DICKSIES IRISH FRY-UP BEST WAY TO START THE DAY?
‘Two eggs, two rasher, two sausages, two bacon, two puddins’ - one black and white all placed like a tower on top of each other and then wrapped up good and tight. If you’re having some tea the milk’s over there and you’ll find sugar in the bowl. Says she do you want some sauce on that says I, I do in my roll’.
Pat Shortt, a.k.a. ‘Dicksie’, certainly seems to think so, but, apparently, he’s not the only one. Based on a study on mice, researchers have discovered that a fried breakfast could in fact be the healthiest option.
In the study, various groups of mice were fed different sequences of high and low-fat feeds but had the same total calorie intake over 24 hours. The research, which is reportedly one of the few studies to have looked at the effect of meal times, found that eating a fatty meal just after waking was not as bad for the mice as eating a fatty meal before sleeping.
The researchers suggest that, for mice in this study, the first meal of the day appeared to dictate the workings of their metabolism for the rest of the day.
However, Dr Conor McGarry, from the Medina Medical Hall in Fermoy told The Avondhu this week, “We wouldn’t be recommending a huge cholesterol load first thing in the morning. Definitely a good breakfast each day is important, but instead of your fatty foods, I would say a good bowl of cereal, fruit and a glass of orange juice would be a great way to start the day.”
Although caution is needed in drawing firm conclusions for human healthy eating patterns from animal studies, this sort of study supports the plausible theory that fat may be metabolised in mammals in different ways depending on the time of day that it is eaten.
However, before we can claim that a fatty, calorific breakfast is good for the body, the theory needs to be tested in humans.
What were the basic results? The researchers reported that mice fed a high-fat meal at the beginning of the active period were able to retain ‘metabolic flexibility’ in response to dietary challenges, meaning that they were able to adapt their subsequent eating and metabolism to achieve a lower intake of calories.
Mice fed a high-fat meal at the end of the active period had higher total calorie intakes. Consumption of a high-fat meal at the end of the active phase led to increased weight and fat gain, glucose intolerance, and high levels of insulin, fats and leptin, a hormone linked to obesity. This study provides some useful indicators about metabolism that may have some relevance to human diet.
However, it should not be taken as an endorsement that a fry-up is healthy or better for you than a breakfast of cereal or fruit.
LONG TERM IMPLICATIONS
The diets fed to these mice may not equate to the sorts of diet eaten by humans. Using studies in mice to develop theories about human health and biology is an accepted part of early research, but such research needs to be followed by studies in humans, where possible.
There are known long-term health implications, such as cardiovascular problems, associated with eating diets high in fat and saturated fat. While some of the mice on high-fat diets did not gain weight, it does not mean that fry-ups could be considered a healthy option. The researchers suggest that an early low-fat meal switches the body to prefer carbohydrate as an energy source.
However, the low-fat feed given to the mice was very high in simple sugars rather than complex carbohydrates, which may have played a role in altering the mice’s metabolism.
In spite of the long term health implications associated with eating foods high in fat, Pat Shortt, a.k.a. ‘Dicksie’ is happy to continue enjoying his jumbo breakfast roll every morning.
‘Well the years have passed on and my life has changed and now I am a different man. I have lost three stone, I’m doing a line with a girl and we are both vegetarian. My cholesterol is low and my heart is good to go, but in the morning I’d sell my soul to sit in any Statoil forecourt and devour a jumbo breakfast roll’.
Thursday 10th June 7:47pm