There are a seemingly infinite amount of diet and health philosophies. One person swears by cutting out all carbs and taking on a completely ketogenic lifestyle. Another person assures you that carbs are healthy and necessary for maintaining balanced energy levels. Yet another person says that carbs are generally ok but gluten isn't. The point is that the world of wellness can be a confusing and hazy place, and it's been proven yet again by a new study.
The study comes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, though it was published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers set out to discover how eating breakfasts with different nutrient contents affected weight and wellness in various individuals. What they found was surprising, to say the least—eating a high-fat breakfast can actually stimulate the breakdown of fats that are already in the body. I know it sounds like a classic oxymoron, but apparently eating a high-fat breakfast is an effective way to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
But there's a catch. It can't be just any fatty breakfast food. In fact, there's one particular type of breakfast food that researchers recommend eating.
The high-fat breakfast results were compared with those taken from high-carb breakfasts. 29 sedentary men and women, aged 55 to 75, were randomly assigned one of the two. For reference, the high-fat breakfast consisted of 35 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent protein, 45 percent fat. The high-carb breakfast, on the other hand, was composed of 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent protein, 20 percent fat, though it's not specific about what types of foods provided these nutrient percentages. The participants ate their respective breakfasts for four weeks straight while maintaining a "neutral" lunch and dinner.
"The data from this investigation provide evidence that a high-fat breakfast results in higher fat oxidation over the next 24 hours," the study's author wrote. This is important because fat oxidation is the key to achieving weight loss and wellness. As the report reads, "impairment of fat oxidation is associated with weight gain and insulin resistance."
Further than that, high-carb breakfasts could contribute to serious diseases and dysfunctions. "When analyzing the contribution of macronutrient composition to health outcomes, it is well recognized that high-carbohydrate diets have been associated with central obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemias, oxidative stress, and inflammation, factors associated with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. The current research further reinforces the metabolic dysregulations caused by high-carbohydrate diets by demonstrating that consuming such diets for breakfast leads to decreased fat oxidation." In other words, step away from the bagel, people.
This doesn't mean, however, that you can fill up on a buttery, oily breakfast food. The key is to eat healthy fats (key word here is healthy). Think of foods like avocados and eggs. The latter happens to be the breakfast food recommended by the researchers since they're shown to halt hunger signals and increase satiety levels in people trying to lose weight. Plus, for people who aren't vegan, they're quick and easy to make, so why not?
We'll take this as a sign to pick up a carton of eggs on our way home. Whether we make an omelet, a frittata, or any other variation of the breakfast food, we might notice changes in our weight and health if we eat them habitually (researchers say the metabolic effects kick in after the three-day mark). Plus, they have protein and other healthy nutrients to start our day off on the right note.