According to a study reported by Reuters, the key to losing weight - and keeping it off - is to eat a big breakfast packed with carbohydrates and protein; then for the remainder of the day, follow a low-carb, low-calorie diet. According to researchers referenced in the article, the "big breakfast diet" works because it controls appetite and satisfies cravings for sweets and starches. They also point out that it's healthier than low-carb diets because it allows people to eat more fiber- and vitamin-rich fruit. Doctor Daniela Jakubowicz, of Caracas, Venezuela says it's been successful in her patients for more than 15 years.
"Most weight loss studies have determined that a very low carbohydrate diet is not a good method to reduce weight," says Jakubowicz. "As a result, after a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity."
As evidence, Jakubowicz and colleagues compared women on a very-low-carb diet, who consumed 1,085 daily calories; with an approximate equal number who followed the "big breakfast diet," getting 1,240 calories. At four months, there was no significant weight-loss difference between the two groups. But at eight months, the low-carb folks regained an average of 18 pounds, while the big breakfast dieters lost another 16. In the end, the big breakfast dieters lost more than 21 percent of body weight, compared with under five percent for the alternative.
Also, according to Jakubowicz, women who ate a big breakfast reported having fewer cravings for carbs, and feeling less hungry, especially before lunch.
If you read my column, you know I believe a healthy serving of skepticism is almost always more effective than 90 percent of the diets boasting "the key" or "the secret." (And, don't even get me started on the whole "low carb" craze that ran amuck a few years back; that's one fad that couldn't get out the door quickly enough.) The "big breakfast diet" is not like those. Yet, with all due respect to the education level of those who analyzed the results, this study wins today's big "No Duh" award.
Let's compare, shall we? The "big breakfast diet" consists of a filling healthy morning meal full of vitamins, flavors, and nutrients, combined with a lower-calorie, low-fat regimen, culminating in a balanced, reasonable caloric intake at day's end. The alternative involves virtual starvation and avoiding like the plague all one's favorite foods.
Hmmm, which would you prefer? Bottom line, if one cannot (or will not) continue the program long enough to attain the results, she will revert to old habits and, consequently, her beginning weight.
Label the program by any name you wish; the lesson remains the same: it's about lifestyle, not dieting. One cannot wait until he gets healthy and then start living in that manner; it's the other way around. Act healthy now, eat healthy today, think healthy often; your weight will adjust.
As for the good doctor pointing out that eating a big breakfast makes one less hungry at lunch, I am proud to present to you the "Captain Obvious" award.
I know of a 'friend of a friend' who eats this way with great success. She'll even save dinner from the night before if it's carby - and have it for breakfast the next day instead. I couldn't do it. I like my fat and carbs at night!