Best diet ever? Eating high-calorie, high-carb breakfasts can shed pounds

Enjoy a cookie, piece of cake after your first meal

Topics: Behavioral Health, Service Lines

July 2, 2012


A recent study found that obese individuals lost more weight over eight months when they ate bigger and sweeter breakfasts than those who consumed the same number of calories in a day but had a low-calorie, low-carb breakfast.

Daniela Jakubowicz of Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, and her colleagues followed 193 obese, non-diabetic adults and set them on a strict diet consisting of 1,400 calories per day for women, and 1,600 for men. The caloric composition per meal included:

  • For men, a 600 calorie lunch and either a 600 calorie breakfast and a 400 calorie dinner, or a 400 calorie breakfast and 700 calorie dinner; and
  • For women, a 500 calorie lunch and either a 600 calorie breakfast and a 300 calorie dinner, or a 300 calorie breakfast and 600 calorie dinner.

The high-calorie breakfast also included a sweet treat, such as a cookie or piece of cake.

Researchers divided the study into one 16-week weight loss phase followed by a second 16-week long maintenance phase. They found:

  • The low-calorie breakfast group lost an average of 33 lbs. in the first phase, but regained 22 lbs. in the second phase;
  • The high-calorie breakfast group lost an average of 30 lbs. in the first phase, and an additional 15 lbs. in the second phase;
  • The high-calorie breakfast group reported less hunger and fewer cravings, likely due to their association with a 45.2% reduction in the hormone ghrelin, which induces hunger; and
  • A high-calorie breakfast correlated to improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and insulin.

Jakubovicz studied the effect of meal composition on hunger, weight loss, and satiety. In response to the study findings, she suggests that a "high-carbohydrate and protein breakfast may prevent weight regain by reducing diet-induced compensatory changes in hunger, cravings, and ghrelin suppression" (Bankhead, MedPage Today, 6/26).

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