Eating a big breakfast that's high in carbohydrates and protein - followed by low carbohydrate, low calorie meals for the rest of the day - can help with long-term weight loss, according to new research from Virginia Commonwealth University.
In this study, the "big breakfast diet" was compared to a very low carbohydrate (17 grams per day) diet in 94 obese, physically inactive women. Both diets were low in fat and total calories but differed in the amount of carbohydrates.
After four months, women who followed the very low carbohydrate diet lost an average of five pounds more than those on the "big breakfast diet" which provided 97 grams of carbohydrates per day.
By eight months the very low carbohydrate dieters had regained an average of 18 pounds - while the "big breakfast" group continued to lose weight.
Overall, the women who followed the "big breakfast diet" - which included a 610-calorie breakfast, a 395-calorie lunch and a 235-calorie dinner - lost an average of 21 percent of their original body weight. (The very low carbohydrate dieters lost less than five percent.)
The researchers attribute the long-term success of the "big breakfast diet" to fewer cravings for carbohydrates and a greater sense of fullness throughout the day. The "big breakfast diet" is also more nutritious than very low carbohydrate diets because it doesn't restrict intake of vitamin-rich fruits.
Previous studies have shown that very low carbohydrate diets are not effective for long-term weight loss. For more information on effective weight loss strategies, check out Leslie Beck's No Fail Diet.
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