Do you eat healthy during the week, but fall off the rails and gorge when the weekend comes?
Join the club.
While it may seem like a fair balance for people that simply want to maintain their weight, this five days on-two days off eating regimen can hamper diet quality, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The researchers found study participants took in more calories on weekends than weekdays, and they were less healthy calories, too. Good stuff like yogurt, fruits, dark green veggies, chicken, and nuts were all pushed to the side in favour of alcohol and fatty foods on weekends.
So when calories you consume on the weekend exceed what you take in on weekdays, that’s a net surplus – or, weight gain.
In addition to eroding weight-loss efforts, weekend eating binges can negatively impact healthy bacteria in your gut.
Another study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that cycling on and off junk food was almost as detrimental to the gut microbiome as eating bad food every day. Junk food reduces the microbes needed to metabolize flavonoids, which are micronutrients that help with weight loss and brain health.
If you must let loose on weekends, find other ways besides feasting. Try a new activity – that’ll burn calories and help your weight-loss efforts. If you’re always going for a big brunch on Sundays, go to the gym instead. With the extra time on weekends, there’s no better time to do some healthy cooking, which will dissuade you from gorging on weekends, and make meals during the weekdays more satisfying.
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