A new study from the Tel Aviv University found that eating dessert with breakfast may keep you from craving sweets later in the day. Many studies have shown the importance of eating breakfast for good metabolic function, in addition to showing that a bigger morning meal aids in weight loss. How can starting your day with chocolate or cake possibly help you reach your weight loss goals?
Researchers Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz, Dr. Julio Wainstein and Dr. Mona Boaz argue that cutting sweets entirely out of one’s diet makes it much harder for people to stick to their diet plans. However, the timing of your indigence is also important. The morning is the best time to eat a high-calorie meal, because it helps the body regulate the hunger hormone ghrelin. Gherlin levels always rise before meals, but they will rise less after eating a balanced breakfast.
The researchers, however, aren’t saying that you should abandon calorie counting. The 32-week study placed obese participants on calorie-controlled diets, with 1600 calories for men and 1400 calories for women. The subjects were then divided into two groups. One group of participants was placed on a low-carb diet that ate a 300 calorie breakfast. The other group was given a 600 calorie breakfast that was high in protein and carbohydrates, and also included a dessert item such as chocolate, cake or cookies.
During the first half of the study, participants in both groups lost an average of 33 pounds. However, their results differed drastically by the end of the study. Participants in the low-carb group regained 22 pounds on average, but those in the larger breakfast group lost another 15 pounds. Overall, the participants who ate a sweet with breakfast lost an average of 40 pounds more than the other group.
The researchers argue that the participants who ate a treat in the morning were less likely to stray from their eating plan, and also experienced fewer cravings. They conclude that allowing for dessert at a time of day when the body is best able to use the calories, rather than storing them, is a realistic approach to weight loss in the long-run.
The study is intriguing, but I wonder if there are too many variables at play. Why was one group placed on a low-carb diet and the other not? It seems that both groups should have eaten the same diet, with the only difference at breakfast. Maybe the low-carb diet was the cause of that groups downfall, not the smaller breakfast. However, the research does reinforce the importance of eating a balanced breakfast that contains both carbohydrates and proteins.
February 9th, 2012