We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but advocates of the new “big breakfast diet” go even further, placing a hearty breakfast at the cornerstone for long-term success.

Big breakfast dietThe big breakfast diet calls for a daily breakfast composed of foods high in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. What’s more, with this diet, breakfast is so big it provides approximately half of a full day’s calorie count.

The main trick to the big breakfast diet is to eat lots of whole-grain, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, such as fat-free milk, yogurt, and eggs. Add fruits and veggies to round out a breakfast that controls appetite until lunchtime at the same time it will minimize cravings for sweets and starches of poor nutritional value.

The big breakfast diet carries through to the rest of the day, too, calling for a low-fat, high-protein lunch and dinner with few carbohydrates in either meal. Again, lots of fruits and veggies round out the meals.

Research scientists from Venezuela and Virginia teamed up to study the effects of the big breakfast diet on 94 women who were all physically inactive and obese. Half the women were placed on a strictly monitored low-carb diet and the other half were assigned the big breakfast diet. The first four months of the study focused on weight loss while the remaining four months targeted weight maintenance.

At the four-month mark in the study period, the women on the big breakfast diet had lost an average of 28 pounds each. The women on the low-carb diet averaged 23 pounds of weight lost.

At the eight-month mark, the final weigh-in for the study revealed the big breakfast diet group had lost an additional 16.5 pounds, on average, while the low-carb group of dieters had gained back an average of 18 pounds each.

After four months of active weight loss and four months of maintenance dieting, the big breakfast group had shed more than 21% of their body weight, compared to only 4.5% loss of body weight in the low-carb diet group.

Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, Hospital de Clinicas, Caracas, has been using this diet, with successful results, for more than 15 years. She presented the findings of this study, conducted in conjunction with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, at the 90th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Francisco on June 17.

Source: The Endocrine Society