“Whether you eat them at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., a calorie is still a calorie,” says Janet Brill, PhD, RD, LDN, nutritionist and author. “The magic formula for weight loss is just to eat fewer calories and burn more.”

You also have to consider what you eat and how much physical activity you get, Brill says. Why? Because these factors, combined with the total number of calories consumed, determine whether you gain, lose or maintain your weight.

For both health and weight control, Brill recommends eating small, low-calorie meals every three to four hours plus two snacks throughout the day.