A new study from Tel Aviv University finds that eating a small dessert as part of a balanced breakfast can actually help you shed unwanted pounds. Wait, says Madeleine Davies at Jezebel. "Staying skinny and eating chocolate?" Here, a brief guide to what sounds, frankly, impossible:
Dessert with breakfast?
Why not? "Morning is the best time to consume sweets because that's when the body's metabolism is most active," says Britain's Telegraph. And if you indulge in, say, a bit of chocolate after your eggs and bacon, you have the rest of the day to work off the extra calories.
Wouldn't it be better to avoid extra calories altogether?
Apparently not. In this study, researchers split 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults into two groups. Men got 1,600 calories a day and women got 1,400. Half the subjects had a 300-calorie, low-carb breakfast, while the other half got 600 calories in the morning, including a small piece of chocolate cake. Halfway through the 32-week study, both groups had lost an average 33 pounds per person. But in the subsequent 16 weeks, people eating the light breakfast gained back 22 pounds each, while the cake eaters lost another 15 pounds apiece, on average.
What's the explanation?
Breakfast is the meal that best helps regulate ghrelin, the hormone that increases hunger, says professor Daniela Jakubowicz, one of the researchers. "The group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day," Jakubowicz says. "The participants in the low-carbohydrate diet group had less satisfaction and felt that they were not full," so their cravings for sugars and carbohydrates were more intense as the day passed. Many broke down and cheated on their diet, so they lost, on average, 40 pounds less than peers who got to have their cake, and lose weight too.