Eating Frequency Higher In Weight Loss Maintainers, Normal Weight Individuals

Jessica L. Bachman, PhD, RD

Eating frequency has been negatively related to body mass index (BMI). The relationship between eating frequency and weight loss maintenance is unknown. This secondary analysis examined eating frequency (self-reported meals and snacks consumed per day) in weight loss maintainers (WLM) who had reduced from overweight/obese to normal weight, normal weight (NW) individuals, and overweight (OW) individuals. Data collected July 2006 to March 2007 in Providence, RI, included three 24-hour dietary recalls (2 weekdays, 1 weekend day) analyzed using Nutrient Data System for Research software from 257 adults (WLM n=96, 83.3% women aged 50.0±11.8 years with BMI 22.1±1.7; NW n=80, 95.0% women aged 46.1±11.5 years with BMI 21.1±1.4; OW n=81, 53.1% women aged 51.4±9.0 years with BMI 34.2±4.1) with plausible intakes. Participant-defined meals and snacks were ≥50 kcal and separated by more than 1 hour. Self-reported physical activity was highest in WLM followed by NW, and then OW (3,097±2,572 kcal/week, 2,062±1,286 kcal/week, and 785±901 kcal/week, respectively; P<0.001). Number of daily snacks consumed was highest in NW, followed by WLM, and then OW (2.3±1.1 snacks/day, 1.9±1.1 snacks/day, and 1.5±1.3 snacks/day, respectively; P<0.001). No significant group differences were observed in mean number of meals consumed (2.7±0.4 meals/day). Eating frequency, particularly in regard to a pattern of three meals and two snacks per day, may be important in weight loss maintenance.

◦Address correspondence to: Jessica L. Bachman, PhD, RD, Marywood University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2300 Adams Ave, Scranton, PA 18509-1598,
•Suzanne Phelan, PhD,
•Rena R. Wing, PhD,
•Hollie A. Raynor, PhD, R

Joanne P. Ikeda, MA, RD Nutritionist Emeritus Department of Nutritional Sciences University of California, Berkeley Current 1777 View Drive San Leandro, CA94577 PH 510-895-5300 Email:

Journal of the American Dietetic Association                                              
Volume 111, Issue 11,  Pages 1730-1734, November 2011