Dec 20, 2013

Holidays and Weight Gain

Postprandial weight gain is especially troublesome during the holidays. In the immediate short term any food and drink that you put into your body will make you exactly that much heavier. Eat a pound of chocolate and you add one pound to your mass, until your body starts to excrete the food or use it for energy.

That gain begins to decrease almost as soon as it begins. The time it takes for food to pass through the digestive tract varies widely. Overall, the journey of a meal takes between 20 and 56 hours. Once it is metabolized and excreted, only excess calories converted to fat remain. If you ate a very salty meal, you tend to retain water, and a greater proportion of the weight temporarily remains. How much remains long term depends on the energy content of the food consumed as excess calories are converted into fat to be used for energy in the future.

In a recent study, a team of Israeli scientists tested different diets on almost 200 obese adults. One group consumed a greater proportion of their calories at breakfast and lost significantly more weight, on average, than the others in the study.

The bottom line is, the net weight gain associated with any one meal will be very small. However, a prolonged series of excess eating can accumulate to have a significant, long-term effect. A few overindulgent meals for the holidays are not a problem, the problem is the three overindulgent meals a day over a long period of time. Just as it takes time to reduce weight, it takes time to gain lasting weight, so enjoy the Holidays.