London - Slimmers who set themselves a calorie limit for each meal rather than per day are more likely to eat less, researchers have found.
A study at Warwick Business School asked dieters to set a "budget" for their calorie intake.
The results, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, showed that dieters who set a budget per meal and per snack had an average daily allowance of 1 528 calories. The second group, who thought about what they ate overall, budgeted for 2 011 calories per day on average.
Both groups ate less than their allowance. Those budgeting for each meal separately actually consumed an average of 1 417 calories, 219 fewer than those with a single daily limit.
Study leader Dr Miaolei Jia said: "Those who budgeted on a meal-by-meal approach cut the calories in all the meals they ate."