If you love foods high in saturated fats—cheese, butter, eggs, full-fat coconut milk, red meat—it’s best to have them in the morning, according to a new study from Texas A&M University.
That’s because when we eat saturated fats, they circulate in the bloodstream as free fatty acids, which induce inflammation—a condition linked to digestive, metabolic, and immune dysfunction—in fat, muscle, and immune cells. The study showed that this inflammation may be maximized when we consume saturated fats at night, causing our cells’ internal clocks to “jet lag” and triggering metabolic changes that can lead to obesity and diabetes. But there is some good news, say researchers: Unlike saturated fats, poly-unsaturated omega-3 fats have an anti-inflammatory effect and can actually counter any sat-fat-triggered inflammation set in motion earlier in the day. So, if you eat a buttery croissant or egg-and-cheese sandwich in the a.m., opt for omega-3–rich salmon or mackerel for lunch or dinner.