If your New Year resolution is to lose weight, you'll have to put in more effort to stick to it. A new study states that cold winter days make us eat more.
Researchers at the University of Exeter in UK say that there is not yet a mechanism to help us overcome the lure of sweet, fatty food and avoid becoming overweight for understandable reasons.
‘There is not yet a mechanism to help us overcome the lure of junk foods. The urge to maintain body fat is even stronger in winter when food in the natural world is scarce. ’
AdvertisementThe researchers add that the urge to maintain body fat is even stronger in winter when food in the natural world is scarce.
To prove their points, the research team used computer modeling to predict how much fat animals should store, by assuming that natural selection gives animals a perfect way to maintain the healthiest weight.
The study proved that there is usually only a small negative effect of energy stores exceeding the optimal level, so subconscious controls against becoming overweight would be weak and easily overcome by the immediate rewards of tasty food.
"You would expect evolution to have given us the ability to realize when we have eaten enough, but instead we show little control when faced with artificial food," said lead author Andrew Higginson, from the University of Exeter.
"Because modern food today has so much sugar and flavour the urge humans have to eat it is greater than any weak evolutionary mechanism which would tell us not to," Higginson said. "The model also predicts animals should gain weight when food is harder to find. All animals, including humans, should show seasonal effects on the urge to gain weight," he said. "Storing fat is an insurance against the risk of failing to find food, which for pre-industrial humans was most likely in winter. This suggests that New Year's Day is the worst possible time to start a new diet," he said.