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The Surprising Connection Between Meal Size, Frequency, and Intermittent Fasting

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Intermittent Fasting

Introduction: With the growing concern of obesity and overweight issues among 70% of US adults, finding an effective weight loss strategy is crucial. Intermittent fasting, particularly time-restricted eating, has been a popular method for weight loss. In this article, we will explore the latest research on time-restricted eating, its impact on weight loss, and how to optimize this strategy for maximum results.

What is Time-Restricted Eating?

Time-restricted eating is a method of intermittent fasting where individuals limit their food intake to specific hours of the day. In this approach, the individual restricts their eating period to 8-12 hours and fasts for the remaining hours.

Clinical Studies on Time-Restricted Eating:

Several clinical studies have investigated the impact of time-restricted eating on weight loss. A single-blind, randomized study with 12 healthy subjects found that time-restricted eating resulted in significant reductions in body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profile after 12 months.

Another study, the TREAT trial, was a 12-week randomized control trial with 116 participants. Participants were assigned to either eat between 12 pm and 8 pm daily or to eat three structured meals per day. The study found no statistically significant difference in weight loss between the two groups.

The Most Recent Study on Meal Size and Frequency: In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers analyzed the link between eating intervals and weight change in 547 participants over six years. The data was collected through electronic health records and a mobile app. The researchers found that frequent, medium (500-1000 calories) and large (>1000 calories) meals were linked with weight gain. On the other hand, small meals (<500 calories) were associated with weight loss. Additionally, eating soon after waking up and having a longer time interval between dinner and bedtime was an effective strategy for reducing weight gain.

The Key to Successful Intermittent Fasting:

The data suggests that to make intermittent fasting, specifically time-restricted eating, a successful weight loss strategy, individuals need to focus on both the quality and quantity of food they eat during their eating windows. It is essential to combine intermittent fasting with proper sleep, exercise, stress reduction, and a healthy plant-based diet to achieve maximum results.


In conclusion, time-restricted eating is an effective method for weight loss, but to achieve maximum results, individuals must focus on both the quality and quantity of food they eat during their eating windows. Intermittent fasting must be combined with other healthy lifestyle habits, such as proper sleep, exercise, stress reduction, and a healthy diet, to achieve long-lasting results.


Zhao, D., et al. "Association of Eating and Sleeping Intervals With Weight Change Over Time: The Daily24 Cohort." Journal of the American Heart Association 2023(0): e026484.

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