Dessert: Another reason to love mornings

It may be the most widely reported diet story of the year. Researchers in Tel Aviv put hundreds of overweight people on one of two diets. One was low carb and low calorie. The other was similar, but with a twist: people could have a small dessert after breakfast. Choices included a cookie, chocolate, a piece of cake or a doughnut.

After 16 weeks, both groups had lost 33 lbs — seemingly a great success. But after that, the two groups split. The group that got to have an after-breakfast dessert lost another 15 lbs. The group that didn’t get dessert gained 22 lbs back — largely, it seems, because they started cheating. They couldn’t stick with the low calorie diet long term.

There are many things to take from this study (though we shall see if anyone replicates it). One is that humans don’t do well, long-term, with deprivation. Instead of trying to engineer all treats out of your life, you may be better off introducing them in a controlled fashion.

What does that controlled fashion look like? This brings us back to the idea of mornings as a special time. Perhaps not all hours are created equally. Maybe there is something different about the way our bodies use food in the mornings. Or perhaps it’s that mornings are when our willpower levels are at their highest. A slice of cake at night turns into two or three slices. A slice of cake in the morning is just that: a piece of cake, enjoyed, savored, with the feeling of satisfaction lasting through the day. 

Do you eat dessert after breakfast? Have you thought about it?

In other news: I’ll have more info on this in an official round-up tomorrow, but What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast is now officially available as an audio book! You can order it from Amazon, or from iTunes. It’s also around $3, and features me narrating it.

Photo courtesy flickr user Better than Bacon

17 thoughts on “Dessert: Another reason to love mornings

  1. A novel idea ! One of the tenants of Weight Watchers is that you should be mindful of what you are eating.. definitely much easier to do in the morning in a quite house than at the end of the day when often stress or exhaustion lead those of us who are emotional eaters or with food issues find ourselves staring at an open fridge wondering what it is we want… : ) out of life, the fridge etc. …

  2. I saw your photo and thought this was going to be a post about Unattainable Cake 😉

    I definitely think it’s easier to eat “right” whatever right may be for you, if you are “allowed” to have a treat on a regular basis. WHether that treat is sugar, or bacon, or a “cheat meal” it definitely helps people not feel deprived.

    1. @ARC- I should have used that photo! Somebody has to start the meme. Though I thought this was a pretty cool looking cake too…

  3. Further proof that pie for breakfast rules! We all need to start our day off right. Plus, when you think about, a lot of these cereals and so forth have as much or more sugar than the pie, cookie, whatever, that you may as well have the dessert (which you would ideally be following up with something healthy, preferrably with a bit of protein). Love this post!

      1. There ya go! BTW, love the pic too…I’m half tempted to try to recreate that cake sometime for fun, if I can just figure out how they got the color scheme…

  4. I read about this study, and I think that’s a great idea–dessert with breakfast! My personal habit is to have a small piece of cranberry orange scone with my coffee in the morning, and this study made me feel better about it!

  5. Hi Laura! I just “found” you and am loving catching up on your post!
    This one is awesome – I’ve always known that having a treat with my breakfast made for a better day…and I agree the best treat is “morning pie” 🙂
    I’ve subsribed and looking forward to a “daily dose of Laura”!

  6. I’m going to try the breakfast desert program. I’ve lost and lost with a six small meals/day regime. But its tough to plateau no matter when it occurs. Maybe that “ittle bittle” doughnut hole will do the trick…

  7. Thank you for giving reason to go eat that cookie that has been staring at me all morning. 😉

    Actually, my Mom always had cookies and coffee at breakfast every single morning. She was never overweight so maybe there is something to it!

    1. @Johanna – there may be something to it! I love big breakfasts, and the idea of having a cookie afterwards is lovely. I think the thing to keep in mind is that one dessert per day should do it… and it’s got to be reasonably sized…

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