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Low-Carb Yes, But Eat A High-Carb And Protein Big Breakfast

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Researchers have found a possible way to overcome the common problem of dieters eventually abandoning their diet and regaining the weight they lost. Eat a big breakfast packed with carbohydrates (“carbs”) and protein, then follow a low-carb, low-calorie diet the rest of the day, the authors of a new study recommend.

“Most weight loss studies have determined that a very low carbohydrate diet is not a good method to reduce weight,” said lead author Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, of the Hospital de Clinicas, Caracas, Venzezuela. “It exacerbates the craving for carbohydrates and slows metabolism. As a result, after a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity.”

Only five percent of carbohydrate-restrictive diets are successful after two years, Jakubowicz said. Most carbohydrate-restrictive diets, she said, do not address addictive eating impulses.

With scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Jakubowicz and her colleagues conducted a study, which they said shows that a diet’s long-term effectiveness depends on its ability to increase a sense of fullness and bring down carb cravings. They compared their new diet with a strict low-carb diet in 94 obese, physically inactive women. Both diets were low in fat and total calories but differed in the carbohydrate distribution.

Forty-six women were on the very-low-carb diet, which allowed them to eat 1,085 calories a day. The diet consisted of 17 grams of carbohydrates, 51 grams of protein and 78 grams of fat a day. The smallest meal was breakfast, at 290 calories. For breakfast the dieters were permitted only 7 grams of carbohydrates, such as bread, fruit, cereal and milk. Dieters could eat just 12 grams of protein, such as meat and eggs, in the morning.

On the modified low-carb diet, or “big-breakfast diet,” the other 48 dieters ate 1,240 calories a day. Although lower in total fat (46 grams) than the other diet, the new diet had higher daily allotments of carbs (97 grams) and protein (93 grams). Dieters ate a 610-calorie big breakfast, consisting of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams of protein and 22 fat grams. The diet schedule for lunch was 395 calories (34, 28 and 13 grams of carbs, protein and fat, respectively); dinner was 235 calories (5, 18 and 26 grams, respectively).

The first half of the eight-month study focused on weight loss, and the last four months on weight maintenance. At four months, the women on the strict low-carb diet dropped an average of about 28 pounds, and the women on the big-breakfast diet lost nearly 23 pounds on average, which according to Jakubowicz was not significantly different. But at 8 months, the low-carb dieters regained an average of 18 pounds, while the big-breakfast group continued to lose weight, shedding another 16.5 pounds. Those on the new diet lost more than 21 percent of their body weight, compared with just 4.5 percent for the low-carb group. Furthermore, the study found that women who ate a big breakfast reported feeling less hungry, especially before lunch, and having fewer cravings for carbs than the other women did.

Jakubowicz said the big-breakfast diet works because it controls appetite and cravings for sweets and starches. It also is healthier than an extremely low-carbohydrate diet, according to Jakubowicz, because it allows people to eat more fruit and therefore get enough fiber and vitamins. She said she has successfully used the diet in her patients for more than 15 years.

Results were presented Tuesday, June 17, at The Endocrine Society’s 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

[P3-220] Effect of Diet with High Carbohydrate and Protein Breakfast on Weight Loss and Appetite in Obese Women with Metabolic Syndrome.

D Jakubowicz, D Maman, P Essah, Hosp de Clins Caracas, Caracas, Venezuela; Med Coll of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth Univ, Richmond, VA

Background: Insulin resistance, common in obesity, promotes weight gain. Weight loss diets for obesity are frequently unsuccessful due to a carbohydrate withdrawal effect that exacerbates carbohydrate craving and hunger. We hypothesized that a diet aimed at reducing hunger and carbohydrate craving would support weight loss in obese individuals.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a diet consisting of a high carbohydrate and protein breakfast would promote weight loss, increase satiety, and reduce carbohydrate craving in obese women with metabolic syndrome.
Methods: In this 32-week prospective study, 94 obese sedentary women (age 31.67yrs, BMI 33.84kg/m2) with metabolic syndrome were randomized to one of two diets: 1) a strict low carbohydrate diet (LCH; n=46) consisting of 1085kc/day (carb:protein:fat 17:51:78g) with breakfast 290kc (7:12:24g), lunch 425kc (5:21:28g), and dinner 370 kc (5:18:26g) or 2) a LCH diet with the modification of a high carbohydrate and protein big breakfast (LCH+BB;n=48) consisting of 1240kc, (carb:protein:fat 97:93:46g) with breakfast 610kc (58:47:22g), lunch 395kc, (34:28:13g),and dinner 235kc (5:18:11g). The first 16wks aimed on weight loss and the last 16 weeks on weight maintenance (WM). A 3-h meal tolerance test (MTT) was performed with quantification of glucose, insulin and appetite scores (hunger, satiety, fullness, and desire to eat) using 100-mm visual analog scales (VAS) at 0, 30, 60, 120, and 180 min after LCH or LCH+BB breakfast.
Results: Both groups lost weight at 16 wks (LCH: -12.62kg, LCH+BB: -10.63kg, p=NS). During the WM phase, the LCH+BB group continued to lose weight (-7.52kg, p<0.001 vs. 16 wk) whereas the LCH group gained weight (+8.32kg, p<0.001 vs. 16 wk). At 32 wks, the LCH group lost 4.5% of their baseline weight. In contrast, the LCH+BB group decreased baseline weight by 21.3%. AUC for glucose and insulin responses to MTT improved in line with weight loss (p<0.001, NS between groups). Compared with LCH, LCH+BB reduced hunger (p=0.02), increased satiety (p=0.07), decreased desire to eat (p=0.02), and increased fullness immediately prior to lunch (p<0.001). In contrast to LCH, LCH+BB reduced carbohydrate craving scores (P<0.001).
Conclusion: A diet consisting of a high carbohydrate and protein breakfast facilitates weight loss by reducing hunger and diminishing carbohydrate craving. Effective weight loss strategies for obese individuals should focus on controlling appetite and carbohydrate craving.

Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Session Info: POSTER SESSION: CLINICAL – Assessment Treatment Outcomes for Obesity (11:00 AM-12:00 PM 2:30 PM-3:45 PM)

Presentation Time: 11:00 AM

Room: Exhibit Halls B/C

Unless otherwise noted, all abstracts are embargoed until the time of their presentation at ENDO 08. The Endocrine Society reserves the right to lift the embargo on specific abstracts that are selected for promotion prior to the start of ENDO 08. For additional information, please contact The Endocrine Society’s Public Affairs department at 301-941-0240 or

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Written by huehueteotl

June 24, 2008 at 7:49 am

Posted in Science

One Response

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  1. Well, there are many ways to lose weigh unfortunatelly many weight loss diets will make you lose weight as a muscle as opposed to fat. So what is important is to learn how to lose fat, preserve and build muscles — that is the only way you can shrink belly fat and stop yo-yo dieting…Just my 2 cents

    Shrink Belly Fat Website

    September 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

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