April 1, 2010 at 9:54 am , by Julie Bain
Favoring fat over carbs at breakfast may help you avoid cravings later—and maybe even lose weight, says a fascinating new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
It may also prevent metabolic syndrome, that nasty bunch of symptoms including abdominal fat and high cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease. At least it does in mice. But from what I’ve seen in nutritional studies of mice and rats, they behave pretty much like we do when it comes to eating.
HOW IT WORKS
The mice who were fed a higher-fat breakfast pretty much maintained their weight, but the carb-breakfast little guys got fat and developed the signs of metabolic syndrome. The researchers say starting with fat seems to turn on your ability to metabolize fat efficiently and also allows for metabolism of other kinds of foods throughout the day. But starting with carbs seems to turn on your carb metabolism and it just keeps going so you crave more more more. (You know that feeling!)
I’m not a fan of restrictive low-carb diets. While they have been proven to work in the short term, they make you feel sluggish and are almost impossible to maintain in the long run. But this research on the timing of when you eat or don’t eat carbs is a whole new way of thinking about it.
LET’S TRY AN EXPERIMENT
I’ve been craving carbs lately myself, and a few pounds have crept up. So here’s what I’m going to try as my own personal experiment: For one week I will have a relatively high-fat breakfast and no carbs before noon. That’s the only change I’ll make in my habits and will record how it makes me feel, what I crave or don’t crave and how it affects my weight. I’ll report back next Thursday.
WHAT TO EAT
Want to try it with me? One of my favorite low-carb breakfast foods is no-crust quiche. The South Beach diet version is popular, but I adapt it by using real eggs, real cheese and adding diced red bell pepper or mushrooms and sometimes a little diced ham or bacon. Why not, if it works for the mice? You can freeze the mini quiches, then warm up one or two in the microwave each morning.
Who wants to do this with me?
Photo c. Michael Flippo, Fotolia.com
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