June 3, 2013

Losing weight without giving up your favorite dessert


Losing weight is normally a simple game of calories consumed versus calories burned; but is there a way to cheat this system and still lose all the weight?  A 2012 study conducted by Tel Aviv University in Israel says there is a way to cheat.  How? Just add a dessert to your breakfast, they say.

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Tel Aviv selected 193 obese adults for the study.  They were then split up into 2 groups, one group eating a low carbohydrate diet (with a 300 calorie breakfast) and the second group eating a balanced (600 calorie) breakfast that includes dessert and other high protein and carbohydrate foods.

The theory that Tel Aviv has is that dieters who try to avoid sweets will end up psychologically addicted to these foods later on.  By adding dessert to breakfast they believe they can prevent this addiction from happening in the long term and cut back cravings in the short term.  They also believe that it’s important for the sweets to be eaten at breakfast because that is the time of day when ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is most easily suppressed.  By eating sweets early in the day, the extra calories consumed will be burned throughout normal daily activities and cravings for sweets will be almost non-existent.

While these are interesting theories, the two study groups lost the same average amount of weight during the first half of the study.  However, during the second half of the study participants who did not eat breakfast-desserts regained about 22 pounds each.  They also reported never feeling full and finding it hard not to succumb to sweets.

However, the dessert eaters ended up faring much better.  Not only did they lose another 15 pounds in the last half of the study, they also reported feeling full and satisfied with the diet plan.  By the end of the study, they had lost approximately 40 pounds per person more than the other study group.

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This dessert for breakfast idea sounds fantastic; how could you complain?  Well, some nutritionists from the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City are complaining.  Their issues with the study conducted by Tel Aviv are that they do not consider the quality of desserts and what components could cause long term health issues.  By encouraging people to eat desserts, they are promoting foods that are high in trans fats and other hydrogenated oils that can raise cholesterol levels and cause major health problems in the long run, including heart disease.  The medical center also sites that these sugary desserts raise blood sugar and insulin, which affects energy levels and appetite.  And this can cause a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

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