Have you tried the IHOP diet?

Have you tried the IHOP diet?

Summary: A big breakfast, heavy on the carbs, will cut your cravings throughout the day so you can keep the weight off.

TOPICS: Health

IHOP logoCall it the IHOP diet, or if you're a southerner the Waffle House plan.

Here it is. A big breakfast, heavy on the carbs, will cut your cravings throughout the day so you can keep the weight off.

That's the theory of Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, a Venezuelan who tested her plan with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and presented the results to the latest meeting of the Endocrine Society.

The study put 46 people on a strict low-carb regimen and 48 on her "big breakfast" plan. Big here is relative, a 610-calorie meal with 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams of protein and 22 fat grams. (Two pancakes with butter and syrup have 520 calories.)

Both diets were actually similar, 1,095 calories per day in the low-carb plan, 1,240 per day for Dr. Jakubowicz. The difference lay in when the calories were consumed. She gave half the daily allotment at breakfast, the other plan made dinner the big meal.

While the low-carb dieters actually lost more weight during the first four months of the plan, many low-carb eaters went off their diets in the "maintenance" section, while those eating breakfast kept dropping pounds.

The difference, in other words, came down to compliance.

This did not sit well with some low-carb advocates, notably Jimmy Moore of Spartanburg, South Carolina:

Livin' la vida low-carb makes carb cravings WORSE and slows down your metabolism?! WRONG!!! My experience has been that eating a truly low-carb diet (not one that starts off your day with cereal or bread!) keeps the cravings away and consuming plenty of fat and moderate protein as every good low-carb diet does will rev up your metabolism into a fat-burning machine while you enjoy delicious foods that will keep your energy level up all day.

Let me add I don't have a stake (or a steak) in this battle. I've never dieted. But I do have to take one conclusion from all this, that your mother was right.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Topic: Health

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  • When Mama's happy, everybody's happy.

    D T Schmitz
  • RE: Have you tried the IHOP diet?

    Bogus! It will also predispose people to an increased risk of developing a pre-diabetic state. Large amounts of carbohydrates will cause sharp rises in insulin. Not to mention that pancakes are simple carbohydrates, in other words processed foods. Proper nutrition should be focused on a well-balanced meal including complex carbohydrates, protein, and good fats. What kind of message does this send to people?

    Dr. Igor Schwartzman
    • Where this diet challenges...

      I do agree that W.H. Kellogg is spinning in his grave. His call for lighter breakfasts a century ago has been the basis of diet kant ever since.

      But my own life agrees with this diet's premise. A good breakfast keeps the snack genie away. Putting away some carbs and proteins before starting into hard work makes you stronger.

      In my own life I try to have a breakfast with carbs and protein after a hard run of exercise. I use the fuel to power my morning. I'm in good shape.

      Starving yourself at breakfast is a great way to wind up gorging yourself at lunch.
  • RE: Have you tried the IHOP diet?

    This is ridiculous. Is this an advertisement for IHOP? Eating a huge breakfast heavy in carbs makes absolutely no sense. You'll crash and then be cranky and hungrier. And the long term consequences of a diet like this are grim.
    It's no mystery how to lose weight and stay in shape: eat low calories, fruits and vegetables, and exercise regularly. Ween yourself off the horrible American diet.
  • Wrong type of carbs bigtime.

    Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day. However the carbs used are not complex and will only last a few hours and you crash. Also there are not enough proteins.

    You would be better with a steak or ham and eggs with black bread (Schwarzbrot) with the density of a road paver. Have some greens in there too. Wash it down with OJ. You will not be hungry all day because I got that from Grandma over 40 years ago. I was skinny too.

    This sounds like a waste of money thru a grant study, because this is well know that simple sugars are not good for you, especially with diabetics. What took a doctor to get it wrong my Grandma got it right without finishing high school. She lived to 100 years. She also wasn't a health nut and believed in moderation.

    Simple sugars = nitromethane = short lived
    Complex sugars = diesel = go all day
    • The point of the diet

      As my article makes clear this was a calorie-restrictive diet -- just 1,240 total, all day. You're just consuming them at a different time, in a slightly different format.
      • Format is critical.

        Well the type of calories matter too. I think of complex carbs as time released pills, as source of your glucose that ultimately feeds your cells. A donut or mountain dew is a surge and the side effect is insulin resistance over a life of doing this. People eventually have to develop some dietary discipline.
  • RE: Have you tried the IHOP diet?

    I really hate it when journalists who don't know a diet from a train wreck interpret highly specific research data and extrapolate it into sensationalized and grossly misinterrepted garbage like the "I-Hop" diet. You should be ashamed of your ignorance and lack of concern. This is an important topic and you trivialize it shamefully as badly as the daytime TV sensationalist shows do.

    I couldn't find the actual report but per Science Daily, what happened here is that two slightly different very low calorie (appx 1000 calories per day) regimens were compared and one may have (or not) a bit more lasting benefit than the others in one, perhaps biased, and unblinded study. It isn't surprising that when one restricts obese people to 1000 calories per day, they lose weight. The problem then becomes continuing compliance. That's difficult is someone is hungry, which is what happens when you feed people with metabolic syndrome carbohydrates.

    Most people who have metabolic syndrome, the most common cause of obesity, and eat large amounts of carbohydrates, will make extra insulin and will have horrible hunger and cravings. An Atkins, or more reasonably a Heller type diet will fix this-- permanently.


    The only publication I could find by this author about this topic:


    Science Daily news release about it:


    Positive Studies of Low Carb diets:


    The key to an effective diet for the long term is APPETITE CONTROL:


    Low carb vs Low fat:


    The Heller diet:

    M. Y.
    • High carbs for breakfast

      That's the IHOP way. I used the ScienceDaily release. I quoted from it directly. And I put it into context, not only by quoting a critic but by linking to a nutritional panel on pancakes.

      The IHOP reference is, indeed, a reference meant to stir debate, but it's not that unfair.
      • Informative article and the Zone diet

        [pre]Your article definitely meets my standards for relevant and interesting information with a limited scope being supplied in a relatively brief number of words. (I am not given such abilities so I really appreciate them.)

        Your immediately previous respondent possibly should have eaten a few carbs before he started writing. However, his information was solid and helpful.

        One of the supplied links for information on the ScienceDaily page was for the Zone diet, which link gave an accurate if limited description of the diet. That article's opening sentence stated correctly that (paraphrased) the Zone diet is not principally a weight-loss diet. (Technically, also, it is correctly characterized as a "moderate protein, moderate carbohydrate" diet.)

        I am giving a comparison below, because I believe Dr. Sears (<u>drsears.com</u>) Zone Diet is the most effective eating plan for good health with associated weight loss and ability to maintain, given a 3 month intensive learning period. I have seldom seen this plan reported accurately and with any understanding.

        The "high-carb" breakfast meal for the diet experiment you describe, with two major notes, fits the ratio formula (40:30:30)(protein:carb:fat)(P:C:F) for a Zone meal very closely. The first note is that the Zone diet generally recommends sticking to low-glycemic carbohydrates for additional health benefits; the second note is that the Zone diet recommends using only or predominantly mono-unsaturated fats.

        Comparing the breakfast (which is one my family's favorites) to the Zone plan, that size breakfast would be about 2/3 of the daily targets for P:C:F for a woman engaging in light activity during the day. For an average man engaged in heavy activity, it would represent about 2/5 of his daily targets. From the article, I would say that the following terms are of interest in terms of maintaining the experimental diet: "less hungry" and "fewer cravings for carbs".

        Several facts about Dr. Sears are not usually reported when talking about the Zone diet:

        1.) It's originator, Dr. Sears, is a biochemist who, before he started writing Zone Diet books, was designing and selling "long-acting" surfactants for use with heart and cancer medications which needed to remain active for a period of time. I.e., he intimately understands the basic bodily (and especially hormonal) responses to introduced chemicals.

        2.) The principal basis for the diet recommendations is the principle: "Food is the most powerful drug you can take."

        I have followed the Zone eating plan for about 13 years. When I started, my weight was at 230 pounds, or a little more, at 6'-0". I've never gone back up to that, and I am now at 192 pounds, and still counting. My standard blood tests on my physicals have been well within the published "healthy" ranges since I started it. I've lost most of my pot belly. I have not exercised regularly at any time, although I maintain an active life, with golf and yard work and occasional walking.

        The "Zone" is a physiological state where a person is not hungry, has good physical energy and stamina, and good mental clarity, for 3 to 5 hours after a Zone meal. I experience these benefits daily (and I need them, as I am 72 and still working).

        I would recommend that anyone interested in maintaining optimal health and weight spend enough time to examine the underlying science and experimental results which support the diet, and devote at least 3 months to learning and following the Zone eating plan.

        If it does not suit you then, you will still know more than you ever have about how and why your body reacts to food. (I have absolutely no stake or interest in any Zone-related or Dr. Sears-related activities or enterprises.)[/pre]
        • I appreciate all comments

          ...and I thank you especially for reading through the comment you objected to, to the links, and for following them. There was a lot of good stuff there, and I appreciated it as well.

          Good thing I didn't call it the "little chocolate donut" diet.
          • format

            Thank you.
            Why can't I get my post formatted? Too many words? Are those really all the HTML codes the blog will recognize?
  • RE: Have you tried the IHOP diet?

    Yeah-- you're right. I looked at it again after I cooled off a bit. The problem is that fad diets hurt people and make money for crooks and nut cases.

    If you ever want to write a longer piece on diets pls look at the overall issues:

    1. An effective diet *requires* appetite control.

    2. The best way to be sure you will lose weight is to track your intake of calories and your expenditure of calories. Obviously, the expenditure must exceed the intake. But how to do that without enlisting NASA?

    Tracking caloric intake is done with a food scale. You can weigh your food and use internet tables and calculators to convert to calories or you can use a $50 scale which does the conversion for you.

    Keeping track of energy expenditure is slightly more technical but one of the most clever and helpful gadgets I've seen is the Bodybugg. Try to get it on eBay or on sale and it should cost less than than $250 including three months of the online logging service.

    I have no financial interest in the scale or the Bodybugg and I am deliberately not including links-- you can google them. I have several friends who use them and while the Bodybugg is not 100% precise, it's very very helpful.

    Bottomline, when my friends can manage their appetite and food intake so that the Bodybugg shows they use 300-700 calories per day more than they consume, they lose. It's not steady or predictable day to day but on average, at least a pound a month is fairly easy and up to three pounds per month not impossible.

    What about shows like "Biggest Loser" which suggest people can lose several pounds per week? Mostly fraudulent (you can google that too). They make you think the interval between episodes is the same as between the air times but it's not-- it can be 6 to 10 or more times as long.

    Gotta go-- thanks for listening.

    M. Y.
    • glad to have you with us

      Thanks for writing in again.

      The key points here is that the "IHOP diet" is calorie restrictive. It aims to improve compliance by making breakfast the big meal of the day, and using carbs to reduce cravings.