Christmas weight gain can persist for months

Christmas weight gain can persist for months

Christmas Day has arrived - a time to eat, drink, and be merry! But be careful not to overindulge too much; up to half of any weight gained over the holidays is likely to loiter well into 2017.

A recent study of nearly 3,000 adults from across three countries found that in the 10 days after Christmas, there was up to a 0.6 percent increase in weight gain, compared with the 10 days before Christmas.

In the United States, adults gained an average of 0.6 kilograms in the period between Christmas and New Year.

Furthermore, the researchers found that by the following summer, participants had only lost around half of the weight gained over the holidays.

Study co-author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and colleagues published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It is perhaps no surprise that the festive season can lead to weight gain. According to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the United Kingdom, Christmas Day gorging is likely to clock up around 6,000 calories - almost three times the recommended daily calorie intake.

Furthermore, these calories can be hard to burn. The RSPH note that it takes 44 minutes to walk off a large glass of mulled wine, while burning off the calories from Christmas dinner would take 1 hour and 40 minutes of running.

Based on their findings, Wansink and team say that while healthcare professionals should advise patients to employ greater self-control over Christmas, it may be more beneficial to warn them of the persistent weight gain due to holiday calories.

"[...] it might be better to advise patients that although up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, half the weight gain appears to remain until the summer months or beyond," say the authors. "Of course, the less one gains, the less one then has to worry about trying to lose it."

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