Eating Dessert With Breakfast Helps Dieters

Connie K. Ho for

Chocolate cake. Crème filled donuts. These are some of the options people can look forward to having for breakfast after a new study highlighted the role dessert has in breakfast for dieters. Researchers at Tel Aviv University recently found that a diet focused on dessert with breakfast can actually help people avoid weight gain by decreasing the cravings they have.

The findings were presented at the Endocrine Society´s 94 Annual Meeting recently in Houston and published in the March issue of the journal Steroids. The researchers believe that a carbohydrate-rich, protein-packed breakfast with dessert will help dieters be less hungry and not have as many cravings throughout the day. This, in turn, will help dieters keep off lost weight.

“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,” remarked Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, the study’s principal investigator, in a prepared statement.

Jakubowicz, a senior physician at the Wolfson Medical Center of Tel Aviv University, and co-authors looked at 200 nondiabetic obese adults. These individuals participated in one of two low-calories diets. Both diets had the same number of daily calories, around 1,600 calories for men and 1,400 for women. However, the diets were composed of different items. While one group had a low-carbohydrate diet that had a 304-calorie breakfast with only 10 grams of carbohydrates, the other group had a 600-calorie breakfast with 60 grams of carbs of a small sweet like chocolate, cake, cookie or doughnut. Both diets had protein options like egg whites, cheese, low-fat milk, and tuna at breakfast. However, the “dessert with breakfast diet” featured 45 grams of protein, 15 more grams than the low-crab diet.

The study was done over an eight-month period and, midway through the experiment, participants reported an average of 33 pounds lost per person. Jakubowicz believes that these results show that “both diets work the same.” In the last months of the study though, the low-carbohydrate group regained around 22 pounds per person. On the other hand, study subjects of the dessert with breakfast diet group lost another 15 pounds each.

Furthermore, those participants who ate dessert with breakfast stated that they felt less hungry and had fewer cravings when compared to the other group. The food diaries´ from these subjects showed that they had less difficulty in sticking with their calorie requirements. Women who were part of the dessert with breakfast diet group were able to have 500 calories for lunch and 300 calories for dinner. Men in the same group could consume a 600-calorie lunch and as much as 464 calories for dinner. Further evidence shows that a “hunger hormone” called ghrelin had lower levels after breakfast in the dessert with breakfast diet group than the low-carbohydrate diet group (45.2 percent versus 29.5 percent).

Researchers propose that the better results from the dessert with breakfast diet group were based on meal timing and composition. In particular, Jakubowic credits the diet´s high protein content to reducing hunger. She also believes that the mix of protein and carbohydrates made people feel fuller and decreased their wants for sweet, starchy, and fatty foods. These cravings normally arise or come about when a diet limits the amount of sweets a person can have, which can cause people to eat more fattening foods.

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