Losing Weight: A Piece of Cake?

Getting your breakfast "just desserts"Forget the Hollywood-hyped lemonade or cabbage soup diets – if you really want to keep the weight off, how about a slice of chocolate cake or some chocolate-dipped strawberries with your scrambled eggs?

According to the recent New York Times article, “Nutrition: Dessert at Breakfast May Help Dieters,” a piece of pound cake in the morning may help keep pounds off for good. The 16-week study found that obese patients on a low carbohydrate diet that were given dessert with breakfast lost the same weight as those without dessert. However, during a 16-week follow-up, participants that continued eating dessert with breakfast lost even more weight and kept it off, compared to the no-dessert group, who gained back about 90% of the lost weight.

This tantalizing finding comes on the heels of a recent sugar-bashing opinion piece, “The Toxic Truth About Sugar”  that I wrote about in a previous post, where researchers Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis contend that sugar poses serious health risks and should be treated as a controlled substance like alcohol and tobacco.

Wait one sweet minute here.

So… a lot of sugar can be deadly, but a little can be healthy? This is important news indeed. It could potentially change your approach to eating. I know, because it changed mine.

Like many teenage girls, I went on a restrictive, calorie-counting diet at age thirteen, faithfully logging in every leaf of lettuce consumed, chasing after the elusive ten-pound weight loss that would catch the eye of a cute guy and improve my self-esteem. Of course it didn’t happen that way. What did happen was that the more I dieted the more weight I gained.

My dieting turnabout happened after I read Bob Swhartz’s New York Times bestseller, Diets Don’t Work and stopped thinking of foods as black-and-white, “good” or “bad.” At the time, I was in a corporate training program and ate three meals a day in a well-stocked cafeteria, gradually becoming well-stocked myself. Based on the book’s recommendations, I decided to indulge in cherry pie – every day for lunch – and only cherry pie.  It only took a week before the pie-pigging compulsion petered out, and not long afterwards that I lost weight – and interest – in desserts that I once considered “bad” for me.

So perhaps the key to health includes guilt-free indulgence in a small amount of sweet stuff? Westborough-based health and wellness coach Rosanne Ryder thinks so.

“I’ve found the best approach to healthful eating is the 90/10 percent rule,” she says.  “Every day, have 90% of what you eat be healthful: organic, whole, locally grown foods if possible. Then allow yourself 10% for something that makes you feel good. If you feel deprived, that can start a vicious cycle, where you feel as if you ‘blew’ it, so you may as well continue overeating.”

“Food is something that you should take pleasure in,” Rosanne emphasizes.

Now that’s advice I can sink my sweet tooth into.

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