Eating A Bigger Breakfast Could Help You Lose Weight
A new study from Tel Aviv University is making headlines, purporting that adding a piece of chocolate cake to a balanced breakfast can actually aid weight loss efforts. And while that news is virtually everyone’s dream come true, we have to be the ones to burst everyone’s bubble here.
The reason the cake-eating group of obese participants continued losing weight in the second half of the study while the small breakfast-eating group actually regained weight has less to do with the inclusion of chocolate cake and more to do with their general frontloading of calories in the morning.
So no, chocolate cake isn’t the magical diet food you’ve hoped it would become. But yes, you can (and should) indulge in a bigger breakfast each day if weight loss is on your health goals list. Here’s why.
Your metabolism works most efficiently during the hours of the day when you are awake, engaged and moving about. You need balanced nutrition to fuel this movement much more than you need snacks to chill out on the couch late at night or pass out in your bed at the end of the day. So by eating a bigger breakfast, a satisfying lunch and a smaller dinner, you’re feeding your body at the optimal times for energy expenditure rather than storage.
Another major benefit of eating more of your daily allotment of food earlier in the day is that you’re likely to experience fewer and less severe cravings for the junkier foods you tend to want as the clock strikes 9 p.m. So often in our diet culture, we skimp at breakfast (or skip it entirely), eat a salad for lunch and pick at “healthy” snacks during the afternoon. It’s no wonder that you become a hangry monster after your evening commute, wanting to eat everything in sight. But if you feed your body as it needs energy, it won’t yell at you like this later in the day.
Now, it’s important to quantify what a “bigger breakfast” actually means. You can’t necessarily eat whatever you want and however much you want, and see the results we’re talking about here.
Consider your daily food intake goals, and instead of evenly distributing those foods over three meals, add a little to your breakfast and subtract from your dinner. For example, if you’re following a 1,500-calorie diet to lose weight, aim to consume 600 calories at breakfast, 400 calories at lunch and 300 calories at dinner, which gives you room for two small snacks or one larger snack during the day. And, amazingly, by following this meal structure, you won’t actually be hungry for much more than a small dinner when the time comes to chow down.
Oh, and those 600 calories definitely shouldn’t come predominantly from chocolate cake because science has yet to find a way to make that what we would consider “nutritionally balanced.” Damn. Stick to powerhouse foods like oats, Greek yogurt, fruit and whole eggs, and feel free to toss a piece of dark chocolate in there to assuage your sweet tooth.