I am a devoted breakfast eater. Since I don’t snack after dinner, it’s been many hours since I last ate and I am famished in the morning. My usual breakfast is a slice of whole-grain bread with a protein, such as peanut butter or cheddar. I do sit down and enjoy my food, but I have just enough time to get out the door to make sure that I get in front of the school bus. However, on leisurely Sundays I add a second course: breakfast dessert.
Breakfast dessert ranges from pumpkin pie in November to birthday cake in the summer to cookies at any time. Tastykakes are a given down the Jersey shore. I suppose that pain chocolat could also be considered breakfast dessert as well.
It turns out that I have been on the forefront of nutritional science. Researchers in Israel studying weight loss strategies reports that obese participants who ate a breakfast high in protein and carbohydrates that included a dessert were better able to stick to their diet and keep the pounds off longer than participants who ate a low-carb, low-calorie breakfast that did not include sweets.
In the study, all participants ate the same number of calories and lost about the same amount of weight. However, during a follow-up period in which participants were advised to stick to the diet, but could eat more if they were motivated by hunger cravings, the small breakfast group gained 24 pounds, while the big breakfast group lost 15 pounds, on average.
Those who ate the big breakfast with the dessert had lower levels of the "hunger" hormone ghrelin, and fewer food cravings than those who ate the small breakfast, without dessert. When we diet, we're hungrier, ghrelin levels rise and there's a decrease in our metabolism. A larger breakfast that includes protein, carbs and sweets may counteract these changes.
Enjoy breakfast dessert! As always, moderation is key: make wise choices and control portion sizes.