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Goodbye Cereal, Hello Bacon and Eggs

Published: June 25, 2014
Ryan Lowery ’14, M.S.-ENS '15, right, uses the MOXUS metabolic cart to test the metabolic condition.
Ryan Lowery ’14, M.S.-ENS '15, right, uses the MOXUS metabolic cart to test the metabolic condition.

Is it possible for you to program your body at breakfast to burn fat throughout the day?

Researchers in The University of Tampa’s Human Performance Lab are hypothesizing just that.

Jacob Wilson, who oversees the lab that specializes in studying how nutritional supplements impact training, and Ryan Lowery ’14, a recent alumnus and graduate student in UT’s Master of Science in exercise and nutrition science, are using a new, $60,000 MOXUS metabolic cart to test their theory.

“Our lab’s specialty is studying how to optimize body composition,” Lowery said.

The preliminary study is being conducted this summer, and Wilson and Lowery presented their findings at last weekend’s International Society of Sports Nutrition national conference.

The researchers looked at five test subjects, feeding them three meals a day — about 2,400 calories at the ratio of 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat and 25 percent protein — over four days, hunkered down in the lab. They looked at the metabolic condition (like percent of carbohydrates and fat used, fat, basal metabolic rate and total caloric expenditure) when starting out the day with several scenarios including the following:

  • Fasting
  • Eating a low carbohydrate/high fat breakfast, like eggs and bacon
  • Eating a moderate carbohydrate/moderate fat breakfast, like egg whites and peanut butter
  • Eating a high carbohydrate/low fat breakfast, like cereal and milk

A similar study was done using animal subjects at the University of Alabama. This is the first time this type of focus on nutrient programming has been tested, and UT is one of the few (the Gatorade Sport Science Institute has one), if not the only university in Florida, to have the MOXUS cart, which uses a full hood rather than a mask to capture data, giving a more accurate reading and providing a more natural, relaxed atmosphere for the test subjects.

“Our hypothesis is that if you eat a high fat, low carb breakfast, you program your body to burn and use fat throughout the day,” Lowery said.

This is just one type of test for which the researchers can use the metabolic cart. Wilson, assistant professor of health sciences and human performance, said he is already receiving calls from companies eager to do supplement testing with UT’s lab in the fall.

“We can test a vast number of variations in a 24-hour period and see what is optimal over time,” Wilson said.

For students in the master’s program, this research brings the textbook to life.

“A lot of the stuff we talk about in the graduate program is focused on body composition and how to augment your physique,” Lowery said. “This research is a complete application of that.”


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