Temporal Eating Patterns and Eating Windows among Adults with Overweight or Obesity

Nutrients. 2021 Dec 15;13(12):4485. doi: 10.3390/nu13124485.


We aim to describe temporal eating patterns in a population of adults with overweight or obesity. In this cross-sectional analysis, data were combined from two separate pilot studies during which participants entered the timing of all eating occasions (>0 kcals) for 10-14 days. Data were aggregated to determine total eating occasions, local time of the first and last eating occasions, eating window, eating midpoint, and within-person variability of eating patterns. Eating patterns were compared between sexes, as well as between weekday and weekends. Participants (n = 85) had a median age of 56 ± 19 years, were mostly female (>70%), white (56.5%), and had a BMI of 31.8 ± 8.0 kg/m2. The median eating window was 14 h 04 min [12 h 57 min-15 h 21 min], which was significantly shorter on the weekend compared to weekdays (p < 0.0001). Only 13.1% of participants had an eating window <12 h/d. Additionally, there was greater irregularity with the first eating occasion during the week when compared to the weekend (p = 0.0002). In conclusion, adults with overweight or obesity have prolonged eating windows (>14 h/d). Future trials should examine the contribution of a prolonged eating window on adiposity independent of energy intake.

Keywords: alternate day fasting; breakfast skipping; intermittent fasting; meal patterns; meal timing; time-restricted eating.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Time Factors