Going in for a late lunch might actually make it harder for you to shed the pounds, according to researchers.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston and the University of Murcia studied 420 overweight people who followed a 20-week weight-loss treatment programme in Spain.
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.