(IANS) Researchers from the Purdue University in Indiana, US, found overweight and obese men on low-calorie, high-protein diets felt more satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times daily compared to eating six times a day.
In popular perception it is better to eat little meals more often.
However, lead researcher Heather Leidy, now at the University of Missouri in Columbia, US, said: "These mini-meals everyone is talking about don't seem to be as beneficial as far as appetite control."
Studies on whether eating frequency affects appetite control have had "conflicting" results, according to the journal Obesity.
To investigate further, they randomly assigned 27 men who were overweight or obese to eat either a high-protein diet or a normal-protein diet for 12 weeks, reports the Daily Mail.
Diets contained 750 fewer calories than each man needed to maintain his current weight.
Starting at week seven of the study, the men either ate their assigned diet in three meals spaced five hours apart, or in six meals eaten every two hours, for three days in a row.
The participants then switched to the other eating pattern for an additional three consecutive days.
Men eating the higher protein diet (25 percent of total calories from protein) felt fuller throughout the day, didn't want to eat as much late at night, and were less preoccupied with thoughts of food than the men who were consuming 14 percent of their energy as protein.