Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr. 2011 Jan;141(1):148-53. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.114991. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Eating frequency and energy regulation in free-living adults consuming self-selected diets.

Author information

Department of Foods and Nutrition, Department of Psychological Sciences, and the Ingestive Behavior Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The relative importance of eating frequency to weight control is poorly understood. This review examines the evidence to date on the role of eating frequency in weight control in free-living adults. The majority of cross-sectional studies in free-living adults show an inverse relationship between eating frequency and adiposity; however, this is likely an artifact produced by the underreporting of eating frequency concurrent with underreporting of energy intake. When implausible energy intake reporting (which is mostly underreporting) is taken into account, the association between eating frequency and adiposity becomes positive. In studies in which eating frequency is prescribed and food intake is mostly self-selected, there is either no effect or a minor positive effect of eating frequency on energy intake. Most of those studies have been short-term and lack the necessary dietary biomarkers to validate reported energy intakes and eating frequencies. In conclusion, there is some suggestion from cross-sectional studies in which energy intake underreporting is taken into account and from experimental studies to date that greater eating frequency may promote positive energy balance. However, experimental studies of longer-term duration that include objective dietary biomarkers are necessary before firm conclusions about the relative importance of eating frequency in weight control can be made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center