If you’ve been overeating recently, the good news is that it may not be as damaging as you think…

Whether it was a party or the recent Easter weekend that threw you off a healthy eating plan, short-term overeating isn’t as bad as you think, according to a study from Deakin University in Australia

Five vs. 28 days of overindulging

Researchers studied a small group of healthy, lean men with an average age of 22, for a short-term overeating trial of five days and a long-term model of chronic overeating lasting 28 days.

The nutritional composition of the volunteers’ diet was representative of a typical Australian diet (55 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent fat and 15 percent protein).

The “overfeeding” portion of the diet included high-calorie snacks such as chocolate, meal replacement drinks and potato chips to add approximately 1 000 more calories to the men’s normal food consumption each day.

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The research team measured the volunteers’ weight, fat mass, blood sugar and insulin levels before the trial began and again after five and 28 days.

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Five days of overeating didn’t cause weight gain

Although the amount of visceral fat that surrounds internal organs increased substantially, short-term overeating did not have a significant effect on the men’s weight or fat mass.

In addition, fasting levels of blood sugar and C-peptide – an amino acid the body releases in response to increased production of insulin – did not change.

This finding was surprising because fasting levels of endogenous glucose – new glucose that the body produces in addition to what it has already stored for future use – increased during the short-term trial.

28 days of overeating increased total body fat

Chronic overeating increased the amount of total body fat and visceral fat as well as post-meal blood sugar and C-peptide levels.

However, it did not alter fasting blood sugar levels, endogenous glucose production or the rate of glucose removal from the body (glucose disposal). This may be because the nutrient profile in the long-term trial was consistent with a typical diet and dietary fat percentages did not increase.

Long-term overindulgence in fatty foods, instead of more nutritionally balanced foods, may be an important factor that causes rapid changes in blood sugar control.

Source: American Physiological Society via www.sciencedaily.com

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