Eat Cake for Breakfast to Help Cut Cravings
At first, it sounds too good to be true—kind of like the Hollywood Cookie Diet—but science says that giving into your sweet tooth first thing in the morning can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Dieters face fewer cravings throughout the day when they fuel up on high-carb, protein-packed breakfasts that include a dessert, according to new research published in the journal Steroids and presented today at The Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting in Houston.
In an eight-month study, 200 obese, nondiabetic adults were placed on one of two diets. Both eating plans were low in calories—men were limited to 1,600 calories each day and women to 1,400—but the diets differed in terms of what was on the menu for breakfast.
One group ate a low-carb morning meal that contained 304 calories and 10 g of carbohydrates. A second group ate a 600-calorie breakfast that contained 60 g of carbs, including a small dessert such as a piece of chocolate, a doughnut, a cookie, or a slice of cake. Both breakfasts came with a source of protein, like egg whites, cheese, or low-fat milk, but those who enjoyed dessert with their morning meal bulked up on a total of 45 g of protein, 15 more grams than those who started their days the low-carb way.
After four months, dieters in both groups had lost the same amount of weight—an average of 33 pounds. But after another four months, study participants in the low-carb group had regained an average of 22 pounds. By contrast, those on the “dessert with breakfast diet” lost an additional 15 pounds, reported fewer cravings, were better able to stick to calorie goals at lunch and dinner, and had more significant drops (45.2% versus 29.5%) in the hunger hormone ghrelin after eating their first meal of the day.
The study’s lead author, Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, a senior physician at Tel Aviv University's Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, attributes the success of the “dessert with breakfast diet” to the fact that extra protein helps reduce hunger levels, and the combination of carbs and protein helps you feel fuller, longer. Also, when you start your day with a treat, you don’t suffer through hours of yearning for sugary, starchy, and fatty foods—and risk going overboard with a supersize portion of dessert in the evening.
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