Bacon or Bagels for Breakfast?

Did your grandmother always tell you to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper?  Turns out she may have been right.

According to a new University of Alabama at Birmingham study, starting the day by eating fat may be the best way to prevent metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease-risk factors.

The study, just published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined the influence exerted by the type of foods and specific timing of intake on the development of metabolic syndrome characteristics in mice. Those fed a meal higher in fat after waking had normal metabolic profiles.  In contrast, mice that ate a more carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning and consumed 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 first meal you have appears to program your metabolism for the rest of the day,” said study senior author Martin Young, Ph.D.  “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 have metabolic plasticity to transfer your energy utilization between carbohydrate and fat.”

What does this mean for human dietary recommendations?

Word on Health cautions that further research is needed to see if the findings are similar between rodents and humans, before we start filling up with bacon and butter in the morning!