slower weight-loss rate and lost significantly less weight than early eaters."
The team divided the participants into two groups: early eaters and late eaters. Early eaters ate lunch any time before 3 p.m. and late eaters, after 3 p.m.
During the meal, 40 percent of the total daily calories were consumed, the Daily Mail reports.
Researchers found that late eaters lost significantly less weight than early eaters, and displayed a much slower rate of weight loss. The researchers found that timing of other, smaller, meals did not play a role in the success of weight loss.