Association between eating frequency, weight, and health

Nutr Rev. 2009 Jul;67(7):379-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00204.x.


There is speculation amongst health professionals, the media, and the public regarding eating frequency (EF) and its impact on weight and health. Nutritional weight-loss and -maintenance interventions of longer than 1 week's duration were reviewed for associations between EF and weight and health. Of the 176 studies identified, 25 relevant studies matched the criteria and only 10 of these were weight-loss interventions. Generally, sample sizes were small, interventions were short-term, and a wide array of definitions was used to define an eating occasion. Several key outcomes such as physical activity, adherence to assigned EF, and hunger were often not measured. The limited evidence available suggests there is no association between EF and weight or health in either weight-loss or -maintenance interventions, with a possible inverse association between EF and lipids in weight-maintenance interventions. Longer term, larger studies that include important weight and health outcomes are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Weight Loss / physiology
  • Young Adult