There is nothing worse than articles at this time of year telling you to stick to ‘just one glass of wine’ or to forgo brandy butter on your Christmas pudding. Bah, humbug or what?! But research published this week suggests that as long as you stay active, you can eat, drink and be merry over the festive period without dire consequences to your health.
In the study, from the University of Bath, all the volunteer subjects overate for a week. The first group increased their calorie intake by 50 per cent and remained completely inactive, while the second group consumed 75 per cent more calories, but ran on a treadmill for 45 minutes each day.
By the end of the week, the inactive group showed an unhealthy decline in their blood sugar control and activation of genes within their fat cells associated with metabolic disturbances. Meanwhile, the calorie-cramming exercise group displayed stable blood sugar levels and no alterations in the expression of these fat cell genes.
Both groups gained weight as a result of the vastly-increased energy intake – but the study shows that maintaining some physical activity during this period of excess can help protect you from the detrimental effects of overeating on your long-term health. And, of course, from the detrimental effects of watching too many old and boring re-runs on TV or murdering recalcitrant relatives!