High fat breakfast boosts fat burning

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

A high carb breakfast could limit your ability to burn fat, research suggests
A high carb breakfast could limit your ability to burn fat, research suggests
A high fat breakfast can help burn fat at a higher rate for a 24-hour period, new research suggests.

A new study, ‘A High-Fat Compared with a High-Carbohydrate Breakfast Enhances 24-Hour Fat Oxidation in Older Adults’​ published in The Journal of Nutrition​, has investigated whether the timing of macronutrient intake in humans affects daily fuel utilisation. The researchers aimed to examine the associations between fuel utilisation and metabolic indexes.

This is important because the ability to oxidize fat is associated with a lower risk of chronic metabolic disease. The impairment of fat oxidation is associated with weight gain and insulin resistance.

The researchers noted that pre-clinical data in mice has already demonstrated that a high fat breakfast increased 24-hour fat oxidation relative to a morning meal high in carbohydrates.


The study took 29 healthy sedentary men and women between the ages of 55- and 75-years-old, with a body mass index of between 25 and 35. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a high-fat breakfast (35% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 45% fat) or a high-carbohydrate breakfast (60% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 20% fat) for a four week period. During this time, the participants consumed a “neutral​” lunch and dinner.

Twenty-four-hour and postprandial respiratory quotients were measured by whole-room indirect calorimetry. Insulin and glucose measures including insulin sensitivity were determined by an oral-glucose-tolerance test. Measures were taken at baseline and after the four week intervention.


The macronutrient composition of breakfast affects substrate utilization throughout the day in older adults, the researchers concluded.

The consumption of a high-fat, lower-carbohydrate breakfast may reduce the risk of metabolic disease, they added.

The data from this investigation provide[s] evidence that a high-fat breakfast results in higher fat oxidation over the next 24 hours.

“When analysing the contribution of macro-nutrient composition to health outcomes, it is well recognised 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 two 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.”

Source: The Journal of Nutrition

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxx040

‘A High-Fat Breakfast Enhances 24-Hour Fat Oxidation in Older Adults’

Authors: Nikki C Bush, Holly ES Resuehr, Laura Lee Goree, Julie L Locher, Molly S Bray, Taraneh Soleymani, Barbara A Gower

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