Have you tried the IHOP diet?

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

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.


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