Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found that after eight months, women who followed a “Big Breakfast Diet” lost more weight than women who followed a more traditional low-carb diet. In this big-breakfast diet, roughly half a day’s calories were eaten at a high-carbohydrate breakfast and a more traditional low-carb plan was followed the rest of the day.
Big Breakfast Diet At A Glance
This diet requires a large high-carb breakfast totaling about 600 calories to promote satiety and help control eating for the rest of the day. Lunch and dinner are low-carb, and protein is included in all meals and snacks. Some fat is acceptable, and total caloric intake equals between 1,200 and 1,300 calories daily.
The Big Breakfast
Eat about half of a day’s calories during breakfast. All the calories do not have to be eaten at one sitting, but they should be eaten between when a dieter wakes and 9 a.m. Unlike a classic low-carb diet, breakfast can include fruit, bread and cereal. A typical breakfast is cereal with milk, fruit, two slices of bread, cheese, ham or turkey slices and chocolate.
Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner must be kept low carb. Proteins and non-starchy vegetables that fall on the low end of the glycemic index make up the bulk of these meals. A sample lunch or dinner meal would be a few ounces of beef, chicken, fish or pork with a side salad or green vegetables such as broccoli or green beans. Lunch and dinner should each equal about 300 or 400 calories, leaving little room for too much fat or too many carbohydrates.
Support for a Moderate-Carbohydrate Diet
The big-breakfast diet includes a lot of protein, which promotes a feeling of fullness. In addition, a sizable breakfast can help control snacking, cravings and unplanned eating later in the day, making it easier to stick to the diet.
The USDA recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates per day for optimal health, so the addition of carbohydrates in the morning to this otherwise low-carb meal plan may also encourage better health.
There is also some evidence through cyclical ketogenic diets that cycling carbohydrates in and out of the diet by laternating carboydrate inclusion in certain meals or on certain days can help with fat loss.
The 94 women in this study were sedentary, obese and mostly in the 30s, and half of the participants were placed on the big-breakfast diet. Other people may need more or less calories per day to lose weight depending on age, starting weight, level of activity and medical conditions.