Researchers carried out a study on mice that were split into four groups to consider how feed scheduling impacted on weight gain.
They believed that although irregular consumption of high-fat food tends to result in being overweight, careful timing could alter the body's clock and how it stores fat.
Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem put mice into the following groups - those that ate an irregular high-fat diet, an irregular low-fat diet, a carefully timed high-fat diet and a scheduled low-fat diet.
The findings were surprising, despite the fact that those on an unscheduled high-fat diet ended up with more body weight than the other groups when the 18-week study came to a close.
Although all the mice gained weight during the trial, those on the scheduled high-fat diet had the lowest body weight, even when compared to their low-fat eating counterparts.
Both groups consumed the same number of calories each day, leading scientists to the conclusion that timing high-fat meals results in more efficient energy use than scheduled low-fat dishes.
Mice in the scheduled high-fat diet group also displayed "a unique metabolic state" where the fats they downed were not stored in the body, but rather used to fuel them between meals.
Professor Oren Froy said: "Our research shows that the timing of food consumption takes precedence over the amount of fat in the diet, leading to improved metabolism and helping to prevent obesity."
He added that careful scheduling of meals, without limiting the content of the daily menu, could be used as a therapeutic method for preventing obesity in people.
While foods rich in saturated fat are believed to raise the risk of heart disease, the NHS recommends unsaturated fatty foods like nuts and avocados for reducing blood cholesterol.