If you think that you can shake off the overindulgence you make while on vacation, think twice. According to a recent study done in Sweden at the Linkoping University any change in your eating behavior that leads to weight gain could make any future weight loss nightmare.
In the study were involved 18 participants, with an average age of 26. 12 of them were male and 6 were female. All of them were put on a sedentary lifestyle and given lots and lots of fast-food for 1 full month.
On average each participant of the study ate 5,750 calories daily, mainly form fast food. They were also forbidden to walk more than 5000 paces each day. 5000 steps are what is considered the upper limit of a sedentary lifestyle. Anybody walking less than 5000 steps per day are considered sedentary, or couch potatoes.
In one month, on average, each participant in the study gained 14 pounds. Their fat mass went up from 20% to 24%.
After the fattening up month was over all the participant reverted to their old lifestyle and eating habits. In 6 months all of the participants had lost more than 10 pounds. After a whole year had passed after the splurge the researchers were amazed to discover that about 3 pounds of fat were still present.
It seems that the 3 pounds of fat loved their new owners so much that they just wouldn’t leave. After 2 and a half years, the situation was even more dire. The participants in the study gained 7 pounds of stubborn fat.
Besides the test subjects that participated in the month long fiesta, the researchers also formed a control group that was instructed to carry on with their normal life like nothing had happened. 2 and a half years after the study started, the control group had maintained its original weight without any change.
By analyzing the data recorded during the study the researchers concluded that gaining weight, even for a short period of time is very dangerous because it leads to a change in the body composition. Basically your body starts to think it is normal to be fat and tends to keep excess supplies of fat distributed around it.
The study co-author Dr. Torbjorn Lindstrom said A short period of [over-eating] can have later long-term effects. Based on this, it can be recommended to avoid very high food-intake that might occur during shorter periods in normal life."
Unfortunately the researchers could not come to a conclusion that takes into consideration the age of the participants. According to Asa Ernersson, the study author, "Of, course there is a possibility that age has an important role for losing body weight gained after a short term period of overindulgence," he said. "But from this study we cannot draw any such conclusions, since most of the participants were between 20 and 30 years old."
Until more research is done on the long term effects of short term weight gain, you should avoid any unnecessary overeating, especially while on vacation. You will avoid this way to tip the balance in the favor of fat. The best thing you can do is keep your healthy eating habits constantly. If you don’t have good healthy eating habits, get them as soon as possible.