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Worried that your holiday food spread will damage your diet? A small study from the University of Bath found that working out 45 minutes a day leading up to the holidays can help counteract some of the effects of overeating.

Researchers studied 26 healthy young men who were asked to overeat. One group was instructed to remain inactive, while the other group was asked to exercise 45 minutes per day. Calorie intake increased by 50 percent for the non-active group and 75 percent for the active group so they had the same net daily calorie intake. 

After a week of overeating, all participants had a decline in blood sugar control and their fat cells activated genes tied to unhealthy changes in nutrition balance and metabolism. While both groups experienced the negative impact of overeating, that negative impact wasn’t as significant for people in the active group. 

“Our research demonstrates that a short period of overconsumption and reduced physical activity leads to very profound negative changes in a variety of physiological systems,” said Jean-Philippe Walhin, co-author of the study, in a news release. 

Read “How to Recover from a Day of Blown Eating” for more tips.

Health, Eating Out, Cooking, Weight Loss, Food

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