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Why winter + dieting = failure

Why winter + dieting = failure

The January diet is as inevitable as the festive blowout, as are the predictable feelings of self-loathing when you reach for the chocolate just a couple of days after vowing to slim down. If this cycle sounds familiar allow us to raise your mood; according to scientists, winter eating isn't your fault.

A team at the University of Exeter in the UK used a maths equation to come up with the findings, which suggest humans are hardwired to overeat during the winter months. They started by investigating the idea that animals have gradually evolved to store a certain amount of fat in their bodies. It was found it's worse for animals, which included humans, to be too thin than too fat, as they risk dying if they're skinny.

This means that people tend to feel more impelled to pile on the pounds by eating than to lose them via diets. On top of this, a lot of the sugar and fat-laden treats around these days are difficult for the brain to say no to.

"You would expect evolution to have given us the ability to realise when we have eaten enough, but instead we show little control when faced with artificial food," researcher Andrew Higginson said in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

"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."

On top of this, there's more evidence suggesting people will struggle with weight during the cooler months. This is because traditionally food was hard to come by in winter, so anything was consumed quickly and humans were wired not to move much for risk of burning off precious calories.

Instead, the team suggest embarking on a weight-loss program in April or May, which is when you should achieve optimum results.

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