I am not a weight loss expert. I’m not a nutritionist. And I’m certainly not one to be doling out advice on the best ways to drop a couple pounds. But I do have one quality that makes me feel qualified to question new research out of Tel Aviv University. Logic.
The study followed 200 nondiabetic obese adults who were put on strict low-calorie diets. The group was split into two groups. One of those groups ate a normal, low-cal breakfast with things like egg whites and low-fat milk. The other group got a treat like a chocolate chip scone or a doughnut with their their breakfast. Then both groups got healthy lunches and dinners.
After 16 weeks on the program, both groups had lost about the same about of weight, averaging 33 pounds. However, in the weeks after the study concluded, the all-low-cal, all-the-time group went on to gain a significant amount of their weight loss back. The second lucky group that got to have yummy breakfast treats continued losing weight. So the obvious conclusion is the doughnuts help you lose weight, right? Sure.
Or actually, not really. This study doesn’t prove anything great about sweets for breakfast. Don’t run out and buy a box of Trix please. This study just shows something that most people understand intrinsically, extremely restrictive diets only work in the short term and normally cause people to binge once they’re done with them. A more realistic program that allows you to have some unhealthy treats in small portions normally has a better chance of lasting longer.
I’m not a dieter. I like to think of myself as a “healthy choicer.” Although that sounds like the pre-packaged meals and I hate those. My philosophy to losing weight is to try to make healthier choices with each meal. When each meal I cook, I try to use one less fat and one more fresh veggie. I try to substitute an evening bowl of ice cream for a bowl of fresh berries. Every day I just try to make healthier choices, and I trust that my body will respond and appreciate my good decisions. It may not be the fastest weight loss plan out there, but it’s the one that works for me.
And I feel like these researchers are just proving what realistic eaters already know. We can’t cut back on everything we love and still stick a diet. It wasn’t the doughnut or the chocolate that helped these people continue to lose weight. It was the idea of getting a treat. The researchers break down their morning treat like this, “Their high-protein breakfasts reduced hunger, while the addition of carbs increased satiety and the sweet dessert cut down on cravings.”
That may be true, but I say that a little less “dieting” and a little more realism in general could’ve created the same results. Or maybe we should all just try eating a doughnut every morning and see where it takes us, right?