Study under review: Avoiding holiday seasonal weight gain with nutrient-supported intermittent energy restriction: a pilot study.
The average adult gains between 0.5 to 1.0 kilograms per year. This can lead to weight accumulation and obesity over the course of many years. There has been some research that suggests that the majority of this weight gain occurs during the traditional holiday season between the months of November and December. For example, roughly 0.4 kilograms of weight gain have been observed between mid-November to early January. Another study showed a 0.6 kilogram increase during the weeklong period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. As you can see in Figure 1, this weight gain occurs roughly in the same time frame in both the U.S. and Germany, with Japan’s frame for weight gain shifted to after New Year’s Day. Furthermore, this holiday weight gain is not lost in the subsequent spring and summer months. As such, finding ways to mitigate holiday weight gain may be an important aspect of reducing weight gain in an individual’s life, and thus, reducing their overall risk of obesity.
One potential solution for the prevention of weight gain during the holiday period is the use of intermittent energy restriction (IER), defined as short periods of eating significantly below energy requirements, interspersed with regular eating periods. This differs from conventional energy restriction during which energy intake is chronically reduced below the amount normally consumed for long periods of time. One popular implementation of IER is known as the “5:2 diet.” This implementation is characterized by substantial caloric reductions for two days a week and normal intake for five days a week. On the two days of reduction, food can be reduced as low as zero to 500 calories per day. This approach has been shown to be an effective tool for weight loss in previous studies.
The present study is a randomized controlled pilot trial designed to evaluate the effects of a modified 5:2 IER nutrition program to prevent weight gain in overweight healthy adults over the winter holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year, compared with a control group following their habitual diet.
Much of the yearly weight gain that occurs in adults occurs during the holiday season. Intermittent energy restriction (IER) has been shown to aid weight loss in previous studies, yet it has not been investigated as a tool to prevent holiday weight gain. The present study is a randomized controlled pilot trial designed to evaluate the effects of an IER nutrition program to prevent weight gain in overweight healthy adults over the holiday period.
Other Articles in Issue #56 (June 2019)
NERD Mini: Early nutritional interventions for atopic disease prevention in infants and children
In this NERD Mini, we summarize the main takeaways from a recent update to the American Academy of Pediatric’s report on dietary interventions that can help prevent atopic diseases.
Early vs. late time-restricted feeding: is when we break the fast important for metabolic health?
Intermittent fasting is one method that may help prevent people at risk for diabetes from developing the disease. This study explored whether the time of the eating window mattered for at-risk men.
Gluten-free menu items often not so gluten-free
Eating out can be hard for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free labels on menus can help somewhat, but only if they're reliable.
Keto diets: Are their metabolic effects only due to caloric restriction?
This study follows up on a carefully controlled study we covered back in NERD #22, Volume 2. Its goal was to explore whether keto diets' metabolic effects can be teased out from their effects on bodyweight.
Can restless legs be ‘ironed out’?
People with iron deficiency have a higher risk of restless leg syndrome. This meta-analysis found that iron supplementation can have a clinically meaningful impact on symptoms.
Will red meat increase your risk of heart disease?
We've previously covered evidence suggesting that red meat isn't as heart-harmful as once thought. This meta-analysis goes a step further by comparing red meat's effects to other dietary components.
NERD Mini: The state of the evidence for caffeine’s effect on exercise performance
There's little doubt that caffeine boosts athletic performance. The question is: does it boost certain kinds of performance better than others?