Those with a weakness for sweets can now include cookies and cake in a 600 calorie breakfast menu with some proteins and carbs to shed weight in a pleasurable way and also stay slim.
Attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term, explains Daniela Jakubowicz, professor at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, who led the study.
Over the course of a 32-week-long study, participants who added dessert to their breakfast - cookies, cake, or chocolate - lost an average of 40 pounds more than a group that avoided such foods, the journal Steroids reports.
What's more, they kept off the pounds longer. A meal in the morning provides energy for the day's tasks, aids in brain functioning, and kick-starts the body's metabolism, making it crucial for weight loss and maintenance, according to a Tel Aviv statement.
And breakfast is the meal that most successfully regulates ghrelin, the hormone that increases hunger, explains Jakubowicz. While the level of ghrelin rises before every meal, it is suppressed most effectively at breakfast time.
These findings were based on 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults, who were randomly assigned to one of two diet groups with identical caloric intake - the men consumed 1,600 calories daily and the women 1,400.
However, the first group was given a low carbohydrate diet including a small 300 calorie breakfast, and the second was given a 600 calorie breakfast high in protein and carbohydrates, always including a dessert item (i.e. chocolate).
Halfway through the study, participants in both groups had lost an average of 33 pounds per person. But in the second half of the study, results differed drastically.
The participants in the low-carb group regained an average of 22 pounds each, but participants in the group with a larger breakfast lost another 15 pounds each.
At the end of the 32 weeks, those who had consumed a 600 calorie breakfast had lost an average of 40 pounds more per person than their peers.
Jakubowicz conducted the study with Julio Wainstein and Mona Boaz from Tel Aviv and Oren Froy of Hebrew University Jerusalem.