Chocolate Cake for Breakfast?!
Six months back I read an article on the Huffington Post UK called "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast Could Help You Lose Weight after reading the article I thought "I must remember to blog about that once we have released the behind the headlines video with Surinder, which came out last week.
The article is a perfect example of not believing everything you read and making sure to question the research behind the conclusion. It discusses research done at Tel-Aviv University which shows that eating 600 calories or more at breakfast and including some sort of treat or dessert in our morning meal can help people to lose weight. The research says that the reason for this is threefold. Firstly, our metabolism is at its highest in the morning so eating more calories at this time of day means that we can burn them off quicker. Secondly, eating a good sized breakfast can help to supress the hormone ghrelin, a hormone responsible for our hunger. Thirdly, including something sweet can help to reduce the cravings for sweeter foods later on in the day as depriving ourselves of something we desire to eat can lead to an addiction to it.
Fair enough. But, does this research support the headline's bold claim? No, it does not!
Reading further into the article, the spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association they talked to explains that while the research does have some scientific basis, the kind of balanced 600 calorie breakfast we should be having is something like wholewheat toast with scrambled eggs (try adding some spring onion and tomato to make it more exciting) with a few squares of chocolate (and preferably dark chocolate) - not quite the slice of chocolate cake the headline would have you believe!
So if we think about what Surinder talks about in her video, we realise that the article was written on World Chocolate Day and this the real reason why the author chose chocolate cake, to pull people in, not because the research actually shows that chocolate cake will help you to lose weight. If you read the full article and follow the link to the research then you would see this for yourself, but if you just glance at the headline and the intro, as many of us do, then you would be mistaken to believe it to be true.
If eating something sweet in the morning can help stave off cravings throughout the day then it might be something to consider for people with a sweet tooth who eat a lot of sugary snacks during the day but stick to two or three squares of good quality dark chocolate, rather than devouring large amounts of chocolate cake!
So it always pays to read the full article, look at the supporting research and apply a critical mind to the health claims made in magazines and newspapers. More often than not the headline is just about grabbing your attention so you have to make sure to read it all before even considering the claims they make. This is just one example from many that I could've chosen to talk about.
The key thing to remember is that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is!