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Big, Well-Balanced Breakfast Aids Weight Loss
Date:6/19/2008

It led to almost 40-pound reduction among sedentary, obese women, study found,,,,

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Starting your day with a large meal packed with both carbohydrates and lean protein, and even a small piece of chocolate, can help lessen cravings and hunger the rest of the day, which can lead to significant weight loss, new research suggests.

Presented at this week's Endocrine Society annual meeting, in San Francisco, the new research found that sedentary, obese women lost almost five times as much weight on the "big breakfast" diet as did women following a traditional, restrictive low-carbohydrate diet.

"We treat obese people by telling them to eat less and exercise more, but that does not take into account feelings of carb cravings and hunger. We have to change our approach and find a diet that can control cravings and hunger," said the study's lead author, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, a clinical professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and an endocrinologist at the Hospital de Clinicas Caracas in Venezuela.

Jakubowicz explained that when you wake in the morning, your body is primed to look for food. Your metabolism is revved up, and levels of cortisol and adrenaline are at their highest. Your brain needs energy right away, and if you don't eat or you eat too little, the brain needs to find another fuel source. To do this, it activates an emergency system that pulls energy from muscle, destroying muscle tissue in the process. Then when you eat later, the body and brain are still in high-alert mode, so the body saves energy from the food as fat, she said.

Compounding the problem, your levels of the brain chemical serotonin are highest in the morning, which means your craving levels are at the lowest when you first wake up, and you may not feel much like eating, Jakubowicz said. But, as the day wears on, serotonin levels dip, and you get cravings for chocolate or cookies, and
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