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Starting your morning with a slice of cake may seem like the worst idea if you are trying to lose weight, but it could benefit you. A study performed in Israel this year found that eating a large breakfast that includes protein, carbohydrates and a sweet helped obese participants to stick to their diet longer and lose more weight.
193 obese adults participated in the study. Half of the group were asked to eat a small breakfast of only 300 calories while the other group were told to eat a large breakfast of 600 calorie that included something sweet such as a donut, cookie or piece of cake. The group that ate a larger breakfast also had to eat a smaller dinner of only 300 to 400 calories. All of the participants were given the same amount of daily calories to stay within. The men were given a 1,600 calorie diet and the women were given a 1,400 calorie diet.
Through the 16 weeks of the study, during which time the participants strictly adhered to their diet, both groups lost a comparable amount of weight. During the follow up period, they noticed a large difference between the groups. The participants were encouraged to stick with their diet but were told they could eat more if they experienced hunger cravings. The researchers were surprised to find that the group eating the small breakfast ended up gaining an average of 24 pounds, while the group still eating a large breakfast with a dessert item lost an average of 15 pounds. The study found that there may be health benefits of eating cake for breakfast.
Tests during the study also revealed that the participants eating a big breakfast had lower levels of a hormone that affects hunger, called ghrelin, meaning they physiologically craved less food than those eating a smaller, less filing breakfast.
The researchers concluded that the composition and timing of meals has a large affect on hunger and weight loss. Eating a filling breakfast, that includes protein, carbohydrates and a sweet, can help to decrease food cravings later on in the day and keep you on track with your diet.
The findings of this study are somewhat controversial. Many dieticians and nutritionists would stress that it is important to have a diet that is low in sugar and processed flour. What the study illustrates is that, in moderation and eaten at the right time, you can still eat sweets and lose weight. It is important to remember that the participants’ successful weight loss was largely tied to the fact that they stayed within their daily recommended calorie range. The participants, who ate a large breakfast, also ate a smaller dinner.
If you have a serious sweet tooth, starting your day with a slice of cake may be a great way to keep you on track with your weight loss. Just remember to keep track of those calories.