New study reveals when you should have last meal of the day to shed pounds

eat final meal 2pm lose weight
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to losing weight sometimes it feels like we’ve tried everything.

The Mediterranean diet, the Keto diet, the 5:2 – to name just a few of the many under the sun that we have attempted over the decades.

But now a study has revealed that rather than being so much about what we eat, losing weight may actually come down to when we eat.

According to the study, if you want to shed the pounds you should try and have your last meal of the day by 2pm.

Yes – that’s PM i.e. lunchtime!

More: How to lose weight in a week | How to lose 7 lbs in 7 days

Researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham looked into Early Time-Restricted Feeding (eTRF), which is an approach that means that your dinner time moves to the afternoon instead of the evening.

Scientists looked at 11 men and women aged between 20 and 45 with a BMI between 25 and 35 who were aiming to lose weight.

They divided participants into two groups and got them to try two different meal timing strategies.

One group were asked to eat three meals spread over a 12-hour period, while the other group were asked to try out eTRF and eat three meals over a six-hour period.

eat final meal 2pm lose weight

The eTRF group started to eat breakfast at 8am, meaning that their last meal of the day would be at 2pm.

According to the journal, which was published in the journal Obesity, those who were in the eTRF group were shown to have a suppressed appetite, showing how the timing of the meal could affect the body’s 24-hour energy metabolism.

More: How to lose belly fat: a one month diet plan that will whittle your waistline

‘We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less,’ said the study’s co-author and assistant professor at the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Courtney M Peterson, PhD.

Peterson added: ‘Whether these strategies help people lose body fat needs to be tested and confirmed in a much longer study.’

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

LinkedIn: aleesha-badkar

Email: aleesha.badkar@futurenet.com