From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published March 31, 2010 10:55 AM

High Fat Breakfasts May Not Be So Bad

For all of you who enjoy syrupy pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage for breakfast; for all who crave omelets and pork-roll, egg and cheese sandwiches; for all who relish the breakfast of champions, there is some great news coming your way. According to a new study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, eating a high fat breakfast is healthier than you think!


Metabolic syndrome, the technical term for abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and other cardiovascular disease-risk factors, may actually be prevented from eating a high fat breakfast in the morning.

The study, titled "Time-of-day-dependent dietary fat consumption influences multiple cardiometabolic syndrome parameters in mice," published in the International Journal of Obesity on March 30th may prove the old adage to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

"Studies have looked at the type and quantity of food intake," says the study's lead author Molly Bray, Ph.D., "but nobody has undertaken the question of whether the timing of what you eat and when you eat it influences body weight."

Bray believes her research team has found that fat intake just after waking seems to make fat metabolism much more efficient, and increases the body’s ability to respond to different types of food later in the day. Therefore, your first meal determines your metabolism for the rest of the day.

Using mice subjects, the team revealed that when the mice are fed a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, carbohydrate metabolism was turned up and seemed to stay at that level throughout the day, no matter what the mice were fed later on. On the other hand, the consequences of a fat-rich breakfast is increased "metabolic plasticity to transfer your energy utilization between carbohydrate and fat," according to the study's senior author, Martin Young, Ph.D. Since the human diet is so varied throughout the day, this flexibility becomes a significant advantage.

However, before jumping for joy over this new bacon-loving freedom, it is important to note that this metabolic advantage only works in conjunction with low-caloric intake later in the day. Only through the combination of the two can health benefits be seen. A high fat/carbohydrate meal at the end of the day would lead to weight gain and other obesity-related problems, no matter what was eaten for breakfast.

The study concludes by stating that the time of day at which fat or carbohydrates are consumed significantly impacts the efficiency of the metabolic system. Therefore, the largest meal is better at the beginning rather than the end.

University of Alabama link: 

International Journal of Obesity link:

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