Whoever thought your grandma's big breakfasts could actually be good for you? According to an article in eScienceNews.com, high-fat breakfasts may be the ticket to preventing metabolic syndrome. The article references a study done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that studies the disease, "characterized by abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and other cardiovascular disease risk-factors."
Researchers explored various types of foods, the times that subjects ate them, and these effects on metabolic profiles. The researchers found a trend: the higher the fat content of a subject's breakfast (compared to eating high-fat foods during the rest of the day), the higher the likelihood of a normal metabolic profile. The article mentions that a "more carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning [combined with] a high-fat meal at the end of the day saw increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance and other markers of the metabolic syndrome."
The research does not necessarily point to a buffet of bacon and sausage (which could lead to many health problems in many animal species), but rather is suggesting that we should rethink the timing of our rich meals and the composition of our breakfast menus.
eScienceNews cites lead researcher Dr. Molly Bray, professor of epidemiology at UAB, saying that previous studies have looked at the type of foods we eat, but not the timing of the food and how this affects body weight. "We know sleep and altered circadian rhythms influence body weight," she says, noting that eating fat when we wake up clicks our fat metabolism into high gear and positively affects metabolisms for the rest of the day. If, instead, subjects were fed carbs in the morning, this ignited the carbohydrate metabolism, which "seemed to stay on even when the animal was eating different kinds of food later in the day," Bray says.
It seems, then, that a bowl of cereal may not be the best metabolic choice to break your daily fast. The article reports that fat in the morning helps you metabolize a diverse mixture of foods, including carbohydrates. The UAB study could have strong implications for dietary recommendations, since humans eat such varied diets. The story reports that nutritional recommendations "should include information about the timing of dietary intake" in addition to the quality and quantity of the foods we eat.