Winter foods are often rich and come with a high-calorie count, but according to a recent study out of the University of Alberta, less sunlight can also be a factor in winter weight gain.
Registered dietitian Kerry Miller explained that serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter in our brain, also helps regulate our appetite.
“So if we have shorter days, we may have less serotonin, and those people who have less serotonin could potentially have a greater drive to eat and specifically some of those carbohydrate foods,” Miller said.
As the weather gets colder and days grow darker, research shows we intake more calories. However, not only are we seeking food more often, we’re also eating it faster.
“Substitute — if you can — some those heavier foods in a lot of the seasonal recipes for lighter options,” Miller said.
“For example, using some of those plant-based proteins like pulses in replacement of red meat in a recipe”
Agnieszka Inglot is a kinesiologist with Copeman Healthcare and suggests countering the higher-calorie intake with some cardio.
“Just try to balance it out with activity and making sure that you’re sticking with your routine,” Inglot said.
“Some suggestions over the winter would be cross-country skiing, skiing, snowboarding… All sorts of activities.”
Both health and fitness experts agree you don’t have to stop indulging every now and then — just remember to do it in moderation.