There’s something about eating sweet treats in the morning that seems so wrong, even though it feels so right.
What’s the actual issue with having a biscuit at 9am? Why should I wait until I eat a slice of toast to fulfil my sugary cravings?
If you’ve felt judged for having the odd sweet treat in the morning, we have some news you might find interesting.
Eating sweet things with breakfast can promote weight loss
A study led by endocrinologist Professor Daniela Jakubowicz, at Tel Aviv University in Israel, found eating a dessert with breakfast could help people lose weight.
The team analysed 193 people who were on a calorie-controlled diet. The volunteers either ate a low-carbohydrate breakfast or a diet that contained high protein and high carbohydrate, which included a cheeky treat like a slice of cake or a doughnut.
The study found that after 16 weeks, those who were on the low-carb diet started regaining weight. But the people who had breakfast with a sweet treat ended up losing a little bit more weight.
Why is this?
This isn’t because the treats added any nutritional value. The scientists noted that those who had a dessert were more likely to be stricter with their diets, probably because they were looking forward to having a sweet treat in the morning.
Additionally, having those morning sweet treats seemed to lessen the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which meant they were less likely to crave food.
In Jakubowicz’s book The Big Breakfast Diet, she highlights that the hormones which control our appetite, energy and metabolism differ around the clock.
So, she recommends a breakfast that is full of protein with a sweet treat to top it off. But, this should be followed by a smaller lunch and dinner free of carbs with no sweets.
Studies show a similar trend
Another study examined the effects of postmenopausal women eating 100g milk chocolate one hour after waking up.
The women in the study, published in The FASEB Journal, reduced their blood glucose levels, burned fat and reduced their waist circumference.
The study also found eating chocolate in the morning led to lower daily cortisol levels. “Lower cortisol levels have been related to a lower stress-related appetite which may partly explain the better caloric compensation,” the study said.
Is it too good to be true?
Mizpah Matus, a nutritionist and raw food chef, notes that with this kind of diet, “the importance of the nutritional quality of the diet is completely overlooked”.
In a piece for freedieting.com, she suggests the diet “promotes unhealthy food choices that will ultimately result in negative effects on health over the long term”.
What’s more, WebMD notes that blood sugar and insulin levels drop when breakfast is the largest meal of the day – so people with diabetes should check with their doctor before trying a meal plan like this.
The site explains: “You may be on medications that peak at the times of the day when most people eat their largest meals. This may cause your blood sugar to dip dangerously low once you change your meal times around.”
Moderation, as ever, is key
Dessert forms part of celebrations, enjoyment, and pure pleasure, so if you feel like eating it later in the day or evening, that’s fine too, registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey previously told Huffpost.
“You can eat dessert any time of day that you want,” Rumsey said.
“If you’re tuning in to your body to help determine what you want to eat and it’s hungry for dessert – have the dessert! Oftentimes people restrict dessert or sweets during the day, even if they’re craving them, which can lead to them feeling out of control around sweets later in the day.”