Lose Weight Eating Pizza, Candy? Yes!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 02:16 PM EDT

Pizza, cookies, and candy don’t typically make the list of diet foods, but when they’re part of a big, high-protein breakfast, they can help you lose weight and keep it off, according to Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, author of “The Big Breakfast Diet.” But as you might suspect, there’s more to it than that.

The big breakfast premise is this: By eating your biggest meal of the day before 9 a.m., you feed your body when it’s primed to turn that fuel into energy in the most efficient way. And you prevent cravings and lower the odds of eating the wrong foods or oversized portions later in the day.

The Trouble With Skipping Breakfast
Many people who are overweight eat little or nothing in the earlier hours of the day, or they try to stay away from food all together for as long as possible. Then, at some point, they lose control and eat more than their bodies can handle.

Several significantly overweight people I’ve known ate nothing until dinnertime. By then, they were starving and completely unable to conceive of portions, let alone control them. And, they got hungry soon after dinner and kept eating throughout the evening.
Some of these individuals eventually decided to try breakfast, stopped feeling perpetually hungry, were able to eat a sensible lunch and dinner and, as if by magic, lost weight. In fact, they were eating fewer calories each day.

The Big Breakfast Diet
In her diet prescription, Jakubowicz is very specific about what breakfast must include: Comfort-style carbohydrates, such as pancakes, pizza, cereal, or toast, but always in combination with ample protein. Finish the meal with a small sweet treat, such as a 2-inch-square brownie, two small cookies, one small cake doughnut, or 14 jelly beans.

The idea is that eating lots of protein in the morning speeds up metabolism, promoting weight loss. Eating your favorite carbohydrates at the same time doesn’t trigger weight gain because, according to Jakubowicz, our bodies can process them more efficiently early in the day. And eating those favorite foods for breakfast should be satisfying enough to prevent cravings for them later in the day.

This is one way to “have your cake,” and it makes some scientific sense. Various studies show that people who have breakfast tend to eat fewer total calories per day, and are less likely to be overweight.

“The Big Breakfast Diet” is based on more specific research Jakubowicz carried out with her colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. In her study, a group of 46 women ate a low-carb diet in which breakfast was the smallest meal of the day, such as half a slice of bread and two eggs. For another group of 48 women, breakfast was the biggest meal of the day.

After four months, low-carb dieters lost an average of 28 pounds, compared to 23 pounds among the big breakfast eaters. However, eight months after the study began, those in the low-carb group had regained an average of 18 pounds, while the big breakfast crowd dropped, on average, an additional 16.5 pounds.

Breakfast Options
To replicate the study results, a big breakfast could be 16 ounces of low-fat milk or a protein shake plus one-half of a 12-inch thin-crust pizza topped with 3 ounces of sliced pepperoni, followed by a sweet treat.
In place of the pizza, other options could be a tuna melt, pancakes with three slices of Canadian bacon, a chicken burrito, an egg-white scramble with ham and cheese plus cereal, or a lean 4-ounce steak plus French or Italian bread. Jakubowicz is quite specific about how these should be prepared and the book includes numerous recipes and menus, including vegetarian options.

If this sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that after breakfast, the meals get smaller, there are no more sweet treats and unlike most diets, this one excludes between-meal snacks. A typical lunch would be 3 ounces of meat, chicken, or fish with vegetables or salad and a little fruit.
Dinner would be similar but might include cheese instead of meat, or it might only be a salad, if you’re not very hungry. And, no added sugar is allowed, except for whatever is in the after-breakfast sweets.

Is This Diet Right for You?
“Diet” is often considered a four-letter word because most people can follow a prescribed eating plan only for a while, not as a long-term way of life. If you frequently enjoy dining with other people at lunch or dinner, making breakfast your main meal isn’t likely to be practical.

On the bright side, the research underlying “The Big Breakfast Diet” illustrates the power of that “most important meal of the day.” If you don’t usually eat breakfast, or you eat only toast or a doughnut, adding some protein, such as a ready-to-drink protein shake, may well put you on the road to a slimmer, healthier body.

© HealthDay

Pizza, cookies, and candy don’t typically make the list of diet foods, but when they’re part of a big, high-protein breakfast, they can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 02:16 PM
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