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Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered that meal timing strategies — like intermittent fasting or eating earlier in the daytime — appear to help people lose weight.

This approach was also shown to lower appetite rather than burn more calories, according to a report published online today in the journal Obesity, the flagship journal of The Obesity Society.

The study is the first to show how meal timing affects 24-hour energy metabolism when food intake and meal frequency are matched.

“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 Courtney M. Peterson, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences.

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