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11 Jul
2012
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It’s True… You Can Eat Cake For Breakfast And Still Lose Weight

I think researchers have the best job in the world. It seems all they have to do is dream up some crazy idea, find a bunch of people willing to try it out, and then publish the results. Cake for breakfast is one of those ideas – but it seems that this time it’s not such a crazy one.

The people at Tel Aviv University managed to find 193 obese volunteers who were willing to take part in a 32 week trial. Half of them had a 300 calorie breakfast, the other half had a 600 calorie breakfast that included dessert.

By the 16 week mark both groups had lost an average of around 33lbs. But the really interesting stuff happened in the second half of the study. During the remaining 16 weeks the tiny breakfast group had regained around 22lbs, but the Big Breakfast bunch had lost another 15lbs each.

The daily calorie intake of both groups was designed to be the same, so those with the smaller breakfast made up for it later on in the day. But those same participants were the ones who felt hunger and cravings and frequently gave in to the urges to ‘cheat’.

The reasoning behind this finding is that your metabolism is at its most active in the morning and its power to burn off excess energy drops throughout the day. So, by eating those extra calories in the morning, you not only have all day to burn them off, but you also shut down production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This is the reason those participants in the cake-for-breakfast group experienced little in the way of cravings for sweet foods later on in the day even though they were following a calorie restricted diet

But the most interesting thing appears to be it took 16 weeks before any difference was measured between the two groups. However, this was just the way the experiment was designed. Participants had to follow the diet strictly for 16 weeks. After this time they were permitted to eat extra food if they felt hungry. So I suspect that the differences in the two regimes would have shown up much sooner without this restriction.

There is a problem with this research, and it is highlighted by this fact that both groups experienced the same weight loss when they stuck to the diet. So cake for breakfast makes absolutely no difference when you stick rigidly to a calorie-restricted diet. The cake only made a difference once hunger and cravings were allowed to be satisfied. So what it seems the cake does is to remove this problem. So if you are on a calorie restricted diet and you need some respite from the craving then schedule in some cake for breakfast. But if you want to lose weight the easy way then just check out my easy weight loss book.

Of course another one of the problems with research is that you tend to have highly motivated individuals and there is a world of difference between doing something uncomfortable for 16 weeks and doing it forever.

The results of this research are entirely consistent with my own experience with my weight loss clients. Those who have the most difficulty losing weight are the ones who habitually skip breakfast. I go into the problems this causes in my book How to Lose Weight Easily and Free Yourself from Diets Forever, so I’m not going to repeat that here, but I’m pleased that this research supports the ideas that I have been promoting with my weight loss clients for many years now.

Michael

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