When it comes to weight loss, timing may be everything. A new study finds that eating your heaviest meal, whether it’s lunch or dinner, later in the day can stymie your weight loss efforts.

Researchers from the University of Murcia, Spain enlisted 420 overweight women enrolled in a weight-loss program.

In the program, women who ate lunch late, after 3 p.m., lost 25 percent less weight over a 20-week period than women who ate lunch earlier. This difference held true even when the two groups ate the same number of calories every day and did the same amount of physical activity. Plus the two groups did not differ in their levels of appetite hormones or sleep duration.

The researchers noted that in this Mediterranean population, lunch is the main meal of the day, comprising 40 percent of a person’s daily calories.

The findings were published online Tuesday in the International Journal of Obesity.

Some studies have also suggested that eating breakfast helps people feel satiated longer, reducing calorie intake for the rest of the day, reports LiveScience. – AFP RELAXNEWS