In Defence of the 3,000 Calorie Breakfast

Well, not really. In the Times of London, Giles Cohen attacks the Brits' "national dish": its 3,000 calorie breakfast featuring eggs, various sorts of meat, and all sorts of grease:

We're drunk, we're underslept, we smell, we can't walk straight, it hurts to talk and all we want is something to make the blood rush to our stomach, and away from our brains.

He means this as a bad thing. Read "Why the Great English Breakfast is a Killer."

Hat tip: Alan Vanneman.

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  • ||

    Something like a "Fry-up" used to be my father's favorite dish. Bacon, sausage, eggs and english muffins all cooked together in a pan until it was almost black then covered in salt and pepper.

    It's amazing that he is still alive, he is under doctor's orders not to eat like that anymore.

  • Episiarch||

    You see, it's complex (or "slow-release") carbohydrates you want in the morning. They keep you going till lunchtime, don't set off crazy blood-sugar "spikes", and lay down no fat.

    Oh my, when I got here it cemented the obvious fact that this guy is a moron.

    Carbohydrates are exactly what sets off blood sugar spikes. How is this guy taken seriously?

    If I have a carb breakfast I'm starving in 2 hours. If I have protein and some fat I'm good until lunch.

    People like this guy are beyond stupid. Let's see: 4 pieces of bacon are approximately...150-200 calories. 2 eggs...150. Together, that's 300-350 calories.

    A stack of pancakes with syrup? 600-1000 calories, depending on size.

    I'll take my bacon and eggs, thanks. Keep the carbs.

  • Abdul||

    It is no inevitable for some nerd to reference Python's spam sketch.

  • Abdul||

    D'oh.

    no = now.

  • JimmyChanga||

    Abdul | April 21, 2008, 10:04am |
    It is no(w) inevitable for some nerd to reference Python's spam sketch.



    Yes. That would be you.

  • ||

    National Health Service. It's everyone's business what you eat now.

  • ||

    You know, now that I have described the meal that nearly killed my father, I am starting to get really hungry.

    Everything mixed together in a bucket please.

  • Bronwyn||

    The best part of any English breakfast (imho) is the fried toast. Ooh! And the grilled tomato!

    Follow that up with a Cornish pastie for lunch, scones and clotted cream at tea-time, and Beef Wellington for supper.

    And don't forget the beer!



    Oh, I miss England! Well, the non-nanny bits, anyway.

  • Episiarch||

    More abject stupidity:

    If anything proves the dunderheaded wrongness of the fried British breakfast it's the fact that we crave one most when we've got a hangover. Sure, the fat and salt will exacerbate the dehydration that is causing the problem

    A side product of fat metabolism is...water. This is why a fatty breakfast is good for a hangover. Also, when you piss a lot while drinking you are losing salts. Restoring them also helps.

  • Bingo||

    Epi: Or a 3 egg omelette with ham and peppers and onions, yum! Usually about 400 calories and full of good stuff. Pancakes are only good if you plan on running a marathon in the next 6 hours.

  • ||

    Oh my, when I got here it cemented the obvious fact that this guy is a moron.

    Carbohydrates are exactly what sets off blood sugar spikes. How is this guy taken seriously?


    No, he's not a moron. Simple carbohydrates set off sugar spikes. Complex carbohydrates do not.

    Carbohydrates, Sugar, and Your Child

  • Episiarch||

    MP (from your link):

    The carbohydrates in some foods (mostly those that contain simple sugars and highly refined grains, such as white flour and white rice) are easily broken down and cause your child's blood sugar level to rise quickly.

    Most bread is made from...highly refined white grains. As is pasta. As are pancakes.

    On top of it, there are complex carbohydrates--real ones--in the article's breakfast in the form of beans, yet this idiot still puts them down as bad.

    The writer is a grade-A nimrod.

  • ||

    Oh, I miss England! Well, the non-nanny bits, anyway.

    English nannies are hot. I'd miss them.

  • ||

    Has anyone tried that egg/bacon/hashbrown/smoky cheese sauce wrap at Burger King yet? I thought about endulging on the way to work one morning.

  • ||

    Any culture that takes the scotch egg seriously has its priorities in order.

  • ||

    Mmmmmmmm... bacon.

    CB

  • ||

    in the article's breakfast in the form of beans

    Although beans themselves are a good product, baked beans are not simply "beans". As produced for Britain, they are extremely high in salt. American baked beans also have a lot of added sugar. And besides, the immune biologist quoted in the article was clearly distinguishing between beans and "tinned baked beans".

    "Porridge, water, a little salt", as the article's author points out, is a fine, filling breakfast. A heck of a lot better than the standard British heart clogger.

  • Episiarch||

    "Porridge, water, a little salt", as the article's author points out, is a fine, filling breakfast.

    Umm...no, not for everyone. If I have that I will be starving in no time. You see, different people have different genetics. Attempting to advise people about nutrition and then using one guideline for all is idiotic.

    Why can't people eat what they want for breakfast, rather than what you or this writer think they should eat?

  • ||

    How does the typical English breackfast compare nutritionally with Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs?

  • Bingo||

    Thought it looked pretty good sage, although anything with "cheese" sauce makes me a little leery. Has anyone else noticed the trend to make everything into a wrap? It appears, with the sandwichification of menus nearly complete, that the wrap is the new trend for fast food.

  • ||

    Episiarch,
    you are kind of right and kind of wrong. Yes, some people have unique genetics that change the change the way they metabolize complex carbohydrates, but for most people, a complex carbohydrate will be digested more slowly and therefore not cause the insulin response that straight glucose, fructose, or sucrose will.
    BUT
    In another shockingly confusing complex twist, sometimes the insulin sugar response is a great thing, because insulin shuttles nutrients like amino acids to muscle tissue. Hence bodybuilders buying black market insulin to shoot after a post-workout meal.

  • ||

    Why can't people eat what they want for breakfast, rather than what you or this writer think they should eat?

    Because uneducated food selection more often than not a recipe for long term health issues. For the average person, a 3,000 calorie breakfast low in complex carbs is a terrible choice. A 500-1,000 calorie breakfast high in complex carbs with low to moderate amounts of fat and protein is an excellent choice for the average person.

    The problem is of course that few people are interested in educating themselves about food choices. And determining an individual's optimal diet isn't easy. Even trying to figure out the right overall calorie intake can be a challenge. And then, of course, there's changing mindsets to move from eating a few large meals to multiple small meals. There's a lot of work involved in eating right, and most aren't interested in making the effort.

    Of course, one can also ignore the science of nutrition and call everyone who is contrary to their position an idiot without providing any supporting evidence.

  • Episiarch||

    So are you going to force people to eat the way you think they should? Are you going to force them to become "educated" about food selection?

    On top of all that, the idea that you know the end all and be all of proper eating is flat-out laughable. "Science of nutrition"? Please. It's a guessing game with contrary information coming out every week. Fats bad? Good? Wine bad? Good? Coffee bad? Good? Carbs bad? Good?

    I assume you change your mind as soon as the next article comes out.

  • ||

    So are you going to force people to eat the way you think they should? Are you going to force them to become "educated" about food selection?

    Yeah, my posts have been littered with "Fat Tax" advocations and calls for legislation.

    Believe it or not, one can debate the merits of nutrition analysis without believing that those in disagreement need to be forced to concur.

    And if you want to play the skeptics role, go ahead. Just stop sitting on your all knowing high horse while being completely unable to present supporting evidence, resorting to simple "contrary information coming out every week" useless rhetoric and calling everyone else an idiot.

  • Episiarch||

    Well, MP, I never called you an idiot--just the writer--so spare me the repeated "call everyone an idiot" smears.

    1. A complex-carb-rich diet works for some people. For many it does not. The popularity and success of the Atkins diet is an indicator of this. (For the record, I do not subscribe to that diet or do it myself.) So please stop acting like your link to a "feed your kids right" website is "supporting evidence".

    2. So the fact that researchers are endlessly contradicting each other's findings is irrelevant? What do you believe? Do you believe a study until it is contradicted? Do you believe something else? I'm honestly curious, because you either believe what the latest studies say or you are also a "skeptic".

  • ||

    A complex-carb-rich diet works for some people.

    He's not calling for a complex-carb-rich diet. He's calling for a complex-carb-rich breakfast. A world of difference.

    So the fact that researchers are endlessly contradicting each other's findings is irrelevant? What do you believe?

    I believe that there's indisputable evidence that a calorie intake too high for an individual will lead to weight gain. I believe that excess weight gain will almost certain lead to poor health conditions (the problem currently is in defining excess). And I believe that there is incredibly strong evidence that there is a time and place for complex carbs and a time and place for simple carbs.

    And I believe that nothing in the article contradicts any of those beliefs.

    And I believe that you've presented nothing, not even the most minute argument, to make me believe otherwise.

  • Episiarch||

    Seeing as I didn't talk--at all--about obesity or related poor health conditions, you seem to be arguing with the Episiarch in your head.

    I will reiterate what I said in my first post: some bacon and eggs is less calories than an average carb breakfast of oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, etc.

    So you say:

    I believe that there's indisputable evidence that a calorie intake too high for an individual will lead to weight gain.

    So bacon and eggs is therefore better, right?

  • Rhywun||

    And I believe that nothing in the article contradicts any of those beliefs.

    Do you believe the breakfast described in the article is "3000 calories"? I don't. Nor do I believe anything more than a tiny fraction of people actually eat like this every day. For starters, it's bloody expensive.

  • ||

    The Brits and their tabloid nanny-journalism are a little much. I once read an article that made it sound like Eminem was dying because of his addiction, not to drugs, but to "fatty steaks and takeout."

    I'll eat fatty steaks all day long over porridge and blood pudding.

  • ||

    I will reiterate what I said in my first post: some bacon and eggs is less calories than an average carb breakfast of oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, etc.

    And in your first post you were also arguing with the article writer in your head. How does advocating a breakfast of porridge (as the article's author does) equate to a pancake stack with syrup? It doesn't. You make a false comparison to start with by creating simple carb based breakfasts, which is quite clearly not what the author is advocating, and comparing them to a breakfast of 2 eggs and 4 strips of bacon, which is also not what the author is railing on. Breakfasts loaded with simple carbs are not good. No one is saying they are.

    The author points to one specific breakfast:

    two rashers of crisp backbacon, British outdoor-reared pork sausage, two griddled eggs, whole-cup mushrooms, crispy sauté potatoes, fresh griddled tomato, Heinz baked beans and toasted or fried extra-thick bloomer bread

    And yes, I do believe Rhywun that this can be a 3,000 calorie breakfast. As for if £7.25 is expensive, I'll leave that to you to tell me.

  • Arho||

    hehe I sat down having a salad for dinner, having read this I guess the salad has just become an appetizer for a more substantial meal.

    Anyway, I guess the article is some sort of weird British humor, given there's a list of the best places for a fry-up at the end.

  • An adam||

    They can have my spotted dick when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  • ||

    I guess when an ordinary London hotel charges you like $400 per night, they have to make the free "full English breakfast" see like getting your money's worth. Whatever happended to the trimmed cucumber sandwiches?

  • ||

    I had a banana and two pieces of whole wheat toast for breakfast. It was three hundred calories. If I had eaten three scrambled eggs for breakfast it would have been about the same. Maybe it's not what you eat for breakfast, but the amount you eat that determines how much of a fat ass you are. Or maybe it's just genetics. All I know is that nobody better take away my greasy fried food. Because I love me some greasy fried food (in moderation).

  • Rhywun||

    As for if £7.25 is expensive, I'll leave that to you to tell me.

    It's over $14. So yes, I don't think very many people are spending that much on breakfast every day. Because the only way such a diet is harmful is if you eat it every day.

    In any event, I believe that only I and my loved ones have any say whatsoever in how I choose to feed myself. If I forgo a couple crappy end-of-life years in order to enjoy tasty breakfasts, that's my right.

  • ||

    I found this bit from the article over the top:

    You never see a person with a degree eating a fry-up, do you? Certainly not someone with a 2:1 or better in a humanities subject from a university founded before the invention of the iPod. That's because they are smart enough to know better.

    Unfortunately, my PhD from Cornell University is in mathematics, not the humanities, so I'm not smart enough to never have a full breakfast.

    In my experience, most Brits don't eat a full breakfast everyday any more than most Americans do. It's a Sunday thing, or a "spent the night at a hotel/B&B" thing. (I'm also kind of amused at the suggestions that somehow the pancakes and hash browns in an American full breakfast would be amazingly more healthful than the tomatoes, baked bean, and mushrooms in an English one, but there you go.)

  • Episiarch||

    The author points to one specific breakfast

    And then he goes on to criticize every individual part of the meal, even parts that conform to his requirements. The beans, though complex carbs, are canned, so they're bad. I guess the same applies to the mushrooms and tomato.

    He wanted to whine about the proles' breakfast, not make a substantive point. I feel oh so very bad for calling him on it.

  • Episiarch||

    Hey Rhywun, this is for you:

    SELECT PRICE_BUCKET, ROUND(SUM(EXTENDED_PRICE * (QUANTITY / ABS(QUANTITY))), 2) AS TOTAL_PRICE, SUM(CAST(QUANTITY AS INTEGER)) AS QUANTITY, ROUND(25.14 - PRICE_BUCKET, 2) AS ALLOW, ROUND((25.14 - PRICE_BUCKET) * SUM(CAST(QUANTITY AS INTEGER)), 2) AS BILLBACK FROM R37MODSDTA.V_BILLBACK_RA WHERE (ITEM_DIVISION = 'EA') AND (QUANTITY < 0) AND PRICE_BUCKET < 25.14 And INVOICE_DATE = 20080419 AND LEFT(CUST_SHIP_NO, 6) NOT IN ('592000', '592005', '628500', '926255', '926259') AND TRANS_TYPE IN ('R', 'S') GROUP BY PRICE_BUCKET, ITEM_DIVISION ORDER BY ITEM_DIVISION, PRICE_BUCKET

  • Rhywun||

    What's "R37MODSDTA"? God damn I hate SQL, BTW. CAN YOU FIGURE OUT WHY?

  • Episiarch||

    It's a library name on an IBM AS400. Same as saying "Northwind.Employees" in Access or SQL Server.

    And I aliased all the field names to make them readable--you should see the originals. "J6PL01" is an unacceptable field name in my opinion but I didn't design this table.

  • Another Phil||

    At least put some line breaks in your SQL so the ADD'ers among us can follow, please. Otherwise, I'll have to force feed you porridge like a fois gras goose.

  • Rhywun||

    I find ALL_CAPS_AND_UNDERSCORES equally offensive. There is no reason for it other than territorial DBAs wanting their shit to look all database-y.

  • Episiarch||

    It's code-generated; no line breaks. I do wish I could work with SQL Server, though. The AS400 is super stable and quite powerful but their GUI tools suck, suck, suck.

  • ||

    two rashers of crisp backbacon, British outdoor-reared pork sausage, two griddled eggs, whole-cup mushrooms, crispy sauté potatoes, fresh griddled tomato, Heinz baked beans and toasted or fried extra-thick bloomer bread

    Damn. Now I am hungry. Although I'd probably pass on the mushrooms. And only two eggs? Lightweights.

  • ||

    Eating a huge breakfast like that every day is bad news for your health unless you're doing heavy manual labor every day.

    Every now and then having a fry-up with friends, though -- live a little, yeah?

  • NoStar||

    My full breakfast is Eggs Benedict, hashbrowns fried crispy brown if you please, bacon, coffee, and a large Orange juice.

    The acid in the OJ helps cut the grease.

    You'll not convince me that ain't healthy.

    I make it with real hollandaise sauce too and I fry the hashbrowns in bacon grease.

  • GILMORE||

    We're drunk, we're underslept, we smell, we can't walk straight, it hurts to talk and all we want is ...

    Hey, that seems familiar.

    The end of the sentence for me though is, "a cold beer for breakfast, and a later a bagel & butter to settle the stomach".

    I worked for the brits for 10yrs. I was in london for a while and taught the local luncheonette (they dont know what the fuck a 'diner' is in europe) to make me bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches for breakfast, and years later I returned, and they'd put it on the menu and renamed it "the New Yorker".

    I am proud i have left some small legacy

    Secondly, my grandparents ate shit that made british breakfast look like vegan soy wheatgrass yoga diet food. They lived into their mid 90s.

  • Rhywun||

    I make it with real hollandaise sauce too

    Nice. I was just looking for that stuff in the crappy market near me in Brooklyn but couldn't find it. I happened to have some Caesar salad dressing--that's... sort of similar.

  • ||

    You eat that fried breakfast and you will leach calcium from your bones out through your urine.

    Our bodies can't handle animal proteins, there is just too much of it. We need at most 30g of protein a day but if the protein comes from meats you will lose calcium through your urine.

    From an English breakfast there must be at least 100g of protein there. Our bodies can't store protein like it can store fat and carbs. The excess protein goes direct to the kidneys and it is urinated out along with calcium. And taking 1500mg of calcium won't solve the calcium leaching problem.

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