By Elizabeth Barker
To drop pounds without ditching the sweet stuff, try making dessert a post-breakfast indulgence. A new study from the journal Steroids shows that dieters who eat dessert as part of a balanced breakfast are more likely to lose weight than those who go for a lower-calorie, dessert-free morning meal.
For the study, 193 obese adults followed a 32-week diet during which the men took in 1,600 calories daily and the women consumed 1,400 calories daily. Study members were split into two groups: One group stuck to a low-carb diet that included a 300-calorie breakfast, while the second group ate a 600-calorie breakfast that was high in both protein and carbs and also featured a dessert item (such as chocolate or cookies). Although participants in both groups lost an average of 33 pounds per person in the first half of the study, members of the low-carb/dessert-free breakfast group gained back an average of 22 pounds per person during the study’s second half. Meanwhile, those who ate the bigger breakfast kept their weight off and lost another 15 pounds each during the second half of the study.
According to study author Daniela Jakubowicz, eating breakfast is essential for suppressing levels of ghrelin (a hormone known to increase hunger). By choosing a bigger breakfast that includes dessert, dieters can keep ghrelin levels in check and help protect against cravings later in the day. While study members denied a post-breakfast treat reported more intense cravings for sugar and carbs—and ultimately ended up cheating on their diets—those in the big-breakfast group reported few if any cravings, Jakubowicz notes.
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