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The Big Breakfast Diet

The Promise

Imagine having lots of food – including sweets like cake – every morning and still losing weight. The Big Breakfast Diet says it's possible. 

Author Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, claims that when you eat certain foods matters when you're trying to lose weight or keep it off. Jakubowicz, an endocrinologist, notes that hormones that control your appetite, energy, and metabolism vary naturally around the clock.

Her plan tells you how much protein, carbs, fats, and sugar to eat within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. That will boost your metabolism and tame your afternoon or evening cravings for junk food, she says.

Along with a bigger breakfast, the plan calls for a smaller lunch and dinner.

Does It Work?

Jakubowicz created the diet while treating people with health problems linked to weight gain, like type 2 diabetes. In a 2012 study she led of 195 overweight men and women, those who went on the Big Breakfast Diet lost about the same amount of weight as those who ate low-carb breakfasts over 4 months.

Over the next 4 months, though, the big-breakfast dieters were less likely to regain weight or have food cravings.

A 2013 study Jakubowicz led showed that people who eat their largest meal at breakfast may also be less likely to get heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

What You Can Eat and What You Can’t

For breakfast, you get seven protein servings, two servings each of carbohydrates and fat, and one serving of sweets.

A breakfast sweet can be jelly beans, a doughnut, or a piece of cake.

You can't eat carbs or sweets at lunch or dinner. You eat less protein than at breakfast, along with fruits and vegetables.

You can have sugar-free drinks, gum, and bouillon any time of day.

After a month on the diet, you can have an alcoholic drink with a meal once in a while. Jakubowicz advises low-sugar vodka- or whiskey-based drinks over beer or wine.

Level of Effort: Medium

A large breakfast and small dinner might be hard to get used to. You never skip breakfast on this plan.

Limitations: You can have almost any food if you fit it into the diet's meal formulas. Eating out is fine, too. The diet breaks down fast foods like hamburgers, chicken wings, and pizza into serving sizes of proteins, carbs, and fat.

Cooking and shopping: The food is easy to shop for. The 30 sample meal plans and recipes include shakes and sandwiches for eating on the go.

Packaged foods or meals: None.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: You must move your body for at least 20 minutes a day. That can be an easy walk or 10 minutes of dancing, gardening, or any other activity twice a day. You don't have to join a gym or get sweaty.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians or vegans: Some breakfast proteins on the diet come from milk or yogurt. Soy-milk products are OK instead if you are lactose-intolerant or vegan.

Gluten-free: If you are strictly avoiding gluten, you'll need to substitute gluten-free foods and check ingredients on food labels.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: None besides your grocery shopping.

Support: You’re basically on your own, but The Big Breakfast Diet does include a 28-day food diary and offers tips for holiday parties and other diet hurdles.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 16, 2013

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