Good for you: This high fat breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and beans could actually help prevent metabolic syndrome, according to a new study.
Bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding... if that's what you had for breakfast, scientists say you've chosen the healthiest way to start your day.
No, seriously. Hot on the heels of yesterday's chocolate-is-good-for-you findings, researchers say a full English breakfast is better for the heart, waistline and blood pressure than carbohydrate-rich cereals, breads and pastries.
It is thought that a fried breakfast sets up the metabolism for the rest of the day, making it easier to burn off other meals and snacks.
Cereal, however, appears mainly to prime the body to break down only carbohydrates, the International Journal of Obesity reports.
The U.S. researchers advocate a big, fatty breakfast for optimum health, followed by a smaller lunch and a light evening meal.
Indeed, the old saying - 'eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper' - may be the key to a healthy body and mind.
Their study looked at the effects of eating different types of food - and of eating them at different times in the day.
Mice fed a high fat meal after waking remained healthy, but those given a carb-rich breakfast, followed by a fatty dinner, did not fare as well.
They put on weight and had trouble processing sugar, raising their risk of diabetes.
Blood tests also flagged up other problems that raised their risk of heart disease and strokes.
Dr Martin Young, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: 'The first meal you have appears to programme your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Enlarge 'This study suggests that if you ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast it would promote carbohydrate utilisation throughout the rest of the day, whereas if you have a fat-rich breakfast, you (can) transfer your energy utilisation between carbohydrate and fat.'
Co-researcher Professor Molly Bray added: 'Studies have looked at the type and quantity of food intake, but nobody has undertaken the question of whether the timing of what you eat and when you eat it influences body weight.'
With most people eating a wide variety of foods throughout the day, the findings have a clear implication for the human diet.
Professor Bray added: 'Our study seems to show that if you really want to be able to efficiently respond to mixed meals across a day, a meal in higher fat content in the morning is a good thing.'
The research is not the first to confirm the importance of a big breakfast.
A South American study found that women who ate half of their daily calories first thing lost more weight in the long-term than those who ate a small breakfast.
In contrast to the U.S. study, it said eating carbs for breakfast was beneficial, with a sweet treat, such as chocolate, cutting sugar cravings later in the day.