You already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You also know that you are what you eat. So chances are you tend to save greasy bacon-and-eggs breakfast binges for special occasions, opting instead to start your days with some fruit, a cup of yogurt, a bit of cereal and maybe a slice of toast. You’re making the healthy choice by starting your day off with something light and nutritious, right?
Not so fast, say researchers — instead, they’re suggesting that a fried breakfast might be the ideal way to begin your day. A study on lab mice found that the animals who ate a breakfast high in fat were able to break down fat more effectively throughout the day than the ones who started off with a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. They concluded that a morning meal rich in carbohydrates prepares the body only to break down more carbs, whereas eating fat in the morning helped rev the metabolism more effectively.
“The first meal you have appears to program your metabolism for the rest of the day,” explained study author Dr. Martin Young of the University of Alabama. “This study suggests that if you ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast it would promote carbohydrate utilization throughout the rest of the day, whereas if you have a fat-rich breakfast, you (can) transfer your energy utilization between carbohydrate and fat.”
The study also investigated how eating at different times of the day affects weight gain. Interestingly, the ones who had a carb-rich breakfast and a fat-rich dinner were the worst off in terms of health. “Our study seems to show that if you really want to be able to efficiently respond to mixed meals across a day, a meal in higher fat content in the morning is a good thing,” said co-author Molly Bray.
But while a bit of fat in the morning might be a good thing, an all-out calorie binge first thing will probably leave you sluggish for the rest of the day so don’t trade in your morning grapefruit for a pound of bacon just yet. All the same, it can’t hurt to try something new in the morning. Maybe mix up your morning routine with a omelette, poached egg or cottage cheese, and let us know if it hits the spot.