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High-Fat Breakfast Reduces Obesity Risk?

No! This is NOT an April Fool joke!

As readers know, I have often blogged about the importance of having breakfast to better manage your weight.

Now, a study in mice, suggests that it is not just important to have breakfast but to also make sure that it is high in fat if you really want to get your metabolism going.

This, at least, was the finding in a study by Molly Bray and colleagues from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, just released online in the International Journal of Obesity.

The study shows that when mice were fed a high-fat meal at the beginning of their active period (breakfast), they were better able to deal with variations in diet composition during the rest of their wake phase than when they were given a high-carbohydrate meal at the beginning of their activity cycle.

Conversely, when they were given the high-fat meal at the end of their active phase (dinner), they gained weight and developed glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and other features of the metabolic syndrome.

Importantly, these changes were independent of daily total or fat-derived calories.

This study adds to the growing evidence that biological rhythms profoundly influence energy homeostasis and that the time at which certain foods are eaten may be as important as the composition of those foods.

Translated to humans, this would mean that it may be better to start the day with a heavy “English breakfast” consisting of fried bacon, eggs, sausage and other high-fat fare, than with the increasingly common “continental” breakfast of bread, cereals, low-fat milk, fruit juice and other “healthy stuff”.

Certainly a most interesting study that would certainly warrant testing in humans.

Perhaps the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, dinner like a pauper“, is right after all.

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. Sure worth a try! I’ve been on a 1500 calorie diet and still can’t lose weight. I KNOW I don’t burn calories, significantly, in the afternoons and evenings. I am sedentary due to an arthritic knee that will be replaced in May. And I am afflicted with glucose intolerance. Thanks again for your interesting and helpful blog, Dr. Sharma

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  2. Warning to Shirley: Just want to make sure you (and other readers) fully understand that this post was on a MOUSE study and that whether or not having a high-fat breakfast actually works as a weight management or weight loss strategy has yet to be studied in humans.


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  3. Fascinating. It seems so counter-intuitive, yet makes sense if you really think about it.

    Dr. Sharma, have you read anything by dietitian Ellyn Satter? Her approach to combating obesity is quite unique and very much based on the biological importance of eating and feeding behaviors. It is especially enlightening with regard to childhood obesity. I’m curious what you would think of her approach.

    Her website is:


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  4. I see the point here but don’t you think suggesting an “English” breakfast with fried bacon, eggs and sausage is going to far (and irresponsible to readers who are seeking advice)? I’m sure the dietitians out there could recommend a healthy high fat breakfast.

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  5. Jane: you are right, the picture of the “English” breakfast was the only part of this post that was a joke!


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