March 23, 2022. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t admit this if I hadn’t read the results of the study conducted at Tel Aviv University.
The one that concludes that dessert after a balanced breakfast “can help dieters to lose more weight — and keep it off in the long run.“.
Yes, for many years I’ve been popping a small piece of very dark chocolate after breakfast. Because it makes me feel good. Now I’m thinking about making a good thing even Better. Maybe two pieces. Food for thought, anyway.
Let’s look at the breakfast-with-dessert thing first. Then we’ll get to chocolate.
Curbing craving is better than deprivation
The researchers put two groups of obese subjects on a calorie-restricted diet. Same number of calories per day. But one group got 300 of their calories in the form of dessert after breakfast. Chocolates, cookies, cake. What happened?
After 16 weeks of an enforced low-calorie diet, each group averaged a 33-pound weight loss. During the next 16 weeks, the dessert-after-breakfast group stuck to the diet and lost an additional 15 pounds. But the no-dessert group gained back 22 pounds. Here’s what the researchers conclude:
The participants in the low carbohydrate [no dessert] diet group had less satisfaction, and felt that they were not full. Their cravings for sugars and carbohydrates were more intense and eventually caused them to cheat on the diet plan. But the group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day … Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for weight loss success.
The technical explanation: grehlin, the appetite-stimulating hormone, was suppressed in the dessert-eating subjects. Right after breakfast. And throughout the day. So the dessert eaters didn’t become diet cheaters because they avoided the cravings experienced by the dessert-deprived.
The Dark Chocolate Diet
If added satisfaction at breakfast is a good weight management strategy, what’s the best morning dessert? Well, consider this study by the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Life Sciences. It showed that dark chocolate is more filling and satisfying than milk chocolate.
“The results were significant. The calorie intake at the subsequent meal where they could eat as much pizza as they liked was 15 per cent lower when they had eaten dark chocolate beforehand.
The participants also stated that the plain [dark] chocolate made them feel less like eating sweet, salty or fatty foods [than the milk chocolate did].“
Putting two and two together, you might want your morning dessert to include some dark chocolate. I’m thinking about making a batch of that chocolate mousse and having a spoonful or two after my Olive Oil-Maple Syrup Granola and fruit. The new breakfast of happy, satisfied champions.
Note: The satisfying breakfast in the study was high in both carbohydrates (the dessert) and protein. Which would lead you to begin your breakfast with something like this Spring Frittata. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Oh, and the extreme weight-loss diet: 1,600 calories/day for men. 1,400 for women.
Food for Thought. Honest
The study at Tel Aviv University found that dessert with a balanced breakfast “can help dieters to lose more weight — and keep it off in the long run.“
“They key is to indulge in the morning, when the body’s metabolism is at its most active and we are better able to work off the extra calories throughout the day … Attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term … Adding dessert items to breakfast can control cravings throughout the rest of the day.”
If you’d like to read the complete technical publication in the journal, Steroids, it’s here. Its conclusion is its title: “Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite scores and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults”.
The meal timing: breakfast. The composition: chocolate desserts. FYI, grehlin is the hormone that stimulates appetite and is associated with “craving”.