By: David Ross
|Bacon and eggs breakfast|
The first meal after a night's sleep appears to set the metabolism for the rest of the day, according to researchers.
There is an old saying: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper." This may in fact be the best advice to follow to prevent metabolic syndrome, according to a new University of Alabama at Birmingham study.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The study, published online 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. The UAB research revealed that mice fed a high-fat meal after waking up 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.
"Studies have looked at the type and quantity of food intake, but nobody has tested whether the timing of what you eat and when you eat influences body weight, even though we know that sleep influences body weight," said study lead author Molly Bray, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at UAB.
Bray said the research team found that fat intake at the time of waking seems to turn on fat metabolism very efficiently and also turns on the animal's ability to respond to different types of food later in the day. When animals were fed carbohydrates upon waking, carbohydrate metabolism works fine all day when the animal was eating different types of food later in the day.
"The first meal you have appears to program your metabolism for the rest of the day," said lead study author Martin Young, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular
Diseases at UAB. "This study suggests that if we take a carbohydrate-rich breakfast it would promote carbohydrate utilization throughout the rest of the day, whereas, if you have a high fat breakfast, you have metabolic plasticity to transfer your energy utilization between carbohydrate and fats.”
Bray and Young said the implications of this research are important for human dietary recommendations. Humans eat a diet that is rarely uniform throughout the day and the capacity needed to respond to changes in the quality of the diet.