Dessert for breakfast to lose weight?

I don’t have a recipe today, but just wanted to share an article that I read in the New York Times yesterday.  It summarizes a study that claims that eating dessert with breakfast may help dieters keep off weight – sounds amazing, right?

Well, I’m no nutrition researcher, but I’m a little skeptical about their conclusion.  If you were the scientist spearheading this study, how would you design your experiments?  I would at least ensure that the experiment group and the control group ate the exact same diet, except the experiment group would also eat a dessert after their breakfast (and maybe also subtract their “dessert calories” from their actual breakfast so that total caloric intake between the two groups is the same.)  Then, if the two groups differ significantly in their subsequent weight loss, you could at least associate the dessert with weight gain or loss, since that is the only variable you changed between the two conditions.

That’s not exactly how they designed this study, however.  I looked at the actual paper and these are the breakfast descriptions for the two groups (the other parts of the diet were essentially identical):

1)  Low carbohydrate breakfast

2) High carbohydrate and protein-enriched breakfast with a dessert (options included chocolate, cookies, cake, ice cream, chocolate mousse, or donuts)

Weight loss was similar for the two groups during the 16-week study period (about 32 pounds), but after a 16-week follow-up the dessert group additionally lost an average of 13 pounds, while the non-dessert group gained back almost all of the weight they originally lost.  How do you know if this is really due to the dessert, or the high carbohydrate protein-enriched breakfast?

As I stated previously, I’m not familiar with nutrition research, and I didn’t read the article too carefully, so it is possible that I’m missing something here.  Still, it’s just something to remember: don’t believe all the scientific claims you read in the media!  (Click here for a really funny PhD Comics on this subject.)

{UPDATE: So I looked the article a little more closely and the authors are not really claiming that the desserts are associated with the weight loss. So – as expected – it’s mainly the media that’s overstating the claim here.}

You may daydream about eating dessert for breakfast, but have you ever thought about eating breakfast for dessert?  Check back this weekend for an easy, fast and delicious recipe that will let you do just that. 🙂

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