How can one possibly eat clean through the holidays? It is a question that has been asked every year while buying a pair of pants a size bigger in anticipation. Common weight gaining and food myths swirl around the holiday season like nagging gnats you cannot quite swat away. Unfortunately the majority of those who hear these myths fall victim to them, being consumed by the unavoidable doom of the holiday hangover hanging by their waistline. Here are some myths and facts about holiday eating and nutrition.
The myth: Expect to gain 5-7 pounds from the holiday parties and customs.
The reality: While it is very possible to put on close to 10 pounds, the average weight gain is just shy of one pound. A great way to avoid any gain is by eating the nutritious food that is present in moderation (sweet potatoes, fruit, turkey) and by trying to get some extra exercise in to account for the extra calories.
The myth: Turkey will put you to sleep.
The reality: L-tryptophan has been linked to inducing a sleepy feeling but for it to have this effect it would need to be eaten pure, on an empty stomach. The other contents that come in turkey and the meal as a whole inhibit this amino acid from producing this effect. What causes the sleepiness is the overeating, along with the amount of energy it takes to digest the contents of one’s stomach. An effective way to avoid the post-meal sleepiness is to eat normal meals prior to the holiday feast, it will help curb overeating by inhibiting a ravenous appetite.
The myth: We are helpless to the temptation of the festivities and great cooks.
The reality: It is not the food itself that drives us to eat more it is being surrounded by loved ones that leads us to consume up to 44% more than normal (Penn State study). They report that due to the socializing of festive parties, it is easier to lose track of what and how much one will eat over the course of a night.
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