Dessert For Breakfast? How An Early Treat May Help You Stay Focused On Weight Loss

close up of two french style crepes with chocolate syrup and strawberries

New evidence is showing that eating a sweet treat early in the morning for a first meal may actually be a benefit to short term or long term diet plans that focus on weight loss. It may seem counterintuitive to indulge on one of the foods you have been avoiding, but it may actually help you toward your goals.

Breakfast Study

The research, carried out by the Wolfson Medical Center at Tel Aviv University, indicates that a complete breakfast (full of carbohydrates and protein) complemented by a sweet dessert will help fight off hunger pangs and temptations to indulge throughout the day.

Two groups were examined in the study. The “breakfast” meal for both included foods rich in protein and low in fats, like egg whites, tuna, and low-fat dairy products. The first was given a roughly 300-calorie breakfast, with less than 10 grams of carbohydrates. The second group was given a 600-calorie breakfast with at least 60 grams of carbohydrates, and including a small dessert such as a chocolate, a cookie, a doughnut, or even a slice of cake.

At the halfway point of the study, both groups had lost about 33 pounds. However, during the second half of the study, the restricted breakfast group regained 22 pounds while the sweet-indulged breakfast group regained only 15 pounds. The dessert-eating group also reported fewer incidents of hunger throughout the day and found it easier to eat the proper number of calories.

Eating After The Overnight Fast

When you first wake up, your body is in a natural-fasted state with low levels of glycogen and sugar in the blood stream. By eating a sugary item in addition to a full breakfast, your body can replace these levels faster. Eating sugar late in the day is more likely to be stored as fat because your energy levels are much higher and do not need to be refilled.

Reducing Temptation

Having a big breakfast with a dessert has two primary effects on your appetite. First, eating plentifully will keep your body full longer throughout the day. The body’s metabolism is kick-started, and feels more satiated because your “fuel” stores will have been replaced immediately upon waking.

Second, the indulgence works wonders for a psyche that has grown used to restriction and denial. Most dieters end up quitting before they reach their goals because they restricted themselves too much and could no longer resist the temptation. Giving in to the temptation, just a little bit, can give you the temporary reprieve you need to keep going longer.

If you’re trying to lose weight, denying the desserts and sweet treats you love is only going to work against you. The key is to give in to those indulgences—but only a controlled amount, and preferably for breakfast. Eating a big breakfast, including a sweet indulgence, can help stave off hunger pangs, keep your temptations limited, and ultimately help you keep more weight off.