It sounds too good to be true, but a group of scientists reckon they’ve figured out how to prevent weight-gain and food cravings – and it involves adding a cookie or a slice of cake to your breakfast.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University’s Wolfson Medical Center in Israel believe that dieters would have less trouble fighting off pesky hunger pangs throughout the day if they ate a carbohydrate-rich, protein-packed breakfast – with a helping of dessert.
During the study, researchers enlisted the help of 200 (non-diabetic) obese adults who were split into two groups.
One group was asked to follow a low-carbohydrate diet including a 304-calorie breakfast containing a total of 10g of carbs.
Cookies for breakfast?! Take a look at other bizarre breakfast foods from around the world...
Bizarre Breakfasts From Around The World
China: Century Eggs
How do you like your eggs in the morning? The Chinese like theirs wrapped in a mixture of clay, salt, ash, lime, and rice. The result? The yolk turns green, and the egg white is almost black and the texture is creamy and gelatinous with a pungent odour.
Japan: Chawan Mushi
Japanese wake up to a bowl of steamed eggs and dashi seasoning giving it a silky, custard-like texture. These are topped with shiitake mushrooms with added chicken or kamaboko (a mixture of cured white fish and starch).
These odd-looking corns are a regular food served on Mexican breakfast tables in omelettes. This corn with a twist is technically 'diseased' corn (yes, really) and the fungus that grows from it is considered a delicacy among Mexican breakfast eaters. Spores infect the corn, turning it black and giving it a mushroom-like flavour.
Koreans wake up to this potent dish of fermented vegetables, with an added kick of garlic, red peppers and ginger.
Hafragrautur, or oatmeal, has been a staple in the diet of Icelandic families for many years. Oats and water or milk are mixed in a pot and left to simmer. Hafragrautur is usually served with a sprinkle of brown sugar, or occasionally a handful of raisins or a pat of butter.
Meat-loving Americans enjoy scrapple for breakfast, which is made from parts of a pig that is left-over from dinner. The meat is boiled, minced, seasoned and molded into the shape of a loaf. It's then fried and eaten with eggs or pancakes. l.
Hong Kong: Crab Porridge
Congee is a porridge made by slow cooking rice for an extended period of time, until it takes on a thick, creamy texture. Eat like those in Hong Kong and chuck a boiled crab in for good measure, either the whole crab, or a cooked claw.
Pakistan: Siri Paya
In Pakistan, this soup is dished up at breakfast time but it's not for the faint-hearted. Siri means head and paya means feet, so you might be able to guess what the main ingredients are in the soup. The Siri soup is made from a slow-cooked cow, lamb or goats head and feet.
Jamaicans feast on a plate full of ackee fruit (which resembled scrambled eggs) and white fish. Although this seems like an innocent breakfast, the ackee is actually poisonous if not prepared correctly.
The second group were given a 600-calorie breakfast with 60g carbs and a small ‘sweet’, such as chocolates, cookies, a slice of cake or a doughnut.
Both breakfasts from the two groups included protein-rich foods like egg whites, tuna, cheese and low-fat milk. However, second group (who followed the ‘dessert breakfast’) consumed an extra 15g of protein than the first group.
Although both groups had lost 33 pounds at the study's halfway point (around 15.1kg per person) - those following the low-carb diet, regained 22 pounds during the final four months of the study compared to the ‘dessert for breakfast’ group who regained an average of 15 pounds.
Furthermore, participants who ate dessert for breakfast also noted a reduction in hunger pangs (caused by a dip in ghrelin levels – or the ‘hunger hormone’) and sugary food cravings. The low-carb dieters, however, did not report a change in either of these factors.
Those who ate dessert for breakfast also found it easier to stick to calorie requirements throughout the day.
"The goal of a weight loss diet should be not only weight reduction but also reduction of hunger and cravings, thus helping prevent weight regain," said study author, Daniela Jakubowicz in a statement.
These findings will be presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting.
Having trouble controlling your food cravings? Take a look at clever ways to beat your inner glutton
How To Beat Your Inner Glutton
Doreen Virtue, author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Constant-Craving-What-Cravings-Overcome/dp/1848505906" target="_hplink">Constant Craving</a></em> offers her advice on how to resist your salt, sugar and fat cravings and stay on the right track with your diet.
Stave Off Chocolate Pangs With...
"Ginger ale and soy milk are high in tyramine, which can help relieve chocolate cravings. Pekoe tea is high in chocolate's other stimulating ingredient. theobromine."
Eat A Satifying Sugar-Alternative
"One reason we shun fruit during our sweet cravings is that fruit seems like a deprivation alternative. We've got to dress fruit up! Put a little flavoured, fat-free yoghurt on top. Puree the fruit with an ice cube and some ginger ale. Microwave sliced apple for two minutes at high temperature with a little bit of cinnamon and you've got a quick, low calorie apple-pie type treat."
Understand The Reasons Behind Your Cravings
"If, after analysing your cravings, you discover any anger, frustration or stress, ask yourself how you might take even one step toward alleviating the source of these emotions. Is there someone you can talk to, or some changes that you can make in your life? If you reduce the source of your uncomfortable emotions, you won't need to crave sweet things anymore."
Beware Of 'All Or Nothing' Thinking
If we tell our bodies that this chocolate bar or hamburger will be our last treat ever, we're more likely to binge. "It's like we're seeing a beloved person for the last time, so of course we want to spend as much time as possible with that object of affection." The key is eat all treats in moderation and if the craving get too much, seek healthier alternatives.
Fight Off Salty Cravings
"Crunch on crisp vegetables dipped in low calorie, fat-free salad dressing. Instead of potato chips and french fries, go for carrot and celery sticks. Broccoli and cauliflower florets are also tasty replacements. They may not seem as appealing as the fatty versions, but the crunch and flavour will soothe your craving."
Treat Yourself With Non-Food Rewards
"Sweet treats usually equal reward. We all need pats on the back and kudos for hard work. But instead of stopping at the cookie shop or take-out, why not treat yourself to a new book, item of clothing or shoes? This will feel just as satisfying and is much healthier than a fat-laden treat."