Start the day with dessert for weight loss

By Shayna Brouker • Published: September 24th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Go ahead, have that leftover birthday cake for breakfast — it might just help you slim down. You heard right. According to a new study published in the journal Steroids, you can have your cake and lose weight too, but only by following a strict diet the rest of the day.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel fed 200 nondiabetic obese adults one of two breakfasts: either a high-calorie breakfast that included a cookie, doughnut, cake or chocolate, or a low-carb breakfast with no treats. Both meals were packed with protein and the rest of that day’s diet was relatively sinless. At the end of the 16-week study, miraculously, both groups lost an average of about 33 pounds. But those who had treated themselves at the beginning of the day actually went on to lose more weight, while the low-carb breakfasters in fact gained weight.

Is it too good to be true? The dessert dieters reported they experienced fewer cravings throughout the rest of the day. Protein helped them feel full, and it seems that by indulging their sweet tooth in the A-M, they were better equipped to fight the urge later. They also showed greater decreases in ghrelin (grell-in), the hunger hormone that signals when we’re satisfied. The dessert dieters had a 45 percent drop in ghrelin after breakfast versus just a 30 percent drop for the other dieters.

And since metabolism is the most active in the morning, it’s an ideal time to indulge in a high-calorie sweet treat. What’s more, a diet that includes daily indulgences is a more sustainable way to eat.

Dieticians regard breakfast as the most important meal of the day, especially for dieters, because it kickstarts your metabolism and fuels the rest of your day. Skipping breakfast is, in fact, linked to obesity. So if you’re trying to lose a few, don’t skip dessert — just make it a small part of a healthy morning meal.