The Impact of Meal Timing on Risk of Weight Gain and Development of Obesity: a Review of the Current Evidence and Opportunities for Dietary Intervention

Rochelle Davis, Michelle Rogers, Alison M. Coates, Gloria K.W. Leung, Maxine P. Bonham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of Review: The aim of this short review is to provide an updated commentary on the current literature examining the impact of meal timing on obesity and weight gain in adults. The potential mechanisms, including novel and emerging factors, behind timing of food intake across the 24-h period in the development of obesity, and dietary strategies manipulating meal timing to ameliorate weight gain are also explored. Recent Findings: Dietary patterns that feature meal timing outside of the regular daytime hours can contribute to circadian disruption as food is metabolised in opposition to internal daily rhythms and can feedback on the timekeeping mechanisms setting these rhythms. Epidemiological evidence examining the impact of late meal timing patterns is beginning to suggest that eating at night increases the risk of weight gain over time. Mechanisms contributing to this include changes to the efficiency of metabolism across the day, and dysregulation of appetite hormone and gut microbiota by mis-timed meals. Summary: When meals are eaten, in relation to the time of day, is increasingly considered of importance when implementing dietary change in order to address the growing burden of obesity, although further research is required in order to determine optimal patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Energy expenditure
  • Meal timing
  • Obesity
  • Time-restricted eating

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