By Emily Murray
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, it seems appropriate that today’s post has something to do with sweets. However, it’s not the typical how-not-to-pig-out-on-a-holiday kind of post, in fact, some may say it is quite the opposite.
To the chagrin of parents everywhere, the whole idea of finishing an entire meal in order to have dessert in the evening may not be the best advice. According to a new study published in the journal Steroids and developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel, the secret to keeping weight gain at bay may actually be having your sweets in the morning.
While this idea seems very counter-intuitive, it was tested in a group of obese patients. One group of participants ate a high protein and high carbohydrate breakfast, which included dessert. The other study group ate a breakfast that was low in carbohydrates and calories and did not include sweets.
Based on this alone, it seems most of us could readily draw a conclusion of where this research led – however, if we thought the seemingly healthier meal would lead to less weight gain over time then we would be incorrect.
Each group remained on this schedule for 16 weeks and each had lost nearly the same amount. The kicker was that after the 16 weeks, the participants were urged to stay on their scheduled meal plan but were told to eat more if they wanted to. This is where the differences in weight began to show. Those who ate the small breakfast gained an average of 24 pounds while those who ate the larger breakfast actually lost an average of 15 pounds.
Essentially when the group began by eating foods which were higher in carbs and protein (even when some were desserts), long term weight gain was less likely. The theory behind this is that these types of food fill us up and may prevent us from turning to snacks throughout the day, therefore we may eat less overall. This makes sense when you look at the common dieting disaster of denying yourself any sort of temptation and then later going overboard when you finally cave to the craving. Many researchers seem to believe that allowing yourself to have little bits of “bad foods” (like sugary foods) can actually help curb sweet cravings in the long term.
As you can imagine, not everyone agrees with the logic behind these findings. As mentioned in a Fox News article on the subject, many dietitians and nutritionists are not immediately latching on to this dessert-for-breakfast idea. Some believe that eating sweets in the morning may actually increase cravings and that it is better to go with a more balanced meal to begin your day.
Whether you too find flaw with the type of logic in this study, perhaps you can take away from it the idea that ruling something you love completely out of your diet isn’t necessary to avoid weight gain. Perhaps indulging in small amounts can help satisfy your cravings.