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Dessert with breakfast might help you keep weight off: study

Carolyn Morris
Shine On
June 26, 2012

Want to lose weight? Consider starting your day with dessert.

It might sound crazy, but a new study shows that dieters who indulged in a high-carb and high-protein breakfast, including a doughnut, cookie or cake, kept off more pounds than those who woke up to more restricted fare.

In the study, published in the journal Steroids, researchers randomly assigned 193 obese, nondiabetic adults to one of two low-calorie diets. They then followed them for a period of eight months. Although both diets shared the same daily calorie intake — around 1,400 for women and 1,600 for men — one was breakfast-heavy, allowing for 600-calorie meals in the morning, including a dessert. The other dieters ate less for breakfast and fewer carbs overall.

Also see: Seven ways to kick your junk food habit

At first it seemed that both diets worked just as well — halfway through the study the two groups had loss similar amounts of weight, around 33 pounds. But in the last half of the dieting, the group with the big breakfasts continued to lose an average of 15 pound, and those with the skimpy breakfast regained 22 of the pounds they'd lost.

Their reports showed the small breakfast group hadn't been complying with their diets.

"The goal of a weight loss diet should be not only weight reduction, but also reduction of hunger and cravings, thus helping prevent weight regain," says lead researcher and a senior physician at Tel Aviv University's Wolfson Medical Center, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz

She and her colleagues found that levels of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin were lower among the big-breakfast group after that meal.

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Toronto-based dietitian, Anar Allidina was surpised at the size of those breakfasts. She usually recommends eating from 300 to 500 calories in the morning, so the whopping 600-calorie morning meal seemed a little excessive.

But, she contends, it's the overall calorie intake, as well as exercise, that matters the most. So if that's what it takes for people to keep with the restricted-calorie diet, then it is probably a positive thing. And a big breakfast is much better than not eating enough in the morning.

"You haven't eaten all night, your body is in a fasting mode," she explains. "Eating something nutritious can help because it revs up your metabolism for the rest of the day. Otherwise you'll stay in the starvation mode and won't burn as much energy."

Also see: Three holistic ways to lose weight

While she doesn't think the sugary dessert is going to provide you with that much nutrition, she argues that allowing yourself that treat could be key to sticking with the diet.

"You don't feel that you're depriving yourself, because you are given an allotment every day to have that indulgence," she says.

So welcome to the new world of dieting. When a decadent breakfast follows a prescribed long night's sleep, all in the name of weight loss, the whole endeavor suddenly seems possible.

For a simple, healthy breakfast idea that boosts your digestion, watch the video below.

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